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New practice facility adds to appeal of Stoney Creek

by TG_Admin01

By BOB SUTTON

A new practice facility at Stoney Creek Golf Club should assist in providing year-round instruction opportunities on the site.

“It will certainly help us when it’s 40, 45 degrees and golfers can work on their games,” says Jimmy Dunn, director of golf at the club.

And at other extremes, the practice area should be a more comfortable setting for lessons and for golfers looking to address certain aspects of their games in a practice environment.

It’s a climate-controlled, open-air 30-foot by 30-foot structure that sits to the side of the driving range at the club, which is located along N.C. 70 between Greensboro and Burlington. The practice structure will have ceiling fans to assist in both heating and cooling, along with half-walls to enclose a portion.

Dunn said he hopes the practice facility entices more golfers to the club even when conditions might not be favorable to play a round at the course.

“You’re hitting real shots with real golf balls,” Dunn says. “It’s an additional benefit for our members and guests to enjoy.”

Jay Patterson, a senior instructor with Precision Golf School out of Greensboro, will hold sessions at the practice facility.

Patterson, who’s working as part of a partnership with Stoney Creek, said the concept will assist in his teaching role.

“It’s a huge benefit to the person who is serious about his game,” says Patterson, who’s hoping his scope can extend into Burlington as part of his target area. “It’s going to be a pretty state-of-the-art facility. First off, it’s going to mean shade.”

A facility that caters to golfers throughout the calendar year is a significant boost, says Patterson. He said avid golfers are likely to want to use the instructional area to keep their games sharp, while other golfers could reap the benefits of extra swings, and the technology that will allow for additional assessments.

“I think it’s going to open a lot of doors,” he says. “It’s going to keep (golfers) going all year long.”

The teaching facility will be equipped with the technology to offer video swing analysis. There will be a putting mat included, so all areas are addressed.

The new structure is part of a revamped practice area that includes a two-tiered driving range and two putting greens. The 25-station driving range is large enough that the turf can be maintained favorably.

Stoney Creek has had ongoing upgrades since closing for renovations for six months last year. The course reopened to members in July 2010, when Dunn says it was important to build the amount of play on the course at a calculated pace.

“The reviews for the overall golf course have been incredibly positive,” Dunn says.

Prior to the renovation, Dunn says the course became too difficult for many golfers to fully enjoy. He said the renovation has reduced the frustration levels associated with playing Stoney Creek.

“It’s more playable for everyone and it kept the integrity (of what we had),” he says.

The greens were reconstructed and bunkers were rebuilt as well. They’re no longer as severely sloped as they had been.

“You can always two-putt if you hit it the right speed,” Dunn says.

Stoney Creek, which opened in 1992, is a semi-private course with memberships. It’s open for public play for a daily fee. The course is nestled among a residential community in Guilford County, less than a mile off I-40/85 at the Rock Creek Dairy Road exit.

The course has been the site (except for 2010) of the USA South Conference Tournament, with some of the top Division III golfers in the country participating there. So it remains a championship-caliber course, but Dunn says the goal of it becoming friendlier to members and other golfers also has been achieved.

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