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Up to par

POSTED: February 9, 2012 4:46 p.m.
Photo by Pat Donahue/

Armed with a fleet of 50 new golf carts, Lost Plantation Golf Club wants to bring its level of play back up to old standards.

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Ordinarily, being above par in golf isn’t such a good thing — on the course. But getting the course above par is just what Seth Zeigler wants to do with Lost Plantation Golf Club.

With a fleet of new golf carts and the irrigation project finally done, the course is trying to attract players back to its par-72 track.

“It’s good to be back to normal,” Zeigler said. “We’re not chasing contractors around. Now we can get back to maintaining the course and getting it back into shape.”

The city of Rincon purchased the club a little more than two years ago, and city officials hit upon the idea of using the golf course as a way to dispose of reuse water generated at its wastewater treatment plant. The reuse water will be used to irrigate the course.

The irrigation project started last year, and the front nine holes were shut down first as new pipes, pumps and other equipment was installed. While the front nine was closed, the course directed players to the last nine holes. When it was time to extend the project to holes 10-18, the front nine was reopened and the back nine was shut down.

Work on the irrigation project began last February, and the major part of the construction was completed in November.

And now, with 18 holes ready to go and a sparkling, brand-new irrigation system, Zeigler and the course want more people to tee it up at Lost Plantation.

“We’ve got some advertising we’re working on. We’re getting the word out about it,” he said. “Our rates, right now, are really unbeatable, I think. Our winter rates are phenomenal.”

Currently, the course is offering $20 for 18 holes and a cart on Tuesdays among its specials. And the fleet of 50 new carts could help bring customers back.

“It was a must,” Zeigler said of the new carts, which arrived last month. “In the golf industry, there are so many courses in the area, it would have put a bad taste in some mouths to have to use three carts to get in 18 holes. You have one shot at the golfer. If he doesn’t have a pleasant experience, he might not come back.”

Playing shape

With the course now back to its full 18 — from the championship tees, the course plays to a sturdy 6,667 yards — Zeigler is optimistic about recovering some of the play lost to the construction.

“We lost some tournaments we couldn’t hold. Now that we’re at a full 18, we hope to get some of them back,” he said. “Most everybody was understanding about what we were going through and what we’re getting out of it.”

The course, even in February, is in the best shape it’s ever been in, Zeigler said he’s been told.

“I have not heard any negativity at all,” he said. “It’s all been positive. Granted, we went through construction and it was the end of the growing season, so there are some spots that need to be healed up.”

Recently, the course hosted a group of nearly 40 golfers who travel around to different clubs in the Coastal Empire one Wednesday a month. Their review of the course was glowing, according to Zeigler.

“There was a lot of positive feedback from them,” he said.

The carts and the irrigation system are signs the city is serious about making the course an attractive option among the many courses in the Coastal Empire, if you ask Zeigler.

“With any business, if you don’t put back into the business, it’s going to suffer,” he said. “Now that the city owns it, they have made great strides in irrigation and new carts and put it back up to par.”

At the head of the irrigation system are two pumps, each able to send more 1,400 gallons per minute down the lines. Zeigler and his staff can set the system to come on, even when they’re not at the course.

It wasn’t always like that.

“The irrigation systems could only be on when we were here,” he said. “It was probably wetting golfers in the process. I’m sure the public did not enjoy getting wet all the time. I have software. We can set it at night. It’s automated. It’s definitely a treat.”

Zeigler isn’t using the irrigation system routinely now, but he expects it will make a “night and day difference” in the spring and summer.

“I definitely want to see it in better shape,” he said. “It’s in better shape than it was. We’ve worked on some drainage situations. Come spring, we’ll hit hard with the irrigation system.”

With the reuse pipes in place, the city also can extend the reuse system to neighboring residences. Having the golf course now as a place to disburse reuse water and with the potential of residential service available means not having to find somewhere else to discharge the treated wastewater.

“The city went to a great deal of effort to lessen the impact on the environment,” Zeigler said.

More than teeing it up

The improvements extend to off the course, too — specifically, the clubhouse has been renovated, Zeigler pointed out. For golfers on the course, two porta potties have been replaced.

“There were bathrooms out there, but they were not usable,” Zeigler said. “We gutted them and remodeled them.”

Wood flooring was put down throughout the clubhouse foyer, and the grille area was upgraded. The clubhouse area can be used to hold meetings, family reunions and buffets, Zeigler said.

In addition, there is no initiation fee to join the club, a savings of $800 on family memberships.

Now the trick is let people know what’s taken place at Lost Plantation and what’s available.

“Definitely, we want to see it pick up,” Zeigler said. “We want to give people a different form of recreation that they may not be accustomed to. You’d be surprised at the number of people in Effingham County who don’t know there’s a golf course here.”

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