|Renowned golf course architect Lester George has been honored by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) for his renovation of Rock Manor Golf Course – owned by the City of Wilmington and managed by Billy Casper Golf – as part of its Design Excellence Recognition Program.The program shines a light on the innovation and problem-solving skills required of today’s golf course designers. Nominations were reviewed by a panel of golf industry leaders, including representatives of the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Golf Course Builders Association of America and National Golf Course Owners Association.
After a two-year closing for major renovation, the course – established in 1921 just off Route I-95 – re-opened in April 2008 after being lengthened from 5,779 yards to an 18-hole, 6,403-yard championship design. Rock Manor has new tee boxes, bunkers and fairways in addition to a state-of-the-art irrigation system for top playing conditions all season.
The Rock Manor re-imagining – part of the larger Blue Ball Project, one of the largest public works feats in Delaware history – was an engineering accomplishment of historic value, despite many challenges to include the expansion of Route 202 and I-95 encroaching on the course and flooding of the nearby Matson Run Watershed. George designed a completely new golf course with heavy demand on floodwater attenuation, working around utilities and routing around a major highway interchange.
The Blue Ball Project, including Rock Manor Golf Course, was named a winner of the Federal Highway Administration 2006 Excellence in Highway Design Award in both the Environmental Protection and Enhancement and Project Development Process categories. In 2009, Delaware Today readers voted Rock Manor the “Best Public Golf Course” in the Wilmington-area.
“In each case, golf course owners, managers and superintendents faced challenges unique to them, including the landscape, environment or business situation,” says ASGCA Vice President Lee Schmidt. “And, in each case, they met the challenges by working with ASGCA members, who serve clients around the world every day.”
“Rock Manor has become a favorite among golfers,” says George. “To provide citizens with an award-winning layout and positive, affordable experiences with a game that so many people enjoy makes me proud to have been part of transforming this great public asset.”
A circa 1921 building was restored to retain the flavor of its original structure, and serves as Rock Manor’s clubhouse. A grill room and separate pub provide comfortable dining for golfers and non-golfers. For golf tournaments, weddings and other social engagements, a new outing pavilion makes Rock Manor a premium events destination.
Rock Manor’s practice area features a 20,000 square-foot, natural-grass, lighted driving range; a putting green; and chipping area and bunkers. An expansive golf- instruction program – led by Clark Gregory, Rock Manor’s Director of Instruction – includes a partnership with The First Tee of Delaware for youth education programs promoting character development and life-enhancing values through golf.
For more information about Rock Manor or to schedule a tee time: www.rockmanorgolf.com or 302.295.1400.
About Billy Casper Golf
Established more than 20 years ago in cooperation with golf legend Billy Casper, BCG is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia with regional offices near the 150-plus golf properties under company management. For golf courses, country clubs and resorts, BCG directs all aspects of course and property maintenance, staffing and training, clubhouse operations, food-and-beverage, merchandising, golf instruction, marketing and public relations, special events and financial management.
As a division of BCG, Buffalo Communications is the leading global golf-lifestyle public relations, branding, marketing-communications and creative services firm representing top brands in and related to golf. Buffalo Turf & Landscape Company provides golf course maintenance-only programs with a new fee-for-service structure that allows property owners unfettered visibility into actual activities and costs.
For more information: www.billycaspergolf.com, 703.761.1444.