Elmwood Renovation Finally Complete
December 1, 2016
By: Wade Merry, SDGA Executive Director
Wishing one's life away is a terrible thing, but I can't wait for the 2018 SDGA Amateur Championship to get here.
The three-year renovation to Elmwood Golf Course in Sioux Falls is finally over and I got my first look at the West Nine this fall. As I found out last year when I toured the North Nine after it re-opened, the new holes feel like they have been here from the beginning. Considering Elmwood has been around 90 or more years, I wouldn't have been surprised -- disappointed, yes -- if I left feeling like someone had taken away our golf course and replaced it with something so out of character that I might not want to come back.
That is not the case.
Elmwood, which will host the 2018 SDGA Amateur Championship, is back and better than ever, to use one of the oldest cliches around. I don't want to hear about thin spots on fairways or overly-firm greens. What do you expect from a brand-new golf course? Course conditions always improve and by mid-summer when the South Dakota golf weather is at its best, Elmwood is going to be spectacular. And crowded.
The West Nine is the opening nine and first of all, holes 2 through 5 remain relatively unchanged except for new (and better) green complexes. One change I particularly like is the fourth green, particularly the chipping area to the left and the landing zone to the right if you miss the green with your tee shot on the par-3 hole.
The best change I like is being able to walk off the fifth green and head straight south to No. 6 tee. I never liked leaving the fifth green and having to cross between seven green and eight tee and risk bothering players on those holes with my movements.
This new tee sits where the seventh green used to be and the hole plays as a 513-yard par-5 from the black tees heading south down what used to be the old seventh fairway. The sixth green has some movement to it and is nicely bunkered. The seventh hole runs to the north, a 463-yard par four from the black tee, and the green sits in among the old trees that bordered the former sixth tee.
The eighth green is shifted to the south -- another really nice improvement.
If we are feeling particularly ornery come time for the 2018 Amateur Championship, we can play the golf course at 7,200 yards for the men and 6,200 yards for the women and have every one of our good players feeling like they have been tested like never before. But we don't need to do that here to give our best men and women a great venue that will test their patience and, more importantly, reward them for their stellar play.
That's all you ask for from a championship golf course.
Three years is a long time to go without your golf course. Waiting until August of 2018 is going to feel even longer for those of us who put on our championships.
But, as I found out this fall, it is going to be worth it.