Norman ‘signature course’ opens

Posted on 24 January 2013 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Greg Norman hit the ceremonial tee shot off the first tee of Pompano Beach’s Pines Golf Course last week. It signified completion of his first ever Signature Golf Course for a municipality.

The Pines Course has been closed since April 2012. The course is one of two owned by the city of Pompano Beach, and the first municipal course revamped by Greg Norman Golf Course Design.

Norman, who has won 80 professional events, including 20 U.S. PGA Tour titles in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, said he got his start playing on a municipal course.

“I have been hearing some great reviews and the test of time is still ahead of us,” Norman said. “I am sure everybody is going to enjoy the course. It’s a significant day. We wanted to come in here and make sure that the people would be able to play and keep it affordable. Some of the holes are designed where the ball will gravitate toward the hole depending on the pin placements.”

Norman has designed or redesigned 12 courses in Florida and 84 overall around the world since 1987, including Dubai, Australia and South Africa. Two years ago, the city put out the redesign for bid and the process culminated last Wednesday with the official opening. The course has been open since Jan. 1 for play.

“We took a pig’s ear and turned it into a silk purse,” Norman said. “The important factor is that the city of Pompano absolutely loves it and, hopefully, they will see an increase in rounds.” The new course, which is next to the other municipal course, the Palms, features new Celebration Bermuda turf and irrigation, improvements that should keep the course playable and keep maintenance costs down. It is estimated that there are 94,000 rounds played on the two courses annually.

“This course will definitely be a destination, not only for the residents, but also for attracting tourists from around the world, which means an economic engine for our city,” said Pompano Mayor Lamar Fisher. “The course will be affordable in relation to its quality, complimenting a full service of facilities.”

Commissioner Charlotte Burrie called the day “a beautiful day in paradise.” She becomes a 50-year resident on Feb. 4. She said she played the courses when she younger “and all of the body parts worked.”

“I have never seen the Pines Course any more beautiful than it is right now,” Burrie said. “With a vision of ‘build it and they will come,’ it is beautiful. We have already seen an increase in play and we have received all favorable comments.”

Pompano Beach Golf Pro Bob Loring, who has been the head pro for the past 11 years, said he has already seen an increase in members.

“We have a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course that is close to the beach,” Loring said. “What a great combination for the city of Pompano Beach.”

Loring also shared with the audience how there was a concern about the placement of a cart path and, within a day, in the pouring rain, they moved the path from one side of the fairway to the other. He said the course has the “what” factor.

“Before, when golfers would come in after their round, I would say, ‘what’s the matter?’” said Loring, of the redesign that cost about $4 million. “Now when they come in, they say, ‘what a golf course!’ The Pines course is what you achieve when you combine a city with a vision and a visionary golf course architect.”

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