Sedgefield's $3 million renovation, which includes rebuilt greens, tees and fairways, as well as repositioned bunkers, began in November and was expected to be completed by August. But heavy spring rains followed by a hot, dry summer delayed the reopening by about a month.
Monday, three days after the course reopened, members said the wait was worth it. The gorgeous fairways with beautiful rolling contours and the smooth greens have members gushing over one of the area's most impressive golf course renovation projects.
"It's a new course, but it still has a Donald Ross feel to it," said member Mark Speckman, who played the course Monday. "Every shot makes you think, which I think is what Ross would want."
That's certainly what Greensboro golf architect Kris Spence was aiming for when he agreed to refurbish Sedgefield's aging course two years ago. Spence, whose specialty is renovating Ross-designed courses in North Carolina, spent the past 18 months bringing back many of the traits Ross created in 1926.
Greens have been expanded to their original size, allowing for pins to be tucked into corners. Rolling fairways slope from side to side, requiring every tee shot to be one of thought rather than mere brute strength.
And while the renovation was designed with club members in mind, Spence said the course would make a perfect venue for the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship, which has been played in recent years at Forest Oaks Country Club.
Sources this week said Wyndham officials have begun discussing a buyout of their long-term contract at Forest Oaks with the intent of moving the tournament to Sedgefield. PGA Tour agronomy officials were at Sedgefield last week to look at the progress of the renovation.
Spence's renovation added another 400 yards to Sedgefield, bringing its length to 7,130 yards. Sedgefield's par is 71 for members. If the Wyndham were to move there, par would be 70, with the 505-yard, par-5 18th hole likely shaved to a par-4.
Sedgefield would be one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour, but Spence, like Ross, is not concerned with length.
"Any golf course where you automatically pull out a driver ... that's a weakness in my book," Spence said. "The twists and turns and the natural topography here make this course very special. I really believe that over time this is going to be one of the top courses in the country."
The ideal hole should provide an infinite variety of shots according to the varying positions of the tee, the situation of the flag, the direction and strength of the wind, etc... It should also at times give full advantage for the voluntary pull or slice, one of the most finished shots in golf, and one that few champions are able to carry out with any great degree of accuracy. ALISTER MACKENZIE