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Country Club of Winter Haven Celebrates Its Grand Re-Opening

Courtesy of Joe Stine
Florida Golf Magazine

The Country Club of Winter Haven – located just outside Orlando Florida and managed by Billy Casper Golf – celebrated its grand re-opening on Saturday, January 11, 2014 with a members-guests event hosted by Rees Jones, the legendary golf-course architect who re-designed the 18 hole course with his co-designer Bill Bergin, an Atlanta-based course architect.

Born from a love of tradition and golf, The Country Club of Winter Haven has come to life beginning with a course redesign.

When the economic downturn threatened to close the former Lake Region Country Club, a group of members turned it into an opportunity to rebuild, renew and improve the traditions of a private, memberowned club with all the amenities you would expect, including a championship golf course. The purchase closed on June 15, and work started on the course June 16.

The complete renovation of the golf course has left no leaf unturned. Every piece of grass is new. Every bunker is new or has been renovated. And every green has been rebuilt to USGA standards using Champion Bermuda grass, one of the smoothest and fastest green surfaces available today. Many of the holes have been moved, reshaped, expanded or changed in some fashion. “One of the things we wanted to do was utilize the lakefront,” said Rees Jones, “so there’s more opportunity to play golf along the lake and experience that view.”

In the summer of 2013, Jones and Bergin started renovation work on the 18-hole golf course:

  • All bunkers, tee boxes, fairways and rough areas are either new or modernized
  • Every green has been re-built to USGA standards using Champion Bermuda grass, one of the fastest, most durable and smoothest surfaces.
  • Raised green complexes and bunkering provide golfers with better visibility and, thus, strategic thinking off the tee
  • Five holes are completely new and most have been moved or re-shaped, including re-positioning along the mile-long shoreline of Lake Hamilton
  • Irrigation and drainage installation, and bridge restoration
  • New cart paths

Nicknamed “The Open Doctor,” Rees Jones has designed or re-designed more than 170 courses, including hosts of seven U.S. Opens and PGA Championships, four Ryder Cups, two Walker Cups and a President’s Cup. Baltursol (NJ), Bethpage Black (NY), Congressional (MD), Hazeltine (MN), Pinehurst Nos. 2 and 7 (NC), Torrey Pines (CA) and Oakland Hills (MI) are among the celebrated layouts.

“We’re ecstatic to unveil the dramatic before-and-after difference, both on and off the golf course, for the enjoyment of members and guests,” says Randy Houseman, General Manager of The Country Club of Winter Haven. “Welcoming Rees Jones and Bill Bergin is the perfect way to kick-off the new era of the Country Club of Winter Haven.”