Originally created 08/20/05

Public to take swing at golf course today

Starting today, the public will get to take its first look at Bartram Trail Golf Course, the first public course to be built in Columbia County in several years.

Originally, Bartram Trail, located off Columbia Road, was expected to open to the public Aug. 2.

However, course officials say, Mother Nature had other plans.

"(The delay was) because all of the rain. If you're in any kind of building project, it's been tough,'' said Robby Watson, the club's head golf professional.

The 150-acre, 18-hole course had its grand opening to members Aug. 13.

"We've had a great response (with members),'' Mr. Watson said.

Work on the course started about two years ago.

Membership will stop at 300 people, and as of Thursday, the course had about 270 members, Mr. Watson said.

The new public course comes just two months after the private golf course, Champions Retreat, opened in Columbia County near the Greenbrier schools complex in Riverwood Plantation.

That course is the only one in the world designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, who have a combined 13 Masters Tournament victories.

Today's opening of Bartram Trail brings to five the number of golf courses in Columbia County.

"Bartram Trail is particularly good because it's a public course and you don't have to have a big membership fee to play," Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said. "It's good for the community to have those kind of facilities. ... And it's also going to help, I hope, with our tourism and convention and visitors bureau work in that we can offer golf packages.''

Reach Preston Sparks at 868-1222, ext. 115, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

Bartram Trail

- Total yardage from back tees: 6,706

- Total acreage: 150

- Number of members allowed: 300

- Holes: Will have five par-5s, five par-3s and eight par-4s.

- Times: Opens at 7 a.m. weekends and 7:30 a.m. Monday-Thursday. The course allows people to play nine holes of golf in a cart starting as late as 6:30 p.m. for the current season.

- Cost: To ride a cart for 18 holes Monday through Friday, $35; for seniors 60 or older Monday through Friday, $29; Saturday, Sundays and holidays, $44; for seniors on weekends, $33; junior rate to walk, $15.


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