Columbia's golf scene is heating up, thanks to the renovated Spur at Northwoods. The course, formerly known as Northwoods Golf Club, has undergone a major facelift and is now one of the Midlands' favorite public-access golf courses.
And Columbia-area golfers are noticing, said head professional Greg McBride. "Our parking lot is full on weekends again," he said.
Improvements in the course's turf - once an "ongoing issue," McBride said - were "what got players coming back," he said.
The club's new look now includes the Spur name and logo, which is in keeping with the Western theme of Bulls Bay, a Mount Pleasant-area private club owned by Joe Rice, a Charleston attorney and owner of Empire Sports Management, which now owns the Columbia course too.
"It's been a long time since we've seen this kind of excitement," McBride said. "For me, it's exciting to be busy again and hear people say, ‘It looks great.'"
Northwoods, designed by P.B. Dye, has been a Midlands staple since opening in 1989. Many of the area's top amateur players - and a number of professionals from South Carolina, including PGA Tour player Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey - came to the course looking for the best competition and found it in the club's several-times-weekly "dogfights."
But the economic downturn of 2007-09 hurt the family-owned club's financial stability. As conditions deteriorated, McBride reduced prices, causing further pinching of resources.
Empire took care of that, investing about $1 million in upgrades, including carpeting, refurbishing and new logo merchandise in the clubhouse, new carts and maintenance equipment, and new kitchen equipment.
"People have noticed we spent money," McBride said. "If we spend it to make the course good again, people will give it back to us" by playing the course. In 25 years, no one ever disliked the course," he said. "It was the conditions, and now we're taking care of those."
For tee times and more information, call 803.786.9242, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.northwoodsgolfsc.com.