By Bill Hensley
Feb. 18, 2013. Members and guests will notice some changes in the Hound Ears Club golf course when it reopen in the spring. In addition to some cosmetic changes, there will be five less bunkers on the famed course designed by George Cobb and opened in 1965.
Over the winter, the club’s maintenance staff eliminated bunkers on the second, third, 11th, 14th and 16th holes.
“We are always alert to maintaining and improving our fine course,” offered Golf Director Peter Rucker. “It became evident that four bunkers had become non-functional over the years so they were eliminated. A bunker on 11 was not consistent with the original Cobb design. I am pleased with the end result because it makes the course more playable and more up-to-date.”
Golf course superintendent Allen Storie supervised the changes.
In addition, all tees were leveled, numerous on-course trees were trimmed, and stone steps were added on the 10th and 13th tees. “Last year the course was in immaculate condition,” Storie said, “and now it’s even better. I can hardly wait for opening day.”
A mid-April opening is scheduled for the club’s 49th season.
There will be also a slightly different look to the famed Blowing Rock Country Club golf course when it opens this spring for its 98th season.
Under the design and watchful eye of Kris Spence of Greensboro, greens on the ninth and 14th holes are new, and the par five 14th has been lengthened to make it a true three-shot hole. The work, along with some minor cosmetic changes, was completed this winter by Golf Course superintendent Ben Barnes and his maintenance staff. Assisting were contractor Earl Sanders of Green Tee Golf and irrigation consultant Tony Altum.
“I am pleased with the changes,” said Golf Director Wayne Smith, “and think that the course has been improved. Members and guests will welcome the new look and find the course more playable.”
Over the years, both greens that were added had lost original shapes and sizes. The putting surface on the 9th hole had decreased to 3000 feet. The new green measures 4500 feet. In addition, two new bunkers to the right of the green were added.
On 14, tees were moved back to lengthen the shortest par five on the course. Two fairway
bunkers were added along with a deep bunker guarding the left side of the putting surface, which was doubled in size.
The Blowing Rock course was opened in 1915 and is renowned for its colorful history and tradition. The course will reopen in mid-April.