Today was the "soft opening" for the county owned Calhoun Hills Golf Complex. The county officially took over the former Calhoun Country Club about one month ago and have been working to prepare it for operation and a tentative grand opening sometime in late-May.
Boyce Till, Calhoun County Procurement Officer, pointed out much of the work that had already been accomplished; all the traps have been reworked with new sand added, the ponds were cleared of debris and grasses, and dead/dying trees removed. Admittedly, this is just a start.
But that didn't stop players from using the course today. As Donnie Kittrell and Rick Brickle played the back 9 they were quick to point out that they were excited to see the improvements but recognized that it would take more time to get the course back up to par (pun intended).
Mr. Brickle commented that, "Its better now because you got sand in the bunkers." He also praised the course itself, "This course is more challenging than anything in Santee and no holes are the same!"
Mr. Kittrell concurred with Mr. Brickle adding, "One month and y'all already done all this stuff!"
In speaking with Robbie and Jackson Brady, they were optimistic about the improvements. When asked what he thought about the course, Robbie simply stated, "It'll just take time. Its a work in progress." When Mr. Till asked specifically what needed attention, Robbie replied, "The greens, that's the main thing."
The criticisms were received with as much appreciation as the praises. "It's just now the growing season. We're waiting for nature to help us. It is a work in progress and it will just take a little time. We hope to have it looking better by June." Mr. Till said as he acknowledged Robbie's comments.
The county is currently seeking to employ an experienced golf course grounds keeper. You can get more information by visiting the County's Employment Opportunities page by clicking here.
A quick tour of the 'club house' revealed a lot of effort went in to sprucing it up a bit; new paint in the reception room and the snack bar was outfitted to refresh the players. SCDHEC will be inspecting the snack bar soon. There are plans to operate a restaurant but details haven't been ironed out completely.
The pool seems to be the one piece that is most up in the air. Once the county has an estimate on cost of repairs, if it is feasible, they will seek a third part to operate it. Lee Prickett, Calhoun County Administrator, says that it is simply not something the county wants to get into [managing a pool].
Mr. Prickett also said that the county will be seeking a manager for the complex through all available avenues. No job announcements on that as of yet.
This writer hasn't played golf since high school which was about a million years ago. I was, however, the queen of hook and slice and that should tell you something. Golf just wasn't my 'thing!'
But I just might have to pick up an iron, or wood, or driver, or whatever they call them things and play a round or two. It looks like fun! Golf anyone?
Here is a short video tour of the Calhoun Hills Golf Complex.