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Spence to Restore Historic Cape Fear Course


Golf architect and restoration specialist, Kris Spence, has been selected by the members of Cape Fear Country Club to restore the club's historic Donald Ross-designed course.

The history of Cape Fear dates back to 1896, making it one of the state's oldest country clubs. In 1922, the legendary Ross redesigned the golf course, and he tweaked it again in 1946, two years before his death. It is Spence's intention to reclaim the classic Ross design that has been lost over the years.

Spence is considered one of the top restorers of Donald Ross courses, having rejuvenated such Ross layouts in North Carolina as: Grove Park Inn in Asheville, Mimosa Hills in Morganton, Greensboro Country Club and Roaring Gap Club in Roaring Gap. He's also working at a current project at Carolina Golf & Country Club in Charlotte.

Spence is excited about Cape Fear, especially since he'll be able to use the original detailed plans drawn up by Ross, which are not always available. In addition to the design work, Spence's company Spence Golf Inc. will handle the construction portion of the project.

"We consider it a special honor to be put in charge of such sacred golfing ground," said Spence. "Cape Fear Country Club sits on a great piece of land with a variety of topographic characteristics that Mr. Ross recognized would be ideal for golf. We're going to restore the look, feel, playability and strategy intended by Mr. Ross while updating the course for modern play."

The project begins November 1 and is expected to be completed by mid-July, 2006. The $2.7 million project includes the revamping of greens, tee boxes, bunkers, cart paths and the irrigation system. Spence will also make drainage improvements.

The project will undo many changes put in place during a 1986 renovation project that eliminated most of the Ross traits. "We are going to reinstate it as a Ross course and that has an extra special meaning to me," Spence said. "In essence, we're bringing back a course that disappeared over time."