Usually, golfers frown at “do-overs.” But the widespread revamping planned for the Mooresville golf course is proceeding on schedule.
The municipally-owned course, open to the public, remains on track for a major facelift that will include a redesign of numerous holes on the front nine; new greens, irrigation and driving range; and an expanded practice area. The Mooresville Town Board of Commissioners approved the new design plan at its Aug. 4 meeting.
Town Manager Erskine Smith said “we’ve got a great recreational asset, and this is a good opportunity to get that asset back up to our standards. In the past, we really haven’t spent a whole lot of money on it. … This is a good opportunity for us to put a new face on that course. It’ll pretty much be a new course by the time it’s all said and done.”
The $4-million-plus overhaul will be financed by $10 million recreation bonds that voters approved in May. The front nine holes were designed by acclaimed course designer Donald Ross for its 1949 opening; the back nine, designed by Porter Gibson, opened in 1977.
Designer Kris Spence said, “All of the greens, tees, bunkers will be completely reconstructed and brand new,” and a new state-of-the-art practice facility will be about five times bigger than before.
He said the new look will maintain many elements of the Ross design while making changes to “create some nice separation” between some holes on the front nine, to allow for the added size and strength of today’s golfer. Spence talked about the challenge to clear some area for a design that will complement 12 acres of land that’s currently a potential commercial development at the corner of U.S. 21 and Wilson Avenue.
“When we clear that area up there, that commercial tract is going to be a good 30 feet above a really nice panoramic view of the front nine,” he said. “That main body of five holes that we’re designing will be right at their doorstep.”
Alan Sulek, a member of the Mooresville Recreation Advisory Board, said the new layout will benefit more than golfers.
“As a person who drives on West Wilson where the seventh hole parallels the road, I’m most excited about the safety improvements,” he said. “When you tee off, you might have 30 feet to your left next to the road all the way down the fairway.
“I’ve hit the street three times at least. You’re always looking at your mirror when you’re driving a car along that stretch.”
Next, Smith said the timetable calls for Spence to put together the construction documents before the town puts them out for construction bids. The town hopes to be able to award those bids in October or early November, at which time construction can begin and the course will close for nearly a year.
After dirt starts turning in November, “We will start actually putting some grass on the ground probably in April or May,” Spence said. “But the big planting will be fairways in June,” with an estimated opening in September or October.
Smith said the plans fit the town’s commitment to first-rate recreational services.
“We get the historic Ross look that he will build into the course; we get a modern course that has a modern irrigation system, and (the course) is lengthened a little bit for the modern players. I think it’s great, the best of both worlds.”
Sulek said the new course won’t just be a prize for Mooresville residents, or only golfers.
“I think they’re going to attract a lot of people outside of Mooresville, a lot more than they have,” he said.