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Wednesday, 27 June 2007 00:00

Whittier golf course to re-open

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Following months of course reconstruction, Smoky Mountain Country Club in Whittier will re-open 9 holes of golf this weekend.

The ongoing renovations are part of a $3 million capital improvement plan. Renovations include improvements to every hole on the golf course, a new golf shop with a bar and grill still under construction, new cart paths and the transition of all fairways from a cool season grass to 419 Bermuda grass.

“We are excited to invite the golfing public back to Smoky Mountain Country Club,” said Travis Stephenson, the new Director of Golf Operations. “Those who played here in the past will be astonished at the changes. Not only has the physical golf course been altered dramatically, but the conditioning of the course is better than it has ever been, and will only get better as the new course matures over the coming months.”

The golf course was recently acquired by Mike Cornblum, the owner of the surrounding country club development. Cornblum spent four lengthy years in court fighting with the course’s previous owners over their failure to maintain the course. The former owners lived out-of-state and allowed the course to become run-down, eventually closing it altogether. Local golfers and country club residents have spent the past two years rooting for Cornblum in his efforts to wrest the course away from the absentee owners and make needed improvements.

“The renovations have created one of the great mountain courses right in our backyard, and the new ownership group has provided our turf maintenance department with the financial backing and the directive to make Smoky Mountain Golf Course one of the finest conditioned golf courses in the region,” said Golf Course Superintendent Jeremy Boone.

The 9 holes that are opening on June 30th are the back nine. Some specific highlights of the renovation work include new greens on the 10th and 12th holes, new tee boxes on the 10th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th holes. The 15th hole has been dramatically widened and lengthened, and is now a dogleg left par 5. The 16th hole is now a beautiful par 3, playing from elevated tees. Over one mile of new cart paths have been built, improving the narrow paths in many areas to a comfortable ride around the course.

The front nine holes of golf are expected to open sometime between the middle of August and Labor Day following major fairway, green and tee-box renovations. A new 3,400 square foot golf shop will open in the fall.

On Saturday, June 30, tee times will be available in a shotgun format at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Beginning on Sunday, July 1, individual tee times will begin at 7:30 a.m. To make tee times, call the pro shop at 828.497.SMCC.

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