Nathan Crace is under way with a renovation of the practice facilities at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Mississippi.
“The club’s owner, George Bryan, is a huge proponent of ‘growing the game’ and supporting junior golf and he wanted to improve the practice green at the teaching facility to help bolster an already robust junior program at Old Waverly,” said Crace. “They asked me to come in and look at the existing green last year and put together a plan to maximise the area they had available.
“We took what was a 2,400-square-foot putting green with severe slopes that were not usable, and transformed it into more than 6,000 square feet of usable putting surface, plus a bunker and intermingled areas of rough, collar, and approaches with different lies, elevations, and slopes to replicate any type of short game shot you would see on the course.
“In addition to the new short game green complex at the teaching facility, a decision was made to renovate the member practice green adjacent to the driving range tee while the contractor was still on site. This helps add even more value to the overall project.”
Contractor Sur-Line Turf began construction in April and grassing is expected to start in the next two weeks.
“Because of the pandemic, the contractor had some constraints related to travel and lodging that delayed the start of the work by a couple of weeks. However, it’s been a very wet spring across the southeast, so the delay didn’t hurt the project because it turns out we had to wait for the weather to improve anyway,” said Crace.
“The new green matches better with the feel and design of the greens on the course that Bob Cupp designed in the late 1980s. Overall, it’s a better fit and really lives up to the quality and standards that golfers come to expect from a club like Old Waverly and the product that the Bryan family has provided for more than 30 years.”
The project is particularly special for Crace, because he was an assistant golf professional at the club in the mid-1990s.
“It’s also where I first met Bob Cupp, who would go on to become my de facto mentor and eventual lead sponsor for membership in the ASGCA,” said Crace. “Even though I never worked directly for Bob, he was always willing to offer me advice.”
The club hosted the 1999 Women’s US Open and last year’s US Women’s Amateur. It is also the home base for golf instructors VJ Trolio and Tim Yelverton.
“Old Waverly is also the place where my daughter got engaged so I have a lot of memories from there and it’s still one of my favourite places to visit and play,” said Crace. “Again, that all comes back to the Bryan family and the way they have operated Old Waverly from the beginning, including the high standards they uphold while still maintaining a genuine southern charm and welcoming feel to every aspect of the property. Even though I grew up in Indiana, every time I pull through the gate, it’s like going back home again.”