A two-year wait has been extended a couple months by weather conditions, but Wedgefield Country Club in Georgetown is set to finally reopen to the public on Sept. 1.
Mitch Thompkins, a Georgetown native, has a five-year lease to operate Wedgefield from owner Harry Karetas and planned to reopen on July 1 following the installation of new TifDwarf Bermudagrass greens.
But weather delayed the delivery of the grass from Orangeburg until early May, 14 of the club’s 19 greens – including a practice putting green – had to be redone, and heavy rain over several weeks has further delayed the opening.
The course has been closed since June 2016, when former owner Ray Watts closed it citing a lack of play and poor financial performance.
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Prior to opening to members and the public, the course will host a nine-hole scramble tournament on Aug. 23 that will serve as a volunteer recruitment event for The First Tee Coastal Carolinas.
The course will host a School Day Program for fourth-graders from 8-11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Sept. 30, and the After School Program for children ages 7-14 from 4:30-6 p.m. on Mondays for eight weeks beginning Sept. 10.
Thompkins hopes to reopen for members on Aug. 27 after bunkers are redone with new sand.
Thompkins presold memberships late last year and has about 95 members. He said he has also sold a couple dozen corporate memberships to companies that pay an annual fee to allow their employees to play for a cart fee.
Other amenities on the property have already opened. The Manor House restaurant has been open since February, the pool has been open all summer, and the pro shop is open and can be reached at 843-546-8587.
Thompkins is anxious to finally reopen the 7,034-yard Porter Gibson and Bob Toski design that opened in 1972.
“It will almost be like having your first child,” said the father of two adult daughters.
First Tee starting
In addition to Wedgefield, The First Tee Coastal Carolinas will be at seven other After School Program locations and two more School Day Program sites.
From Sept. 8-14, The First Tee will begin eight weeks of after-school programming for 90 minutes each session at Eagle Nest Golf Club on Saturdays, Willbrook Plantation and Wedgefield on Mondays, Wachesaw Plantation on Tuesdays, Cane Patch Driving Range on Wednesdays, Legends Resort on Thursdays, and the Hackler Course at CCU and Crown Park Golf Club on Fridays.
School Day Programs from 8-11:30 a.m. on Thursdays beginning Sept. 20 will be held at Tradition Golf Club and Cherry Hill Country Club in Andrews.
Volunteer coaches are sought and program registration is available at www.thefirstteecoastalcarolinas.org.