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Spence Completes Renovation of Furman University GC
Furman University Golf Club, home to the Furman men's and women's golf teams, has been renovated by architect Kris W. Spence. The renovation focused on all 18 greens and their surrounds and was completed August 22. The course is expected to reopen for play in early October.
Spence was intent on adding character and difficulty to the putting surfaces to challenge the modern collegiate golfer, while also creating openings in front of the greens to accommodate the everyday player at the public course.
Furman University Golf Club was built in two phases in the late 1950s. It was a collaboration of architect R.K. Webel and Walter Cosby, superintendent of the famed Greenbrier in West Virginia.
"The original designers did an excellent job routing the course over a beautiful piece of rolling topography, but the greens were repetitive, lacked definition and didn't offer strategic variety," Spence said. "We incorporated more of a Donald Ross look to the green complexes with raised fill pads, and bunkers cut tight to the greens with steep grass faces."
Spence said the end result is a better all around golf course, one that can be ratcheted up for high-level tournament play.
"We have two very competitive nationally-ranked golf teams," said head professional Kevin Dehlinger. "The golf course had to be tournament ready and tournament difficult, yet able to be set up on a day-to-day basis for the average golfer. Kris accomplished that. We have areas to tuck pins for tournament play, but other areas for daily pins that are fair to average players."
In addition to a complete redesign and reconstruction of the greens, Spence added a dozen fairway bunkers and new tees on five holes. An updated irrigation system was installed around the greens, which were resurfaced in Champion Bermuda, the latest hybrid Bermuda grass for greens.
Length was added on four holes to bring the total yardage to 6,993 from the purple tees. Other yardages are now: 6,500 yards (black tees), 6,009 yards (white) and 5,281 yards (lavender).
"Modern technology had rendered the course fairly easy to play for college players," said Dehlinger. "Furman has alumni like Dottie Pepper, Beth Daniel, Brad Faxon, Betsy King and Sheri Turner. That's the legacy of our golf teams and now our teams have a course that matches the legacy."
Said Spence: "It's a sharper, more well-defined course with a much more distinct and unique look. The greens are very memorable and certainly not repetitive."
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