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‘Porter’s Pond’ to be dedicated at Charlotte golf course

Charlotte’s Sunset Hills Golf Course will dedicate a pond on the ninth hole Saturday in honor of the late J. Porter Gibson, a prominent golf-course architect who grew up in Charlotte.

What’s now called “Porter’s Pond” had been a subject of debate between Gibson, who designed the nine-hole short course at Sunset Hills, and club president Del Ratcliffe. While that course was being constructed in 2004, Gibson wanted to build a pond on the right side of the ninth hole of the par-3 course for aesthetic reasons. Ratcliff was worried about the safety of golfers.

One morning, Ratliff finally relented. Gibson left for lunch and, when he returned, a hole for the pond had already been dug.

About a year later, on March, 8, 2005, Gibson died at the age of 73. At 11 a.m. Saturday, the pond will be dedicated in his honor at Sunset Hills, 800 Radio Rd.

“We’re really excited to honor not only a great golf-course architect, but a truly great man with the dedication of Porter’s Pond,” Ratcliffe said in a statement. “Porter’s vision was to provide a fun and engaging golf experience for anyone playing his courses.”

Gibson, who grew up on East Boulevard and attended Belmont Abbey and Clemson, was a renowned golf course architect. Among the courses he designed in the Carolinas include: Myrtle Beach’s Deer Track Plantation, Santee (S.C.) National, Shelby’s Woodbridge Golf Course, Westport in Denver, N.C., and Mooresville’s Mallard Head Golf Course.

Gibson was among the first golf-course architects to use waste-water irrigation systems on his courses.