Two years in the making, the renovated South Course at The Valley Club enjoyed a coming out party Friday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place before 151 members and guests took their swings on the redesigned course, which was the front nine on the original 18-hole course.
Started in 2017, the project includes a redesign on the North Course now taking place, was spearheaded by Valley Club member Davis Love III, a 21-time event winner on the PGA Tour and honoree of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Love, acting as the lead architect, and brother Mark, who also played a major part in the project, are partners in DL3 Love Golf Design. The pair received advisory support from Beau Welling, founder and CEO of Beau Welling Design, based in the Carolinas.
Jaime Sharpe, Director of Golf, explained the process, “When we started two years ago one big aspect was water conservation. With the new measures, including a full irrigation replacement with more efficient irrigation heads, and native grasses, we were able to return 30 acres of water back to the valley. We are allowing Mother Nature to do her job.”
Sharpe said the greens were reconstructed for more character and undulation and tee boxes regraded to offer better angles into the fairways and greens.
John Ashton, former board president, said a popular trend of making golf courses “friendlier” to beginning golfers and those with higher handicaps was one of the motivating factors in redesigning the course.
“We added a whole new set of forward tees and adjusted the length of the tees. It makes the golf course play a little easier for beginners and people who might not hit the ball as far,” Ashton said.
Conversely, while golf friendly to the higher handicaps the changes are challenging for the more skilled and stronger players as they can no longer send the ball over the bunkers.
“It’s one of the aspects that is more challenging. You really have to think about how you are going to approach the greens. It’s a lot more interesting,” Ashton said. “The aesthetics have been improved. We removed some trees and you can see more of the mountains. It’s just terrific.”
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Ashton was part of the first foursome including former board member Steve Malkmus, and current members Vickrie Cutler and Steve Kearns.
“The comments were really positive. People were very happy,” Sharpe said.