The South course at the Moss Creek club in South Carolina's lowcountry will reopen this week after a major renovation project led by golf architect Clyde Johnston.
Moss Creek's South course was built in 1974 by George Fazio; Johnston has been a consultant to the club since the early 1990s. The current project involved the rebuilding to USGA specifications and regrassing of all eighteen greens with Champion ultradwarf bermuda.
“During the planning process, I performed sunlight studies on several of the greens that had problems with shade,” said Johnston, who is based locally, on Hilton Head Island. “Moss Creek wanted to make sure that there would be adequate sunlight for the installation of Champion, which has a higher sunlight requirement than Tifdwarf, which it previously had. The sunlight revealed that on two greens, huge live oaks blocked the sun to the point that the use of Champion was impractical.”
Johnston therefore altered the shape of the sixteenth green and found a new site on which the third green could be replicated to the original design and work with the Champion grass. “This work did involve removing other trees, but we were able to save he large live oaks,” he said. “All the greens were probed prior to construction to determine the 1974 edge of the putting surfaces, and expanded back to the original line.”
Contractor Wadworth Golf Construction handled the build, which began in early May and was completed by the end of June this year. “Moss Creek's North course has had Champion for some years, so superintendent, Mitchell Wilkerson was very familiar with the grow-in and maintenance practices,” said Johnston. “We used the excess dirt from the greens – many were sand-based without gravel and some were rebuilt in the mid 1990s – to create five new target greens on the practice range. Additionally, all of the South course's fairways were renovated to eliminate the original bermuda grass and a newer variety, Celebration, was installed using the no-till method.”