A shared mission to restoring the pride and the glory to a once favorite Moore County golf course. By Mark Lindstrom and Jim McDermott
Not too long ago it was difficult to get a weekend T-time at the Beacon Ridge Country Club as the annual trek of Northern golfers converged on Moore County. But the 2008 recession saw the beginnings of a major shift in the golf course business. Hundreds of golf courses were closing every year. Membership was dropping and belonging to a Country Club did not hold the appeal to the growing Millennial population. It was a difficult time for the golf industry and Beacon Ridge Country Club did not escape unscathed. While the past few years have been challenging for the Club, major changes are underway. Raymond Ou, owner, and Mike Rose, Golf Course Superintendent, have been spearheading a major effort this year to restore Beacon Ridge Country Club to its former glory.
Beacon Ridge’s pathway to becoming one of the areas preferred golf courses is founded on a commitment of major renovation dollars to improve the golf course experience and a shared leadership vision between Raymond Ou and Mike Rose that will sustain it.
With close to a quarter million dollars invested in renovation work this year alone, Mike Rose and his team have accomplished an amazing transformation of the golf course with the majority of this year investment “going up the middle” – starting with the greens, sand traps, the irrigation system and most recently over-seeding of the fairways.
The biggest and most important change was upgrading all putting greens from Bent Grass to a relatively new strand of Bermuda called Sunday Bermuda. Raymond Ou started his research on the change in 2018, did homework with other elite area courses, and found that everyone who has it loves it. As golfers will discover, it ’ s an incredible putting surface, has deeper root growth and will thrive in the summer heat of North Carolina.
As part of the transformation, Signet Golf Associates from Pinehurst helped reshape two greens, #10 and #17. As an insurance policy to potential winter damage, custom made covers for the greens were purchased and will be applied before ground temperatures fall below freezing. Here ’ s a summary of other completed improvements:
- A new larger Sunday Bermuda chipping and putting green has been added to the short practice game area along with a new practice putting green adjacent to the driving range.
- A New Jersey firm was hired to sift out rocks on all of the bunkers to improve play ability.
- To improve the winter playing experience, fairway landing areas were over seeded with winter rye. This upgrade is pleasing to the eye and provides more cushion to hit for golfers.
The transformation journey will continue in 2020. Raymond and Mike are planning additional improvements on the outer edges of the golf course and converting some of the rough areas to naturalized areas. Work on the cart paths and new tee boxes are also in the planning stage.
The future looks promising as the leadership Beacon Ridge team moves forward with a determined commitment to recapture a little of those Glory Days.
More About Mike Rose
Mike Rose ’ s seventeen-year career journey in golf started while working with for his parents who managed the Loch Haven Golf Center in Rockingham. It was there he realized he found something he loved. His challenge was to figure out how to make a living at it. He discovered how to do that while completing the Sandhills College Golf Course/Turf Management program. He studied the technical side of turf management, interned on several courses and learned the tools of the trade from industry legends. Mike values his time and experiences from the Sandhills program, but treasures the lasting relationships with three men who remain his mentors:
- George Thompson, a lead instructor at the T urf M anagement school, and a member of the Golf Superintendents Hall of Fame.
- Ron Kelly the Greens Superintendent at C.C.N.C.
- Brook Vickery, a Sandhills area superintendent for many years and Mike ’ s first Superintendent he served as an assistant.
They have been his “ lifelines ” when completing the putting greens transformation at FoxFire in 2017 and as he took on his new role at Beacon Ridge.
One of the things that convinced Mike to sign on at Beacon Ridge was owner Raymond Ou. Mike appreciates having an owner who is on site, who cares about making things better and who supports a team first culture.
With Mr. Ou ’ s support Mike built a new maintenance team of seven individuals that he refers to as the “ All-Star Team. ” Mike inherited a solid team of three men and recruited four industry veterans who’ve worked with him at other courses. His last hire was his head mechanic, David Maples, the son of legendary golf designer Ellis Maples.
With all improvements underway at Beacon Ridge, it looks like Mike is quickly building his own legend.