Originally scheduled to reopen on June 28 after a year of reconstruction, Belle Have Country Club’s golf course is not quite ready.
"We expect to open the course for play in mid- to late August," said Steve Danielson, head pro at the club. "The snowy winter and the rain this spring have really made the work difficult."
When open, the course will have been completely renovated. Under the supervision of internationally renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills, all of the tees, greens and fairways have been replaced. The routing of the holes remains the same, but the yardage will be increased from about 6,750 to 7,000, measured from the "tips," or championship tees.
"The new course will be a heck of a lot more challenging," said Danielson. He said that the new layout will compare favorably with high-profile area courses such as Robert Trent Jones and Caves Valley.
In what Danielson said was one of Hill’s favorite design features, many of the new holes will have pot bunkers — small, deep sand traps — in both the fairways and green complexes. Hill also likes to create grass-faced bunkers around the green, forcing players into one of the hardest challenges in golf — a high, long bunker shot. "After hitting your ball into the bunker in front of the 18th green, you will vow never to let that happen again," said Danielson.
THE NEW DESIGN will also penalize wayward long shots. "Anyone hitting the ball 260 yards off the tee, a common event considering today’s golf balls and clubs, will have to hit it straight," Danielson warned. Despite these formidable hazards, Danielson said that Hills also shortened the course for those hitting from the forward tees — women and seniors.
Belle Haven also gave up on Bermuda grass fairways. The new course is all bent grass. The club will have a green golf course all year.
"I’m ready to play," said member David Gray. Eating lunch with his wife, Phyllis, Gray looked out at the cloudy skies and the empty golf course, capturing the feeling of all golfers at Belle Haven, "It’s been a long year."
Belle Haven is scheduled to rebuild its clubhouse, starting on July 6. "Construction should be completed next spring," said Tom Murphy, the club’s general manager. Murphy, who oversaw the golf course renovation and the lengthy planning for both projects, is leaving the club for a new position in Florida. His last day was June 21.