St. Simons Island, GA (PRWEB) October 7, 2009
Following a dramatic and comprehensive $3.6-million restoration, course owners, members and project participants will gather on October 10, 2009 to celebrate the opening of the King and Prince Golf Course with ceremonial first tee shots and inaugural rounds of play on the new course. The course is owned by The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort which is owned and operated by MMI Hotel Group of Jackson, Mississippi.
Originally opened in 1989 as The Hampton Club, the course was designed by the late Joe Lee, ranked among the game's finest and most innovative architects. The course gained industry awards for his design that included the four island holes that remain its sensational signature.
After nearly twenty years of play, natural course aging had produced a distinct distancing from the brilliant beauty and playability of Joe Lee's original course shaping and sightlines. Greens had shrunk in size, trees had grown, fairways had migrated and bunker depths had decreased. Through extensive restoration and construction work that began in April of this year, the owners set out to recapture the essential elements of Lee's visionary design.
"It's simply a matter of unfailing stewardship," says Rick Mattox, the course and club's General Manager for all of its twenty years of operation. "For the MMI and Resort management teams, providing the finest possible golf experience for members and guests has always been the highest priority."
Selected as course architect was Billy Fuller, founder of Billy Fuller Golf Design, Atlanta, whose credentials include five years as course superintendent at Augusta National and another fifteen as designer and senior agronomist for Cupp Design, Inc., where he worked on the creation of over 130 courses in North America and Europe. Chosen to bring the restoration project to life was Medalist Golf Company who is among the top golf course contractors in the nation.
"I was honored to be selected for the restoration of this outstanding Joe Lee course," said Fuller. "Of the over 200 courses he designed, this has to be one of his proudest accomplishments. The owners' goal was to preserve Joe Lee's original course design while making the upgrades to modern grasses and other physical modifications that twenty years of advances in ball and club technology demand."
While green complexes underwent the most dramatic changes, other enhancements included the addition of strategically positioned fairway bunkers, modifications to fairway shapes and mounds, enlarged and laser-leveled tees, cart path improvements, a fleet of new golf carts and new tee complexes offering five different length challenges for golfers from 6,462 to 4,929 yards. "The course now uses four new grasses," explained Rick Mattox. "Our greens are now MiniVerde™, a newer Bermuda type with no grain and an ultra-smooth and truer putting surface. The green collars are planted with Tifsport Bermuda; the tees, fairways and rough are planted with Celebration Bermuda; and the bunker banks have Empire Xoysia. These all present different textures and shades of green giving the course a new beauty and a real wow factor."
Complementing these improvements is an all-new practice facility where golfers can practice under true game-like conditions, including putting, sand wedge and fairway bunker shots and, on the driving range, target greens with pins and traps.
"In 2010, we will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort," noted Resort General Manager, Michael Johnson. "The restoration and reopening of the King and Prince Golf Course is an exciting milestone and an historic preface to our anniversary year."
To make tee times at The King and Prince Golf Course, or for information on membership in The Hampton Club, call (912) 634-0255.