A year from now, golfers are going to find themselves playing a much different Charleston Municipal Golf Course. Greens and tee boxes will be enlarged. Golfers will be playing on grasses capable of handling the traffic on the area's busiest golf course. Flooding after torrential rains or extremely high tides won't be a major problem.
The $3 million renovation and restoration project to the course that opened in 1929 is on target to start in January. The City of Charleston has committed $1.5 million and Friends of the Muni (friendsofthemuni.com) efforts to raise the matching funds is going well. According to Friends of the Muni, donations, pledges and city contributions are now up to $2.4 million. Diagrams and in-depth information on the project can be found at their website.
A benefit golf tournament is scheduled for Nov. 18 at Kiawah Island Club's Cassique course ($1,000 per player or $4,000 per foursome) and a Rodney Scott Barbecue Bonanza dinner and auction is set for Nov. 17 at the Kiawah Sandcastle.
"Any time you do something construction-wise, it's an inconvenience. But it's what is on the other end of it that we all look forward to. I think we're doing it the right way," said Charleston Municipal general manager Marshall Ormand.
The timeline for the project calls for a Jan. 1 start date, the last sprigs of grass being planted on Aug. 15 and the entire course reopened by this time next year, according to James Island resident and golf course architect Troy Miller, who did the design work pro bono.
The first portion of the project will include the back nine along with work related to the driving range and short-game areas.
Target greens will be added to the driving range which will help improve drainage and could also be utilized for short-game practice and for teaching programs such as US Kids Golf and First Tee. A three-hole short-game area will be built between the eighth tee and ninth fairway.
A pond alongside the 12th hole will be enlarged and the material will be used to help raise and contour the fairway as much as four feet on the adjacent flood-prone 13th hole. Similar work will take place across Maybank Highway alongside the 15th hole with additional fairway work on 16.
"The back nine is where the vast majority of the work is," Miller said. "That work will begin in January, along with some of the work related to the driving range and short-game areas. We anticipate getting those components ready for grass as early as possible and, hopefully, reopen the driving range at an even earlier date than the back nine. The front nine will remain open for play as long as we can keep it going."
Miller said that as the program progresses, there probably will be a short period when they will have to go to temporary greens on the front nine.
"The layout will remain the same as far as center points of greens go. The two greens you'll notice the biggest change in will be the 10th green, which will shift further away from Maybank Highway, and the 13th green, which will shift closer to the Stono River. The rest of the greens will pretty much stay in their current location. But they all get expanded, some as much as 100 percent. And they all will be reshaped and rebuilt to U.S. Golf Association specifications."
Miller said by starting in January, they will be able to put grass down by the end of April, giving it a 90-day grow-in and then reopening the back nine toward the end of July. The front nine would have a similar timeline of construction, from April through July, using the last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August to do the grassing and having the grow-in period through October.
Miller, who lives in nearby Riverland Terrace, said when he was a kid his mother would drop him off at the course with $5 and he would stay there all day. It's a course where his father, Ronnie, got his first job in the golf profession, so he's had a special affection for Muni and often thought of changes and improvements that could be done. It's an exciting time now that the project is about to begin.
"I'm just a conduit for a lot of people who really, really care about this place," Miller said. "I have some history here with my dad working here over 50 years ago, his first job in golf. I live in Riverland Terrace and have kids who live in the neighborhood. It's a special place to a lot of people. I'm very, very excited. I volunteered to do this because I care about the golf course and I care about this city."
CALGA 2-Day Classic
Dunes West players Judy Dekeukelaere, Barb Miller, Dianne Schuler, Karen Snyder, Lori Vogler and Evie Wasson combined for a two-day score of 587 to win the Charleston Area Ladies Golf Association (CALGA) 2-Day Classic Tournament played at Coosaw Creek and Dunes West. Coosaw Creek's Cheryl Boan, Judy Hair, Janis Miller, Darlene Ryan, Maria Stadler and Mary Symuleski finished second with a score of 589. RiverTowne's Linda Bartmeyer, Brenda Frye, Shawn Martini, Robin Moyer, Suzanne Muskantow and Linda Travis finished third at 592.
Two aces in six days
Steve Isaksen had things figured out on Wescott Golf Club's third hole of the Oak Forest nine, making a pair of holes-in-one in less than a week's time. He used an 8-iron from 125 yards on Sept. 26 with Paul Harbin and Rocky Bailey witnessing the ace, then used the same club from the same distance on Oct. 1 for another hole in one that was witnessed by Jerry Martin and Joe Snyder.
McNair Invitational raises $579,000
The fourth annual Robert and Janice McNair Invitational golf tournament played at The Golf Club at Briar's Creek raised a record $579,000 in scholarships for local sea island students to attend Charleston Collegiate School and for educational pursuits of Briar's Creek employees.
During its four-year history, the tournament has raised $1.88 million.
Fifty-five benefactors participated at $5,000 each and the McNair family matched every dollar raised. Of those funds, 16 local students in grades 4-12 will receive scholarships for their tuition at Charleston Collegiate School. A portion of those funds also goes to the Briar's Creek Employee Educational Fund, which was created to benefit the educational pursuits and retirement benefits of the employees at Briar’s Creek. Many employees have been able to take professional courses and pursue advanced degrees as a result of the availability of funds to support their efforts. The Employee Fund also creates additional retirement benefits for the Briar’s Creek staff.
• Oct. 28-29: 21st Berkeley Senior Invitational, Berkeley Country Club, $115 for members, $125 for guests, visit berkeleycc.com.
• Nov. 1-3: Charleston City Senior Amateur, Municipal Golf Course, open to males 50 and older, $100 entry fee, call 843-795-6517.
• Nov. 11: Seabrook Island Club and Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club eighth annual Veteran's Day Charitable Golf Touring to support the Ralph Johnson Veteran's Hospital and Fisher House, $70 for Seabrook Island Club members and $120 for non-members plus cart feet, call 843-768-2529 or email email@example.com.
• Nov. 16-17: Johnny Adams Mixed Team Championship, Charleston Municipal Golf Course, teams consist of one male and one female, $150 entry fee, entry deadline is Nov. 7, call 843-795-6517.
• Dec. 7: Charleston Parent-Child Championship, Charleston Municipal Golf Course, $60 per team entry fee, call 843-795-6517.
• March 30: 2020 2020 NEEDTOBREATHE Classic, Daniel Island Club, visit commonwealthcares.org.
Steve Isaksen, Sept. 26, Oak Forest-Wescott Golf Club, No. 3, 125 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Paul Harbin, Rocky Bailey.
Steve Isaksen, Oct. 1, Oak Forest-Wescott Golf Club, No. 3, 125 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Jerry Martin, Joe Snyder.
Larry Paragano, Oct. 4, Burn Kill-Wescott Golf Club, No. 8, 148 yards, 6-iron. Witnesses: Brent Case, Tony Case, Caine Halter.
Ralph Nolen, Oct. 6, Legend Oaks Golf Club, No. 17, 157 yards, 7-iron. Witnesses: Terry Harrelson, Bob Plesz, Shannon Hatcher.
John Bennett, Oct. 10, Coosaw Creek Country Club, No. 11, 118 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Pete Thompson, Jim Petros, Mitch Jenkins.
Richard Moore, Oct. 10, Bulls Bay Golf Club, No. 14, 181 yards, hybrid. Witnesses: Joe Olin, Joe Padgette, Bobby Wilson, M.O. York.
Katy Goodrich, Oct. 14, Cassique-Kiawah Island Club, No. 13, 126 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Jeannie Hillock, Allison Lang, Reggie Sommer.
Carl Love, Oct. 17, Links Course-Wild Dunes Resort, No. 16, 122 yards, 7-iron. Witnesses: Bill Emery, J.D. Neilsen, John Denning.
Ray Passailaigue, Oct. 17, Ralston Creek-Daniel Island Club, No. 15, 132 yards, 9-iron. Witnesses: Daniel Leaf, Jerry Beach, Kurt Harkey.
Bill Prindle, Oct. 17, Coosaw Creek Country Club, No. 6, 96 yards. Witnesses: Bob Cuddy, Patrick Cuddy, Tom Roth.
Dan Cook, Oct. 18, Charleston Municipal Golf Course, No. 11, 156 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Chip Adams, Brooks Carpenter, Stephen Perry.
Kimberly Harkey, Oct. 20, Ralston Creek-Daniel Island Club, No. 12, 117 yards, 8-iron. Witness: Kurt Harkey.
Mike Belfanti, Oct. 24, Oak Forest-Wescott Golf Club, No. 3, 130 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Tom Kane, Patrick White, Ray Hanson.