Featured photo: Navian Sims and Avery Burch at Winston Lake Golf Course (photo by Jerry Cooper)
In October, Winston-Salem city councilmembers approved the listing of the Winston Lake Golf Course on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic golf course opened in 1956 for Black golfers in Forsyth County who were once restricted to the city-owned Reynolds Park Golf Course and private country clubs, where Black caddies were only permitted to play when courses were closed.
Now, council has begun discussing improvements to the course.
According to city documents, a little more than $1.7 million was designated for improvements to the golf course during the summer of 2022.
The course’s general manager, Julius Reese, told TCB in September that these upgrades will make the course more enjoyable for players. “It’s already a tough course,” Reese said, adding, “We want to make the playability sustainable enough so people can come in and enjoy themselves.”
The city selected Richard Mandell, an “award-winning golf course architect,” to do an analysis of the course. Mandell also helped renovate Tanglewood Park’s championship course in Clemmons. Mandell was awarded $175,000 for design and construction oversight on the project. The total scope of work will include, but is not limited to, redesigning bunkers, tee box renovation and replacement, designing drainage and irrigation systems renovations, tree removal, fairway improvements and other miscellaneous improvements to the course.
This month, Recreation and Parks Director William Royston told city councilmembers that during the analysis process, they found that the course’s “abundance of trees,” and consequently excessive tree cover, were causing massive issues such as diminished visibility for golfers, as well as drainage problems that reduce the health of the greens.
Trees are also preventing sunlight from reaching the grass, and this year, the city spent more than $20,000 patching up damaged greens, Royston said.
Since the trees are “causing so many different types of issues,” Royston said that their removal will be part of the first phase of work, noting that 98 trees will be removed according to Mandell’s plan.
Royston added, “We feel that everything else that needs to happen at Winston Lake Golf Course is really dependent on removing the trees that impact the overall health of the golf course.”
Recreation and Parks staff will send out a request for proposals for tree removal in January and expect to begin the work in the early spring.
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