Part of the Cleveland municipal golf track, Waterville Golf Course, which was first constructed in the 1950s, has been closed for an extensive period for the state’s widening of Dalton Pike. Once the project began, play was eliminated on the back nine holes west of the highway.
The back nine have also undergone a major redesign, with construction and renovation continuing to this point.
Since the closing, membership has fallen off and play has declined, because most golfers prefer a complete 18-hole course to nine holes.
The city has added new golf carts in anticipation of more play when the project in completed. Play on the new final nine, hopefully, will resume at the end of May.
The city has paid for the redesign, and a number of changes and additions to the golfing layout, with state funds from property acquisition for the highway widening. The state is building matching tunnels underneath Dalton Pike for carts, golfers, equipment and the maintenance crew to travel from one side of the course to the other.
The overall renovation includes a new cart and maintenance facility located on the east side of the course adjacent to the sixth green. There is also a new irrigation system and pumping station on the front nine and the pro shop has a new snack bar. There is a screened-in dining area at the rear of the pro shop.
This is not the first facelift for the course, which has been called Cherokee Springs and Waterville Golf Course over the years. It was first constructed as a nine-hole test, with the nine holes on the west side of Dalton Pike added at a later date.
For more than 60 years it has been a popular venue for golfers from throughout the region, but play fell off drastically after the back nine was closed for the Dalton Pike project. The road project has also interrupted the normal routine at the golf course.
According to a deed at the city’s Recreation Department, Cleveland purchased 420 acres of farm property along Dalton Pike on July 21, 1942. The course was constructed in the 1950s on 112 acres of that property.
When the facility debuted, former Cleveland Commissioner Kenneth Tinsley was commissioner of recreation. J.B. Lambdin, a local insurance agent, was hired to manage the pro shop in its early days.
A number of golf professionals, and business managers, have been in charge of the operation of the course over the past 60 years. Several of these have gone on to other golfing jobs at other locations.
Cleveland’s Public Works Department is helping with this latest golf course renovation.
In addition to the original funding for the re-design, the Cleveland Golf Course Committee recently requested more than $70,000 in additional money for sodding to be placed around the new greens. That work began last week and is continuing.
The redesign of the golf course had left some old landmarks on the final nine, and created some new tests.
The 10th hole, formerly a par-4, had been shortened with a new green and is now a par-3.
The par-5 11th hole will remain much the same with changes at the green. The old par-5 12th has experienced some drastic changes. There is now a double green at the bottom of the hill to make a short par-4 12th hole. Golfers will then walk to the right and tee off on a new No. 13 tee box from the area where the old No. 14 green was located. The new 13th green is in the southern, right corner of the golf course.
The old, par-3 13th is gone. There is now a tee box facing back to the double green for another short par-4 14th. The 15th hole remains much the same as it was, but the final three holes have changed.
No. 16 uses the same tee box, but it is now a short par-3 down to the right. No. 17 is the signature hole for the new nine. The tee box is now back in the woods to the left of the landing area for the old 16th hole. There is a new landing area about where the old 16th green was located. Then there is a scenic, downhill shot to a green located near Dalton Pike.
The 18th hole is back uphill to where the old cart shed was located. The green is in the area that previously fielded golf balls from the old 17th tee.