Orangeburg CC makeover nears completion

ORANGEBURG - One of South Carolina's classic golf courses has completed a nearly four-month, multi-million dollar facelift.

Orangeburg Country Club, formerly the Country Club of Orangeburg, reopened its second nine holes Friday following renovations to the 1960s Ellis Maples design by Pinehurst, N.C., architect Richard Mandell, whose work includes restorations of Raleigh (N.C.) Country Club and Keowee Key Club in Salem.

Mandell worked in conjunction with Course Doctors of Hendersonville, N.C., which earlier this year completed work at Augusta National Golf Club. Crews lengthened the Orangeburg course by more than 300 yards, from 6,702 yards to 7,026 yards, and added a fifth set of tees.

Dozens of trees were removed, bunkers were redefined and re-mounded in the original Maples style, and overgrown areas were cleared and covered in pine straw, resulting in a manicured, Pinehurst look. A new irrigation system was installed, and 1.5 million square feet of sod were laid down.

Also, Mandell restored the course's greens to original dimensions, increasing the surfaces from 80,000 square feet to 122,000.

John Worley, CEO of Pin High Visions LLC, did not release total costs. When Zeus Inc. owner Frank Tourville, Pin High Visions' founder, bought the financially troubled club last year, he promised to spend $1.5 million over three years in capital improvements.

"Obviously, we went well past that figure," Worley said. "Our investment is substantial, with more to come," including a remodeled clubhouse and new pool, tennis courts and fitness center.

"This will be a golfing destination," Worley told club members Friday.

The course's official first shot will be played today at 8:30 a.m. by S.C. Golf Hall of Fame member Jane Covington.

- Bob Gillespie