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Royal New Kent Golf Club honored among Golf Inc. magazine's 2020 Public Course Renovation of the Year


Royal New Kent Golf Club honored among Golf Inc. magazine's 2020 Public Course Renovation of the Year

By Brad King

The positive reviews of the fully restored Royal New Kent Golf Club continue to pour in more than a year following its reopening. This time, the heralded Mike Strantz design joins the medal stand with two courses currently hosting PGA Tour events, as Golf Inc. magazine announces its 2020 Renovation of Year honorees.

Golf Inc. runs the annual contest to highlight architects and contractors who have transformed aging courses, making them more playable, eye-catching, and efficient. The 2020 scoring system focused on how each project achieved its stated goals, the level of improvement in playability and maintainability, and course aesthetics.

Along with Royal New Kent, the public course honorees are the Plantation Course at Sea Island and the Plantation Course at Kapalua. The private courses honored are TPC Sugarloaf, La Jolla Country Club, and Renegade at Desert Mountain. More information can be found in the publication's summer issue.

Royal New Kent became the toast of the golf world in 1997 when architect Mike Strantz's masterpiece originally debuted. Now, numerous golfers from across the country are traveling to New Kent, Va. - midway between Richmond and Williamsburg - to play the storied layout, which was renovated by its ownership company, Wingfield Golf Management.

Consistently rated as one of the Mid-Atlantic region's finest layouts, Royal New Kent is a Virginia original sprinkled with Irish seasoning. Strantz paid tribute to the fabled seaside links of the Emerald Isle, with an emphasis on the character and feel of two of the architect's favorites - Ireland's Royal County Down and Ballybunion.

Those who have enjoyed this enhanced Golf Ireland in Virginia playing experience have been raving online and through social media since Spring 2019.

According to Darryl Bartlett, a judge in the Golf Inc. competition, "The team involved with this should be commended for preserving (this) golf course. Mike Strantz only did a handful and to see it preserved in the manner described deserves some sort of preservation acknowledgment."

In mid-2018, after Wingfield Golf Management purchased Royal New Kent, the Greenville, S.C.-based firm immediately began performing a total overhaul on the entire golf complex with three primary objectives: restore the course to the original Strantz design vision; make the course manageable and maintain first-class playing conditions, and provide an Irish golf experience without the overseas travel and time expenses.

During the restoration, Royal New Kent's green complexes were converted from bentgrass to the more heat-tolerant Champion Bermuda. Wingfield Golf trucked in 2,300 tons of new sand to reconstruct the Royal New Kent bunkers, making the golf course more playable and easier to maintain. The upgrades to the irrigation system include a new pump station, and all 120 inlets were rebuilt for better drainage. Meanwhile, substantial clubhouse upgrades were also performed.

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Revised: 07/21/2020 - Article Viewed 10,149 Times - View Course Profile

About: Brad King

Brad King Writer, editor and media relations specialist Brad King is a former Atlanta sports writer and editor of LINKS Magazine - The Best of Golf. After founding Brad King Communications in 2002, Brad penned the golf column for Hilton Head's Island Packet newspaper and his writing continues to be published regularly. Brad has edited and contributed to numerous book projects, He has teamed with the Southern Pines Pilot to produce award-winning coverage of the 2005 U.S. Open, 2007 U.S. Women's Open and the 2014 U.S. Open and Women's U.S. Open.

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