Bald Head Island Club Golf Course Reopens After Renovations

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bald Head Island, N.C— TheBald Head Island Club is ready to show off its golf course to more golfers, as well as golf course raters, now that its $3.9 million course renovation is completed. 

Award-winning golf course architect Tim N. Cate went to work in 2010 rebuilding the Bald Head course, which originally opened for play in 1974. Cate used the drawings of the original course architect, George Cobb, as his blueprint for preserving the routing of the course, as well as Cobb's style of “low grounds and high surrounds.” Cate widened ten fairways so that players could better see water hazards from their tees and eliminate most blind tee shots over water. Greens with insufficient depth or too much slope were modified, while more undulations were added to some greens to create more pin placement opportunities. After reviewing Cobb’s course drawings, Cate even built double-tier greens on #12 and #14 that had been planned by Cobb — but never built.

“After more than 35 years of strong ocean winds, intense summer suns, and thousands of rounds of play, The Bald Head Island Club course was getting a bit tired,” said Robert Norton, general manager of the Bald Head Island Club. “Our greens had outlived their useful life and, as time passed, some elements of the course had begun to present unfair challenges. Tim not only addressed those issues, he brought an aesthetic sense to the reconstruction, elevating tees to create stunning views of the Atlantic and placing new grasses and palm trees inside massive waste bunkers that line the fairways. He made a wonderful design into a spectacular golf experience.”

The course now presents golfers with sweeping vistas of dunes and the ocean beyond. Lagoons come into play on 14 holes. Elevations change as much as 35 feet throughout the course, and some holes have 20 foot high dunes as backdrops to their greens. The pristine layout includes new, laser-leveled tees re-grassed with Celebration™ Bermuda grass, and large  and undulating greens re-grassed with MiniVerde™  Ultradwarf Bermuda grass.  Many holes have been so artfully constructed that they are just as picturesque when viewed from the green back to the tee as they are when viewed from tee to green.

“It's so gratifying to have golfers tell us that they think our course could earn a spot on Top 100 lists,” says Norton. “But it's easy to see why it has that kind of impact. Few courses on the Carolina coast can boast views of the Atlantic Ocean from seven tees. From the back tees, with the ocean winds swirling, it's more than enough challenge for even the best players. From all the other tee boxes, it's both enjoyable and challenging. It tests golfers, yet gives them a chance to shoot a good score. Cate has pulled off a true collaboration with Cobb and melded the classic and modern into a seamless layout that is at once breathtakingly beautiful, challenging and fair.”

Cate's vision also resulted in a course that is more in tune with the island's natural environment. The addition of natural and native sand areas reduced the number of areas that need to be mowed and simplified routine maintenance. Installation of a state-of-the-art irrigation system resulted in a course that requires substantially less irrigation water and fertilizers. 

“Now the course is an even better natural habitat for all kinds of wildlife — and that adds to the enjoyment of golfers out there playing,” says Norton. “During a round, you'll see fox, deer and alligators, and a wonderful assortment of birds including osprey, eagles, red tail hawks, ibis, great blue heron, and white heron. We're hoping that all this re-naturalization effort will help with our efforts to be designated an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary golf course.”

More information about The Bald Head Island Club is available by calling  910-457-7300 or online athttp://www.bhiclub.net/club/scripts/home/home.asp .

About The Bald Head Island Club

The Bald Head Island Club is the only golf course and golf club on Bald Head Island, a barrier island located two nautical miles off the coast of southeastern North Carolina. The 12,000-acre resort island is only accessible by ferry from Southport, N.C. or by private boat.  Once on the island, transportation is limited to golf carts, bicycles and pedestrian traffic. The island has 14 miles of beaches, tidal creeks and an ancient maritime forest.

Equity memberships in the Bald Head Island Club are available with the purchase of real estate or boat slip. Golf packages are available and limited playing privileges are extended to those leasing properties through Bald Head Island.

In addition to the golf course, the Club offers a 10-acre practice facility and many other amenities. A fact sheet with more detail information follows this press release.

###