Beau Rivage Golf Club

By Douglas Scarboro, Contributor

WILMINGTON, NC - Located off Highway 321 on the outskirts of town, the Beau Rivage Golf Club provides a challenge for weekend duffers and some serious golfers as well.

The usual courses in the area consist of challenging layouts that are a mixture of flat tundra and tucked doglegs. While challenging and interesting, it is a breath of fresh air to locals and regular visitors to the area to play a course slightly different from the rest.

The Beau Rivage is different in the aspect that it is elevated throughout. This is surprising for a course that is located only minutes away from the beach. From tee to green, gently sloping hills and an abundance of awkward lies await you.

The course was originally started in the late 1980's with mediocre reviews. Sitting in a prime location, the golf course was purchased by the current owners after about twelve years. The new company was destined to take over the golf and lodging facilities and increase the draw to the course.

The first major project was a revitalization of the lodging spaces for the golfers. The course now houses thirty suites that all have a view of the first and eighteenth green. These suites comfortably sleep a foursome and provide direct access to the driving range, putting green and chipping green. Golfers hit by the late night practice bug will enjoy the accessibility. The suites are linked with the main building that houses the front desk, restaurant and pro shop.

After renovating the lodging aspects of the property, the sites were set on the golf aspect of the resort. This is where Wallace Chavis, General Manager and Superintendent, entered the equation. With a background in agriculture, he set out to make the course one of the best maintained in the area.

Talk quickly with Chavis and you will see that golf agriculture is in his blood and when playing the course you will see that he is good at it too. When he calls the course "His Baby", you can hear the warmth in his voice.

The first issue on redesigning the course was redoing the fairways. The fairways were updated and reseeded to make for a good rolling surface and even better playing surface. The irrigation system was originally slated to be updated only, but ended up needing a total restructuring. This has helped with the irrigation problems that have been a constant problem to players in the past years. Water that usually sat in the fairway now runs off into one of the many water hazards on the course. If you do not possess an array of different shots and a creative imagination; then you should possess more than a sleeve of balls.

After the fairways, the next update at the Beau Rivage was the greens. This was a project that was not only hard on the course, but was also hard on frequent visitors that had to make due on temporary greens. The temporary greens were a necessary nuisance as described by some golfers to a great end.

The Beau Rivage now dons new TifEagle greens. For those who have not played on this new type of grass; it is a different experience. The greens hold true and the color is pleasantly green for more days throughout the year. TifEagle grass seed was originally created at the Coastal Plains Experimental station in Tifton, Georgia (hence the name) in 1988 and have been on golf courses since 1996. Dr. Wayne Hanna's creation of the new variation of superdwarf grass is similar to the replacement of the Tifdwarf grass by the Tifgreen 328.

The new grass is stronger and more resistant to mechanical damage and cold weather; it also maintains it color better than previous grasses. This resilience also adds to the difficulty of the putting green. The blades can be cut lower, resulting in much faster greens on a regular basis.

Green speeds can routinely rate in the 9 to 10 range on the Stimpmeter and much faster when groomed for tougher play. When cold weather strikes, it usually means the end to lush greens and the introduction to hard and inaccurate putting surfaces. Unlike the previous superdwarfs grasses, TifEagle can withstand temperatures in the mid to low 30's. The color remains green and the putting remains true.

With the new improvements to the fairways and the greens, Beau Rivage is sure to be a favorite among those near the Grand Strand. This course is a well kept secret among locals like Scott Synder who feels, "There are several nice views around the marsh and waterway. Water provides your biggest hazard. Weekly fees make this a great addition to a travel week of golf, or an uncrowded easy commute for the Wilmington area golfers. "

The general relaxed feeling of the beach community is present on the golf course and Beau Rivage enjoys that. The atmosphere, along with the beautiful greens make Beau Rivage one of the more enjoyable courses in the Wilmington area.

Douglas Scarboro, Contributor

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