Players Course celebrates grand reopening
by Robert Joseph Baker | October 5, 2017 5:42 am
Last Updated: October 4, 2017 at 10:43 am
The new owners of The Players Course at Wyboo have breathed life back into one of Clarendon County’s crown jewels.
In March of this year, a group of property owners within Wyboo Plantation purchased the Players Course and formed Players Course at Wyboo LLC. The group then began the process of renovating the course in preparation for an early fall 2017 opening. The Players Course at Wyboo opened in 1992 and was designed by Ernie Wallace and was operated by Tommy Wallace until its closure in January 2015.
The course celebrated its grand reopening on Saturday with a golf tournament. It was Sharon Tobin and Weldon Gregory’s first time on the course in several years. They played in the tournament with friends George Grudza and Dennis Turnbull.
“We love it,” said Turnbull. “The course looks good again. We’re glad to have it back open.”
Golf professional Kyle Gregory said the 29 teams who signed up for Saturday’s tournament was a reception that wasn’t expected.
“This is a lot more than we expected,” he said. “There were no snags in getting started; I think everything has been pretty seamless.”
Course superintendent Grayson Clark agreed. He said The Players Course at Wyboo has benefitted from “new greens, new money and new enthusiasm.”
“The new owners have brought an outlook and perspective that I don’t think anyone in the area has,” he said.
Ron Ecker, one of the course’s 34 owners, said he and his neighbors simply seized on an opportunity.
“The Players Course at Wyboo was closed on Jan. 1, 2015, and the course was gradually overtaken by weeds and brush,” said Ecker, one of five management team members elected by the owners to lead the renovation of the course.
“We have been very fortunate that so many in the community (came) forward to volunteer their time to various renovation activities,” he said. “These included collecting debris, mowing grass on the fairways and roughs, trimming tree limbs, clearing weeds around the ponds, and host of other activities. There (was) a lot of excitement among the group as their efforts became very apparent to outside observers over the summer.”
The owners contracted with NewLife Turf to renovate the greens, which involved a process of stripping the old greens, and then planting new turf, a process called sprigging. The greens were stripped to their original size, which is one improvement the owners were excited about. Sprigging started the week of July 10, and the grow-in process took about eight weeks overall.
Ecker said the group also worked to restore the course’s irrigation system to its original state, which included having Dalton Irrigation replace the existing outdated irrigation controllers with new programmable controllers.
“This effort was critical to ensure the greens can be watered consistently during the grow-in process,” Ecker said.
Other improvements included the renovation of the clubhouse, bringing forward the tee course length to about 5,000 yards and offering memberships to a broader population.
Ecker said the process was complete with the hiring of Gregory and Clark.
“Grayson came to us from The Cliffs Clubs at Mountain Park in Marietta, where he was a senior assistant superintendent, and he will direct all aspects of the operation and maintenance of the Players Course,” said Ecker.
Ecker said that the $1,000 initiation fee for members joining in the first two months of the club’s new operation will be waived, and the club will offer single and family membership packages.