Rivers Edge Golf Club receiving new greens during renovation

The tee box of the 200-yard, par-3 15th hole at Rivers Edge Golf Club.
The tee box of the 200-yard, par-3 15th hole at Rivers Edge Golf Club.

The owners and operators of Rivers Edge Golf Club in Shallotte, N.C., have closed the course for a couple months in order to replace greens and make some other improvements.

The 16-year-old, 6,900-yard Arnold Palmer design closed on Thursday and will be the first course on the Grand Strand to install the Sunday variety of ultradwarf Bermudagrass on its greens.

The Sunday Bermuda will replace SeaDwarf Paspalum grass, which was installed in 2009 and replaced the course’s original L93 bentgrass greens. Paspalum, which is wall to wall at Pine Lakes Country Club, is a hearty grass that is very salt and drought tolerant and takes stress off a course’s water supply.

Rivers Edge had some green damage from winter kill that several other Strand courses also endured.

“Over time the Paspalum hasn’t reacted well to winter and the transition,” said East Coast Golf Management president Mike Buccerone, whose company manages the course. “We want to shut it down and do it right and put a product out there that everyone expects.”

Buccerone expects Rivers Edge, which is one of the area’s more scenic courses with holes along marsh and the Shallotte River, to reopen in late August.

Sunday ultradwarf has been available in the golf industry for a couple decades. Rivers Edge operators visited Ole Still Golf Club in Hickory, N.C., to see its Sunday Bermuda greens and discuss the grass with the course’s superintendent, and participated in a recent sprigging of the practice putting green with Sunday at King’s Grant Golf & Country Club in Fayetteville, N.C., which is another course managed by East Coast.

“They’ve had them for three years there [at Ole Still] and they’ve handled winter well,” Buccerone said. “It’s a salt-tolertant grass and it’s cold tolerant, and the blade is a lot smaller than Paspalum, so we will be able to get the green speeds up to what people would expect.”

Other improvements including drainage repairs will take place while the course is closed, and trees will be removed on holes that have excessive shade impacting grass health, including holes 6, 10 and 12. The decision to close was made after Buccerone met with some owners in Charlotte, N.C., last Tuesday, including managing partner Charlie Smith.

“We’re excited about the ownership and membership embracing this and we’re looking forward to a good fall,” said Buccerone, who added that East Coast’s other courses will accommodate Rivers Edge’s members.

The number of courses that East Coast manages is now five. The company recently added the Palmer-designed Balsam Mountain Preserve outside Asheville in Sylva, N.C., and the mountain course and equestrian community is East Coast’s first private club contract.

East Coast also manages Indigo Creek Golf Club and Azalea Sands Golf Club.

Its marketing cooperative includes more than 20 courses with the recent additions of International Club of Myrtle Beach, Wachesaw East, Farmstead Golf Links and Meadowlands Golf Club.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284 or on Twitter @alanblondin, or read his blog Green Reading at