It was nearly a year ago when Richmond Pines reopened under the management of Anna and Burl Rose with their son Mike as the head superintendent.
After being closed for nearly two years, there appeared to be a buzz about the return of the golf course.
Until the day when golfers were welcomed back to Richmond Pines, there was talk about the course’s future. Craig McNeill, the new owner, talked about dividing the land into 5-acre lots and selling them for residential development.
And before the McNeill family purchased the property, there were rumors about the golf course turning into a chicken farm.
None of this happened. Instead, McNeill decided to lease the course to the Rose family after realizing there was little need for an upscale housing community at this time in Richmond County.
This meant a long road to turning a neglected piece of property back into a playable golf course.
Easier said than done.
When McNeill and the Roses announced their plans to try to bring Richmond Pines back to its former glory, I wrote a column saying it might not be the wisest decision to re-open so soon.
There were, after all, many obstacles that needed to be addressed. But that didn’t stop the backlash.
Even the Roses admitted it was going to be a steep uphill climb to whip the course back into shape. After a year of battling everything under the sun from weeds to coyotes, they know it is still far from being done.
Yes, there were coyotes that elected to create a den in one of the course’s sandtraps.
Mike Rose admitted last week that it seems as soon as he gets the course to take a step forward, something come up and stunts the progress. Right now, according to several players, he has several of the holes from tee to green looking better than they did before the course shut down.
Those thoughts are a testament to how much blood, sweat and tears the Roses have put into Richmond Pines. It is not perfect, even Anna Rose jokes about saying it isn’t “Pinehurst-quality,” but that can only come with time.
There are pictures in the pro shop showing how far the course has turned around in a short period of time, but that still hasn’t help attract local players.
That has Anna Rose confused. She said she heard from many people how exciting it was to have Richmond Pines reopened, and they planned to join — or at least play the course.
While a fraction of those people have followed through on their promise to her, others have not. They have given Anna Rose the “we will come play when it’s better” line.
Well, right now the course is better than it was. It may not ever be what it was, but the back nine was still designed by Donald Ross and it is still a good test of one’s golfing ability.
And for the price, it is a bargain.
Sure, it is sexier to drive to Moore County and spend more money to play a round, but why not live by the motto of live here and play here?
Not only giving Richmond Pines a chance, but Loch Haven, too.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or firstname.lastname@example.org.