POINT CLEAR, Ala. - Legendary Lakewood golf course at Marriott’s Grand Hotel in Point Clear reopened November first after a year long multi-million dollar renovation. Baldwin County’s oldest links houses two 18-hole championship layouts, the Azalea and the Dogwood. Both have been updated, along with the practice range, to offer the best play in golf.
The Grand Hotel located on Mobile Bay is a pre-civil war property that temporarily became a hospital during the Civil War. A historic cemetery that houses hundreds of Confederate casualties, including one from the war of 1812, runs adjacent to the Azalea Course and testifies to history of the renowned facilities. Niall Fraser, the Director of Golf, explained that great care was taken during the renovation to insure that none of the graves were disturbed.
In addition to its Civil War history, the hotel has played host over the decades to presidents, European royalty, movie stars, sports legends, and captains of industry, and even now continues to do so. The Point Clear facility’s Lakewood GC is hosting the 59th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur tournament, a USGA event, September 12-17, 2020. From over 16,000 American courses, only fourteen are selected each year for a national championship.
Heading up the new look was Hilton Head’s Clyde Johnson who is an expert at working with low water tables at sea level. Changes include a total redo of twelve green complexes with a resurface of the remainder and improved bunkers. All 18 tees have been reworked moving them from runway tees to individual tees. A 3-acre lake between holes nine and ten was added along with new bridges on eleven and eighteen, and reworked bulkheads.
Additionally, the greens were covered with tiff eagle, the fairways adorned with new Latitude Bermuda, the rough accentuated with 419 Bermuda, and the par threes designated with Bahia. The result is improved play with a stunning visual effect due to the color differences in all the grass.
Finally, cart paths were moved closer to the tee’s and greens and the back tee length was shortened three hundred yards.
“It’s all about making the course more playable for the high handicappers while retaining the challenge for the players looking for a real contest. We think we’ve accomplished just that,” commented Fraser. He added, “I like to say Lakewood is about fox squirrels, oak trees, sunsets, and much more.”
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