SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. --- It’s a tricky scenario but one we in the golf industry see time and time again. The restoration.
Restoring a course is, in many instances, a necessity. But it’s also a tall task blending the new while retaining the old.
In the case of the Mid Pines Golf Club, which underwent a major restoration earlier this year, they got it right. In fact, they nailed it.
Architect and shaper Kyle Franz began work in December of last year, rebuilding bunkers, uncovering abandoned features, replacing fairway rough and restoring original green contours. This past spring, the newly-restored greens were given a major facelift and converted to ultra-dwarf Bermuda.
The project was completed in early August and unveiled later that month when Mid Pines hosted a pair of events, including the eGolf Professional Tour. And it has opened to rave reviews in the media and by those who’ve played it.
I was fortunate enough to play the new Mid Pines in late August before a junior tour event and, while the new grass and some features were in need of some time to mature and grow, the greens and uncovered features of the restoration are simply fantastic.
One of the keys to the project included the substitution of sandy areas and pine straw for rough. The removal of trees and addition of the sandy areas and pine allowed for the tricky Donald Ross layout to be opened up a bit while still maintaining a nostalgic and natural feel.
The sandy areas cover a large portion of the course. For a mental picture, think about the rough surrounding the tee boxes and in less-than-ideal positions off the tee and on approach shots for you at your local course. Now, replace them with sandy areas that play through the green.
There was work done to all 18 holes at Mid Pines but special attention was paid to the par-4 1st, the 437-yard par-4 3rd, which saw an extra 30 yards added with the installation of a back tee, and the par-5s, including Nos. 5 and 15, which also added yardage with a new tee area.
The notable piece to the Mid Pines restoration is the terrific job by Franz and his team to update the course to ultimately get it to the quality level of its sister course Pine Needles, which sits directly across the street, while only improving its status of a true Donald Ross original.
The routing is the same, and that’s a great thing. The greens are improved and many natural features uncovered. Indeed, the Mid Pines restoration nailed it.