Behind The Scenes: Course Renovation Project on the Palmetto Course at Myrtlewood Golf Club

Meredith Kirk:
Hey everyone. I am at Myrtlewood Golf Club today, and today, we had a very special guest here, Dan Schlegel, president and founder of Schlegel Golf Design. He is the course architect that is leading the renovations on our Palmetto course. So many exciting changes, new greens, new bunkers, and we discuss it all in the interview I’m about to share with you. Join me in watching this so that the next time you come to play Myrtlewood Golf Course, you can check out the Palmetto course, and see all the new upgrades. It’s going to be awesome.

Meredith Kirk:
We have a special guest that’s been in town quite a bit this summer. I want to introduce you to Dan Schlegel, president and founder of Schlegel Golf Design. Dan, thanks for joining us.

Dan Schlegel:
My pleasure.

Meredith Kirk:
And taking a break from these awesome renovations. I want to know more about that.

Dan Schlegel:
Well, about three or four weeks ago, we got into renovating all the bunkers on the golf course. Max and Dave and the crew also killed off all the existing Bermudagrass on the greens and expanded the greens back out to their original shapes and sizes. And we picked up almost 28,000 extra square feet of green space.

Meredith Kirk:
Wow.

Dan Schlegel:
There’s going to be a lot more pin positions. A lot of the existing contours that were in the ground that got pushed outside of the green envelope are now going to be back into play, and with that expansion, it’ll add a lot more variety with approach shots on golfers needing to use different clubs now to approach. We’re going to expand some mow areas, so it’ll make some short game areas around these greens as well, taking advantage of some of the existing slopes.

Dan Schlegel:
That’ll be really exciting with the new variety of Sunday Bermudagrass that they’re putting on the greens. The greens will be a lot purer, true, be able to maintain at a lower cut of height, and just be an overall better playing experience. And while they close the course to do that work, we’ve gone in and we’re going to renovate all the bunkers on the golf course. I believe there were 58 or around 60 bunkers on the golf course, but that includes all the fairway bunkers, the green side bunkers. We got about five holes into the project with redoing all the bunkers-

Meredith Kirk:
Wow.

Dan Schlegel:
… to the green on every hole, and then when they’ve sprigged the greens, we’ve stopped doing work around the greens because of all the watering they have to do to get the sprigs going. We’ve fallen back, and we’re not tackling the fairway bunkers with a little more earnest.

Dan Schlegel:
This is my third trip down, and we’re still painting sand lines for finalizing the first group of bunkers that were done. Going to look at some new work today and tomorrow of shaping work, and then get into the last two or three holes that we didn’t really talk about the concept of the new bunkers with the shapers and get them ready to dive in to that.

Meredith Kirk:
Okay. How long is the process, start to finish?

Dan Schlegel:
I think they’re looking to open the course around Labor Day, so that’s about a three month process.

Meredith Kirk:
Wow, that’s actually pretty fast for all of those changes.

Dan Schlegel:
Yes, and now that the greens are sprigged and it’s really hot, Bermuda loves the heat and they keep the water going. The greens will grow in really, really fast. We’ll actually be working hard renovating the bunkers to keep up with the pace of how the greens are coming in.

Meredith Kirk:
That’s really exciting. From a golfer’s perspective, when they come here to play this new course, newly renovated course, what should they expect? Is it going to be more challenging? Is it going to be more player friendly?

Dan Schlegel:
It might be a little bit of all of that. Aesthetically, it’s going to be a lot better and a lot different. The bunkers on the golf course, they kept expanding and the sand lines kept getting lost, to the point where you looked at the golf course and every bunker almost looked exactly the same. It was round, it didn’t have any definition in the sand line.

Dan Schlegel:
We are reducing the size of the bunkers so there’s less sand to maintain, but we’re keeping them pretty much in the same strategic spots so the challenge of the golf course will remain about the same. And I think that’s one of the hallmarks of this golf course. It’s a really good routing. It’s very playable for all levels of golfers, and people that play here enjoy it. And they come back and play again because of that.

Dan Schlegel:
But there’s going to be some changes. We’re taking some bunkers out. We’ve adding a couple bunkers. Some of the fairway bunkers, we’re going to let them jut into the line of play a little bit more, put them a little bit more on angle, and change elevations slightly, so that when you’re hitting a shot, you might now see fairway beyond that and want to take a gamble to carry that bunker instead of just playing away from it, to set up a better angle into the green.

Dan Schlegel:
We are trying to enhance the strategy of what’s there, but we’re not wholesale changing locations of golf holes.

Meredith Kirk:
Right. Okay, so if there is one particular hole on the Palmetto course that you see the most change, what hole would that be?

Dan Schlegel:
It’s tough to limit me to one hole. I think … I’m going to pick three.

Meredith Kirk:
Okay, three. That’s good.

Dan Schlegel:
Hole number two, the green side had one large bunker on the left hand side, and water was literally draining straight off the green literally into that bunker, so that bunker was always eroded, full of water, never in good shape. We actually took that green complex back to the original design. We have the plans from Edmund Ault, who I got my golf architecture start with him back in the very late ’80s.

Dan Schlegel:
We took it back to his original green plan, and now we have drainage going through there, and made two bunkers. It just sets up so beautifully when you look at it, the way it’s shaped in there now.

Meredith Kirk:
That’s exciting.

Dan Schlegel:
And then hole number 10 is one of these holes, it’s a shortish par five that we’re going to be able to put in a couple bunkers that do jut into the fairway a little bit more, allow the longer hitting golfer the challenge, take a little bit more risk, but still allow a wide enough fairway and playing away from the hazards for the average golfer.

Dan Schlegel:
And then, of course, 18.

Meredith Kirk:
I love 18.

Dan Schlegel:
Right?

Meredith Kirk:
It’s one of my favorite holes.

Dan Schlegel:
Yeah, right here on the inner coastal, those bunkers just have grown. We have a bunker on the left on the fairway, the slope now works opposite of how the slope works down to the waterway, so we’re going to really modify that bunker on the left, redo the bunker on the right into two bunkers and pull them in to the fairway a little bit more. And then do all of the bunkers around the green.

Dan Schlegel:
When you’re on the tee, and the way the left hand bunker’s going to be remodeled, you’ll actually see more water as you play the hole. It’ll just be a tremendous finish to the golf course.

Meredith Kirk:
Oh, that’s so exciting, and it’s so great that you’re back here. How does it feel to be back on this course?

Dan Schlegel:
I love it. I like going South. I like the Bermudagrass. I don’t mind the heat, so being in Myrtle Beach is awesome. We did some work in the early ’90s here, renovating some tee complexes. We did work on the 17th hole when they took the stream in front of the green, made it more of a pond and a water feature. And we rebuilt the tee complex to give that hole more variety for more levels of player. And now we’re coming back in and doing something on every hole, so it’s really exciting.

Meredith Kirk:
It is. This is a pretty big renovation here, so with all the changes that you’re making, for the golfers coming back here to play golf this fall, I’m really excited to get all of the positive feedback that I know we’re going to get from this course, because this is one of the favorite courses here in Myrtle Beach.

Meredith Kirk:
Centrally located, everybody loves this course, and the fact that it’s so player friendly. And I know you’re keeping it that way as well with these renovations, so that’s good news. Good news for those of us that don’t get to play as much as we want to, right?

Dan Schlegel:
That’s all of us, right?

Meredith Kirk:
Yes, it’s all of us. Thanks for your time today. I know you’ve got to get back out there and get back to work on the Palmetto course, because it’s going to be reopening Labor Day, so we’re pretty excited.

Meredith Kirk:
Folks, stay tuned with us, because this course is reopening. The Palmetto course, here at Myrtlewood. Some exciting renovations, new greens, new bunkers, all right here in the heart of Myrtle Beach at Myrtlewood, so thanks for joining us. And Dan, thank you for your time.

Dan Schlegel:
Thank you, Meredith.

Meredith Kirk:
Thanks.

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