The Copes, who purchased the club Oct. 1, are doing just that. The Evans golf course will be the new home of the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic for the next two years. The 2008 event will be held Sept. 15-21.
The NGA Hooters Tour tournament began in 2000 at North Augusta's River Golf Club and remained their for two more years. In 2003, it moved to Savannah Lakes Resort in McCormick, S.C. for two years. In 2005, title sponsor L.D. Waters relinquished his role to Savannah Lakes.
The Kandy Waters Memorial Classic moved to Goshen Plantation Golf Club in 2006. It marked the first time the event had been held in Augusta. NGA Hooters Tour regional tournament director Kim Tarrant said the tournament also looked at Jones Creek before it moved to Goshen.
"Goshen did a fine job," Tarrant said. "We were perfectly happy with the golf course. We were happy with (co-owner and head pro) Spike (Kelley).
"They had their two years. Now Jones Creek has their two years."
The Copes purchased Jones Creek after looking at other courses in Arizona, California, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Copes, who sold their convenience stores and ice cream parlors adjacent to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, grew up in the golf business. Their father owned courses in Georgia and Illinois.
They are busy making changes to Jones Creek. They're working on re-cutting the lining of sand traps around the course, and they've already replaced the sand with a crystal-white version -- the same sand used at Augusta National Golf Club -- on the first three holes.
They also are enlarging the fairway bunkers at Nos. 4 and 7 and adding bunkers around the green at No. 7.
All of the bunker work, Casey said, is expected to be completed by February.
The Copes also want to add pin positions in the next 18 months so each green will have six possible placements. They also are planning to clean out all the lakes and creeks around the course.
More of their extensive work includes:
- Adding two sets of forward tees and a set of back tees for professionals.
- Bringing back the putting green adjacent to the clubhouse and enlarging it.
- Adding lights to the driving range.
- Building onto the clubhouse and including a gym and a spa for members.
Danny said the work around the course and clubhouse is to benefit the members. Of course, when the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic will be held, Jones Creek should be vastly improved.
"The Hooters Tour is a great way to showcase your course," he said. "People will want to play our course because we have quality events."
The Savannah Lakes Resort Classic, the area's other NGA/Hooters Tour event, will be held in late April in McCormick, S.C.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.