Open to the public – Pelham course offers ‘world class greens at working class fees’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Shelby County golfers who get a hankering to play golf in Scotland, considered home to some of the world’s finest courses, no longer have to travel overseas to get the experience, according to coordinators of Pelham’s Ballantrae Golf Club.

The city-owned course held its official opening yesterday in the valley of Double Oak Mountain under a blanket of morning fog that gave an accent to its Scottish theme.

Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes was scheduled to hit a ceremonial first shot off the tee.

&uot;We’re really excited about the way the city of Pelham has been waiting patiently for this thing to open,&uot; said Phillip Wright, Ballantrae’s head PGA golf professional.

The city first announced plans to build the muncipal golf course on property behind the Weatherly subdivision little more than a year ago.

The plush, green fairways carve their way through a thicket of pine trees with the mountain serving as a backdrop.

&uot;The views that you see throughout the golf course are breathtaking,&uot; Wright said.

Evidence of the Scottish influence can be seen throughout the course, including the clubhouse, which will showcase the theme when it is completed in August.

The look of the course gets its vision from famous golf course designer Bob Cupp, who has designed more than a hundred courses, many of them award-winners.

&uot;The golf course itself is very playable for all golfers,&uot; Wright said. &uot;Bob Cupp has given us the ability to offer something to all different types of golfers.&uot;

Cupp’s design includes five different tee locations covering a range of experience from the beginner to the professional.

The No. 1 tees offer a 7,310-yard round of 18 holes and are restricted to only players with single-digit handicaps.

The shortest tee distance measures 5,166 yards for a complete round.

&uot;There is a lot more diversity than you will find on a typical golf course,&uot; Wright said.

The 72-par course features five par 3s and five par 5s.

Course superintendent Gary Bush played a key role in Ballantrae’s completion in time for yesterday’s opening.

&uot;There is a lot of hard work behind it,&uot; Wright said. &uot;Endless hours were spent to get this course ready.&uot;

Open to the public, fees for the course were approved by the Pelham City Council at its May 3 meeting.

&uot;Our slogan is ‘world class greens at working class fees’ and that is truly what it is,&uot; Wright said. &uot;There is nothing that compares to it.&uot;

Green fees are $30 for 18 holes Monday-Thursday and $47 for 18 holes Friday-Sunday. Cart fees are $14 for 18 holes and $9 for nine holes.

Green fees for nine holes are $18 Monday-Thursday and $28 Friday-Sunday.

Annual memberships are available for $2,800, with family memberships at $3,400.

The membership includes daily green fees seven days a week, 12-day advance tee time availability and access to member tournaments and discounted Range Club memberships.

The Range Club membership is $300 and includes unlimited driving range balls during course hours.

Upon its completion, the clubhouse will host the offices of the PGA’s Dixie Sectional.

The section offices serve as headquarters for each of the PGA’s 41 regions, providing organization for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and the PGA’s 28,000 members.

Wright said the course will likely host several Dixie Sectional events including regional qualifying tournaments for amateur events.

Ballantrae representatives have also begun discussions to host several other major events, Wright said