Palmer firm restoring Old Tabby


Sean Dudley

The Old Tabby Links course in the South Carolina community of Spring Island closed on 12 March for a restoration project headed up by the course’s original design firm, Arnold Palmer Design Company.

Contractor MacCurrach Golf Construction is handling the build. The restoration will include a new irrigation system, regrassing greens, and enhancements to restore the character and strategic interest of the course. The work should be completed by autumn, with the course reopening this November. 

Old Tabby opened in 1993. Palmer’s long time design partner Ed Seay was the lead architect on the project. The main task of the project is to restore the natural beauty and rugged character that over the years have been diminished. The driving force behind undertaking the restoration project now is the aging irrigation system and the decline of grass on the greens.

All greens will be regrassed with MiniVerde ultradwarf bermuda, and in some cases, repositioned in order to be in full sun, and escape the encroaching shade of growing trees that the community’s homeowners want to save. With the regrassing, course managers intend to abandon winter overseeding, with consequent improvements to Old Tabby’s ecological footprint. As part of the project some bunkers will also be rebuilt, repositioned or eliminated in favour of the natural, sandy terrain of the area.

Spring Island general manager Tom Noyes said: “The club has stood out for its financial strength and the willingness of our owners to invest in the future of the community. The new state-of-the-art sports and fitness complex was the first step in our investment for the future. This golf course restoration is our next step in ensuring the continuing improvement of Spring Island.”