Jones Creek Golf Club was designed by "The Open Doctor," and now his operation is getting a face-lift from the Masters manipulator.
Tom Fazio, who is considered the premier golf-course architect in the world and has led the recent redesigns at Augusta National Golf Club, has signed on to help with the renovations currently underway at Jones Creek.
Jones Creek was originally designed by Rees Jones, who is called "The Open Doctor" because of the work he has done for the United States Golf Association. Jones has prepared several courses for the U.S. Open Championship over the past few years.
"Medalist Golf is doing the work, and Tom Fazio is the consultant," said Gregg Hemann, head golf professional and general manager at Jones Creek. "It's exciting. It's going to be like having a brand new course."
Fazio has made at least two visits to the Columbia County course, and his handiwork is already evident around the green complexes, which are noticeably larger than before, feature gentler contouring and have more benign drop-offs around the perimeters.
Ryan Street (left) and Reid Dearman resod the 10th tee and work on a sprinkler at Jones Creek Golf Club.
Photo by Annette M. Drowlette
"I think golfers will be pleasantly surprised with the aggressiveness of the changes," Hemann said. "The greens were very severe, and now they are more user-friendly, as they should be. If you missed the greens (before) you needed to hit a perfect shot just to keep the ball on the green. Now, you'll have a choice or two or three different kinds of shots to play."
Though the distance of the course will not change, some of the landing areas in the fairways have been enlarged, various tees have been resurfaced, and drainage areas have been improved on several holes. Also, silt has been removed from the pond on No. 11.
The major difference for players at the semi-private course will be on the greens, which are being converted from Bent grass to Tif Eagle, which provides a smooth surface and is more heat-tolerant then Bent.
"The project is much more involved than anyone anticipated. It's not just a situation of replacing old Bent grass greens with Tif Eagle," Hemann said. "The greens are completely re-designed, and the location and shape of the bunkering is all new. The last 50 yards of every hole is basically a new hole."
The renovation began in April, and the work is expected to be completed by October.
Tom Fazio: Renowned golf-course architect will pitch in to renovate Jones Creek.
The first 10 greens already have been stripped, recontoured, redesigned and reshaped. Drainage pipes and gravel also have been placed on those holes.
"The only thing left is the greens mix (mostly sand) and the grass itself," Hemann said last week. "If the weather is decent to good, we'll be fine. If we have some bad stretches of weather, it will be difficult to hit the target date, but we're full speed ahead."
A group of local investors purchased Jones Creek at a foreclosure sale in January, and the course was immediately shut down. That decision was prompted by substandard conditions that had arisen during the watch of Jones Creek's previous owner, Fairways International LLC.
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