Three year reno at Prestonwood


Sean Dudley

Prestonwood Country Club in North Carolina, home of the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship, to be played in late September, has completed a renovation of its three golf courses.

Golf architect Rick Robbins, who lives with his family in the Prestonwood development, has led the three year renovation project. For the SAS Championship, which has been played at Prestonwood for over a decade, nine holes of the club’s Highland course are combined with nine from the Meadows course to produce a composite layout, so Robbins knew he had to keep the courses compatible in style of play.

“I couldn't get too radically different with the design styles,” said Robbins. “The greens designs were done in such a way as to give both open and accessible hole locations for typical play and to also provide more protected spots for tournament play. Prestonwood's superintendent, David Dalton, and I worked closely with the PGA Tour on the project and the tour’s agronomist, Bland Cooper, had a great deal to say.”

The renovated Highlands course was opened over Labor Day weekend. Robbins said that, by the time he and contractor Shapemasters got on to the third course, they had established an efficient working relationship, making the Highlands the easiest and smoothest of the three Prestonwood jobs.

“Highlands has more elevation change than Fairways orMeadows and the housing along the holes seems to fit the site without intruding on play,” said Robbins. “As with the other renovations, the primary focus was to make the greens have more useable pin spots, reduce bunker maintenance and to have a consistent style of design that blended with the other courses while still offering a distinctive style to this course.”

On the course’s eighth hole, Robbins cleared an area along the creek that runs down the left side and crosses in front of the green, so the hole can be played as a drivable par four. The green has been designed to accept an approach from both the long tee shot and the traditional landing area on the right of the creek, creating interesting choices on the tee shot.

Meanwhile, the eleventh, a short par four, has seen its green complex moved to higher ground on the right and raised by several feet. A deep hollow and bunker now guard a narrow, elevated green that falls steeply off the back side.