Hampton Hall Club
Location: Bluffton, SC
Scope: Golf Course Restoration
One of the top private clubs in the Hilton Head/Bluffton market, Hampton Hall Club commissioned Nathan Crace, ASGCA and the Watermark Golf team to perform a full-course review to study which areas of the course needed attention to best serve the needs of the membership going forward. After a thorough review and multiple meetings with the renovation committee, the following conclusion was made: The design and conditioning of the course is strong, but fairway drainage, resurfacing of greens, and restoration of bunkers needed to be addressed.
“The course has great bones!” Explains Watermark Golf’s principal Nathan Crace. “But over the last twenty years, the native soil in the fairways and green surrounds has become increasingly ‘spongy’ and slower to dry out to the point that members are forced to stay on the cart path for extended days after a typical rain event. Improving the drainage in those areas is the first priority.”
After drainage, Crace explains that updating the putting surfaces and renovating bunkers will be addressed while the course is closed. Typical of courses of the same age, testing indicated that significant accumulation of organic matter in the top four inches of each green profile at Hampton Hall would need to be removed along with the existing TifDwarf surface and replaced with new greens mix before sprigging with TifEagle. Bunker surrounds will be stripped, then front lips lowered and floors raised as needed to open views of the sand. The shape and design of the bunkers will be preserved. Lastly, TifTuf sod will be installed around the bunkers and Better Billy Bunker drainage and new sand installed.
“I love this course!” Crace, a fellow Indiana native, says of the Pete Dye-designed layout. “It’s always in great condition and it’s a wonderful example of a playable Pete Dye design that members can play every day without being too difficult, yet still be challenging and fun. To be clear: we are not changing the course–we are restoring the course to make it faster, firmer, and like new again. Much like the many Ross, Tillinghast, McKenzie and other great architects’ courses that have been restored or renovated throughout history, Hampton Hall will always be a Pete Dye course. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
And having [golf course superintendent] Matt Sapochak still on-board when he has been here from the start with Mr. Dye nearly twenty years ago is a huge asset to the project! In addition to having old plans and sketches, we have first-hand accounts from Matt…that type of information is priceless!”
The restoration project is slated to begin in early April with Landscapes Unlimited as construction lead and Golf Preservations handling the drainage component. Construction is expected to be complete by early July and the course re-opened for members by early September. For updates on the project, follow Nathan’s twitter at www.twitter.com/lipouts or fill out the short form at the bottom of this page to subscribe to the Watermark Golf newsletter.
For more information about Hampton Hall Club such as membership, etc. visit www.hamptonhallclubsc.com.
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