By STEVE WILLIAMS
After a dormant summer, three golf courses in the Piedmont are back in business with new bermudagrass greens.
Lynrock Golf Club, a public course in Eden, and Chatmoss Country Club in Martinsville have been busy with golfers since unveiling the new putting surfaces in mid August. Danville Golf Club is scheduled to reopen on Labor Day weekend.
Champion Turf Farms of Bay City, Texas, sprigged the Lynrock Greens in mid June and the course reopened Aug. 14. The rest of the work has been done by the staff.
“So far, so good,” said Marcus Wilson, Lynrock’s golf course superintendent. “We had a little bit of a setback. After three weeks they had to come back and re-sprig some of the holes. Even those re-sprigged spots are 95 percent covered and the rest are 100 percent. We’re working on getting the green speeds right and rolled out and fine tuned.”
Lynrock opened in 1959 as a nine-hole course and nine more holes were added 1966. The course is unique in that it lays at the confluence of two major rivers. The par-3 second and 17th holes play over the Smith River and several holes on the back nine are routed alongside the Dan River.
Mitchell Wilson, Marcus’ grandfather, is still Lynrock’s head man at age 93.
“He built it and he’s been here the whole time. He’s still here and thriving today,” Marcus said. “He said you can switch that 93 around to 39 if you want.”
At Chatmoss, Kris Spence Golf Design of Greensboro reshaped the greens after the course closed May 1, making way for the sprigging with Champion bermudagrass. A washout early on slowed progress but the course reopened Aug. 17.
Long-time Chatmoss professional Robert Weinerth says the membership is happy with the changes.
“They’re elated. I know I am,” Weinerth said. “We’ve got a lot of grass. Right at the moment they are a little on the slow side. We’ll top dress once a week and eventually we’ll be able to cut to lower heights and create more speed.
“We’ll start soon lowering the blades and getting some speeds up. But they’re better than what we had last year at this time.”
Some of the greens had been tapered to adjust to the faster putting surfaces.
“We had some large undulations out there that I don’t think could take the speed of these greens,” Weinerth said.
Chatmoss, an Ellis Maples design, opened in 1958. It has been a popular destination for Virginia State Golf Association tournaments over the years. The club has played host to the Chatmoss Invitational since 1961 when Dale Morey won the inaugural event.
Traditionally held the first weekend in April, the 2018 tournament will be moved to June or July to take advantage of ultimate playing conditions on the new putting surfaces.
Danville Golf Club, which was founded in 1916, is a Donald Ross par-70 design.
The new greens will also be the Champion bermudagrass variety. They will be unveiled to the membership Sept. 1.
Danville Golf Club is considered one of the oldest in Virginia. It has hosted numerous VSGA championships, beginning with the state open in 1939. The state open returned in 1960, 1974 and 1984.
The Virginia state amateur was played Danville Golf Club in 1981 and 1988 and the state women’s am was contested there in 2009.