The dirt shoveled Thursday at Charleston Municipal Golf Course was ceremonial, but area golfers are eagerly anticipating more dirt being moved over the next few months as the long-awaited renovation project officially began.
The project, the first major renovation of the course in nearly six decades, was announced in October 2018. The City of Charleston committed $1.5 million toward the renovation with a private campaign led by Friends of the Muni (friendsofthemuni.com) raising the remainder of the funds.
NMP Golf Construction Corp. has been awarded the bid for course construction, which is expected to cost slightly more than $2 million and be completed by 2021.
The city said the renovation of the 18-hole course, which opened in 1928, is intended to enhance the quality of playing conditions through extensive drainage projects, reshaped and expanded tee, green, and fairway surfaces, and a tree management program that will promote the health of the course’s turf. Additional features will be reworked to ensure that the course is maintainable, aesthetically appealing, and playable for golfers of all skill levels.
The renovation will be done nine holes at a time, starting with the back nine. On the Charleston Municipal Golf Course website, visitors are notified of the renovations and that play may be limited to nine holes "and occasionally other temporary accommodations." The practice area will remain open as long as possible and the clubhouse bar and grill will remain open throughout the project.
The renovation plan was created by Troy Miller of Miller Golf Design, who lives across Maybank Highway in Riverland Terrace and whose father, Ronnie, got his first job in golf at Charleston Municipal.
"This is a special project because of my family history here and growing up in Charleston," said Miller, who noted that the most noticeable work will begin next week on the back nine holes, where ponds will be created for drainage and to provide fill dirt to raise fairways.
"You won't have to check the tide charts before you come play the Muni," Miller said.
Miller said he was approached by Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg several years ago about golf course improvements and he eagerly agreed to draw plans and put together a proposal.
“The Charleston Municipal Golf Course is one of our city’s most beloved public spaces, and I’m pleased to officially kick off this much-anticipated renovation to ensure that many generations to come will have the opportunity to experience its charm,” Tecklenburg said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Seven-time City Amateur champion Bert Atkinson, who helped spearhead the Friends of the Muni campaign, said: "It is overdue for the Muni to get a renovation. We are overjoyed that the project is going forward. The Muni will claim its place in our history of Charleston and better serve the citizens of this community. The renovation will also expand the opportunities for kids to enter the game. This is a project that serves a large number of people and our greater community."
The Friends of the Muni campaign will continue with funds used for further improvements to the facility. Friends of the Muni will hold an oyster roast Feb. 23 at Charleston Municipal.