The newly redesigned Jones Creek golf course is a hit.
Entertaining out-of-town Masters Tournament guests for the first time since the course re-opened in November, most golfers playing the course Saturday were impressed.
"We liked it so much that we're planning on canceling our plans to play somewhere else tomorrow and come back here," South African native Craig Heeger said.
Although they had never played Jones Creek before, Heeger and his foursome of fellow South Africans enjoyed the course so much that they didn't mind spending another $1,200 to play again.
The increased green fees for Masters Week included four players, breakfast, lunch, tee gifts and a golf cart equipped with a global positioning satellite system.
Despite the extras, finding a foursome to plop down $1,200 at Jones Creek last year could have been a tough sell.
A group of players tees off on the 10th tee at The Club at Jones Creek. Deterioration of the course led to nearly 100 people quitting the golf club. Now, the redesigned course is starting to bring golfers back.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
When the Rees Jones-designed course opened in 1985, it was judged one of the top courses in the state. In recent years, the course deteriorated to the point that nearly 100 members of the country club quit.
After a $2.95 million purchase of the course by Jones Creek Joint Venture at a January 2003 auction, the new owners shut Jones Creek down after last year's Masters and hired renowned golf course designer Tom Fazio to remake the course.
"To me, it's a typical Tom Fazio course. Tough, but fair," Winston-Salem, N.C. lawyer Mark N. Poovey said. "The pins are closer to the front of the greens, making it a challenge to get onto the greens in good position, but not impossible.
"That's the thing," continued Poovey, who has played Jones Creek during Masters Week for the past three years. "It challenges you without making it too hard."
Poovey's comment is typical of the feedback Jones Creek head professional Gregg Hemann has been getting.
"What I'm hearing from a lot of people is that the course is more player- friendly," he said. "People also are more appreciative that the course is being well-maintained."
Event Marketing Inc. President David Hobbs, who has been bringing corporate clients to play at Jones Creek during Masters Week for the past 17 years, said he is pleased with the care being given to the course.
"It's so much prettier and nicer than it has been in a while," he said. "The staff here have done a great job, not just with the course, but with making this a great golfing experience."
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