A pair of Myrtle Beach area golf courses that closed for summer renovation work have reopened with the fall season on the horizon. Shaftesbury Glen and the West Course at Pearl Golf Links both closed in June to replace bentgrass greens with new strains of ultradwarf Bermudagrass, continuing a nearly decade-long trend along the Grand Strand. Bentgrass, long the preferred putting surface for Myrtle Beach layouts, is a cool weather grass that struggles to withstand the balmy South Carolina summers. The new strains of ultradwarf Bermuda, which thrive in the heat, emulate the best properties of bentgrass while providing far better year-round conditions, hence the stream of conversions.
Shaftesbury installed Sunday Bermuda and purchased greens covers, which ensure its putting surfaces against unusually cold weather during the winter months, but the work at the Clyde Johnston design went far beyond the greens. Shaftesbury installed 250,000 square feet of waste bunkers, creating visual contrast and completing an effort that began in 2016 when the first wave of waste bunkers were installed. The low profile waste bunkers will enhance the course visually and won’t be overly onerous for players. “We didn’t want to make the course harder,” general manager Ryan McCarty said. “We pushed waste bunkers to the outskirts of the holes and we no longer have rough between the bunkers and the cart paths. We’ve actually added fairway (width).” In addition to adding visual appeal, the primary function of the waste bunkers is to improve drainage. Shaftesbury reopened on Aug. 12 and the feedback from golfers has been unanimous. “Customers are loving the new greens and they love how accessible the course is, even after a hard rain,” McCarty said.
The Pearl installed MiniVerde Bermuda on the West Course, a layout highlighted by the par 5 16th hole, which plays along the Calabash River. The West Course closed June 1 and, in addition to installing new greens, Pearl’s management team used the time to upgrade drainage and renovate several tee boxes, enhancements that improved conditioning and the golfer experience. The Dan Maples course reopened on Aug. 15.