Golf Course Profiles

Pickens has transformed into a new golf experience

The old clubhouse is gone and the rendering shows what golfers will see in the future at the Pickens Golf Club . Club activities will be centered in the new 9,000 square foot clubhouse.

After over a year of planning and course remodeling Pickens is again open for member and public play.

“When anyone asks I tell them we are twice as good as we were a couple of years ago,” said Ben Massingill. “And not even half as good as we are going to be,” he added.

Massingill has experience at Pickens as a member, a high school golf coach and now as the Member and Guest Relations Director.

Massingill has a great story to tell both old and new members as well as non members who are welcomed to the course.

Ben Massingill (left) is the Director of Member and Guest Relations and Matt Hightower (right) is the golf shop manager at the newly reopened Pickens Golf Club. (www.scgolfclubphoto)

Pickens was purchased by the Small Brothers from Cleveland, Ohio. The nationwide construction and development company purchased the course with the plan to develop a new hybrid golf and RV park resort.

“It will be some time before the RVs roll into Pickens,” said Jeff Lococo, who is part of the management team for the club. ”Until then our efforts have been to get the golf course ready to open for the existing members, new members and the public to be able to play at Pickens again,” he said.

The plan calls for the RV Park to use some of the old course around the lake and the rest of the course, which recently went from 18 holes to 14 holes, will now be 9 holes with a twist.

“The course will have two sets of tees for every hole,” said Matt Hightower the pro shop manager. “The tees are placed so you really are playing 18 different holes,” he said.

The finishing hole at Pickens is one of the most challenging risk-reward holes in the Upstate. With the new 9 hole design golfers will play the par-5 hole from different tees during an eighteen hole rounds.

Greenville golf architect Jeff Lawrence has transformed the course using the existing holes with modifications to the greens and tee box locations, along with strategically placed sand bunkers to challenge players over a 5,618-yard, par 71 eighteen hole experience.

Golfers who are familiar with the course will soon be able to forget about the old hole numbers and enjoy the new routing.

The fifth hole is an example of the difference between the first and second time the hole is played in a round.

“The first time around the hole is a 135 yard par 3. The second time around it plays as a 400 yard par 4,” noted Hightower.

The new layout is still being tweaked. Women and senior members have asked for special tees as on the old design and the course is looking into creating additional tee options.

The finishing hole is the old 18 and it still is a risk reward hole that is one of the better finishing holes in the Upstate.

The course was closed for much of last summer and slowly began opening in the late fall for members and an occasional guest.

“The grow in process started last June and by early summer golfers will see the full benefit of the new Diamond Zoysia greens and Tahoma 31 tee boxes along with the improved turf on the fairways,” said Lococo.

Golfers will enjoy the driving range, putting and chipping greens and sand bunker practice area as well as new carts and the improved cart paths.

“A lot of places are having trouble getting new carts, but Lynn Williams, a long time member, had some influence with Club Car and we just took delivery of a new fleet,” said Massingill.

Club member Lynn Williams used some influence with Club Car to help Pickens have a new fleet of carts for the reopening.

Golfers will also see the end result of more than half a million dollars worth of golf course maintenance equipment that is now helping superintendent Bentley Suduth make sure the greens are cut and maintained at the proper height along with other regular maintenance functions that had been hit or miss in the past.

The golf shop is in a large trailer now because the old clubhouse is gone.

The focal point of the club and resort will be a new clubhouse built on the location of the old tennis courts.

The two story 9,000 square foot building will have golf course views from a deck as well as a full service restaurant and bar, fitness center and the golf shop.

When the RV resort is completed it will also serve as the check in location for visitors,

Tennis and pickle ball courts, a chipping green and fun putting green, all near the clubhouse are in the plans.

The new clubhouse will boast a 12,000 square foot resort style pool and lazy river next to the clubhouse so guests will be able to see the pool and the course from the deck.

Recent supply chain issues have caused the new owners to slow some of the improvements, but their enthusiasm for the club and the future RV Resort has not wavered.

A large resort style pool with a lazy river will be just outside the new clubhouse at the Pickens Golf Club.

“We had a Thanksgiving wing-ding and both John and James (Small) flew in to play in the tournament and meet the members. They really are enthusiastic about what is happening here,” said Massingill.

During the transition the membership ranks fell, but many of the old members are coming back as they see progress has been made not just promised.

Pickens Golf Club has reopened with a twist. The course has been converted to a nine hole course with two sets of tees to make an 18 hole round seem like golfers are playing 18 different holes.
Whitt Jefferson comes to Pickens after speding the last five years at Burlingame Country Club.

Whitt Jefferson has most recently joined the staff at Pickens. The Anderson native has spent the last five years at Burlingame Country Club near Sapphire, NC.

Jefferson is the new Director of Golf at the Club and is charged with developing golf opportunities for both members and guests.

Pickens will operate as a semi-private club with daily fee golfers welcomed.

Currently there is no initiation fee for new members. The Club offers several membership options that are outlined on its website at http://www.pickensgolfclub.com.

Tee times can be made online or by calling the golf shop at 864-878-6083.

“We still are the same friendly Pickens for everyone who has been here before, but we are better than ever and getting better every day,” concluded Massingill.

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