JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. The Wellman Golf Club is holding its official re-opening today, having undergone a complete renovation of the original golf course layout. Rees Jones, along with his design associate Bryce Swanson, oversaw the project, which was funded primarily by the Florence County penny sales tax. The revitalized Wellman Golf Club, which has been closed since 2010, will now operate as a municipal course of the City of Johnsonville.
“It will play like an old-style, classic golf course. We took a minimalistic approach to the layout, largely preserving the original Ellis Maples routing and allowing the holes to fit the land. The trees have matured over the years, giving the layout the character of an older course,” says Jones.
“The finished course will look a lot like a Pinehurst area golf course, with sandy soil, pine trees and gently rolling topography. Golfers will be able to play the ground game and the aerial game. Shorter hitters can have a way to get to the green and the longer hitters can have a challenge,” continues Jones.
Adds Swanson, “The bones were good. The natural elevation changes create movement, so each hole has its own unique feel to it and yet they all tie together.”
“This has been a long time coming” said Mayor Johnny Hanna. “City council initially started discussing the possibility of locating someone who would consider opening the club or the possibility of a joint venture as early as 2016”. But with the hiring of Jim Smith as City Administrator in 2017, reopening the course became a real possibility. Later in the process of formulating a plan, then City Attorney Ben Zeigler, who served as South Carolina Golf Association Junior Golf Chairman, set the wheels in motion with his many contacts.
The mission of the town officials for the revitalized golf course was to provide a recreational facility for everyone in the region to enjoy at an affordable price, as well as potentially spurring economic growth on the highway 41/51 corridor. The location and the site characteristics will enable the dream to be accomplished.
About the Wellman Golf Club:
Prior to opening in 1966, the Wellman Golf Club property was used for sheep grazing. In late 1964, local businessmen tired of driving to Georgetown to play every week, hired Ellis Maples to design a nine-hole golf course; an additional nine holes were added in 1971 along with a fully automatic irrigation system designed by Ed Seay, a Maples associate. The property eventually became a Wellman Industries -owned course and a swimming pool and tennis courts were added to make it more of a country club in an attempt to attract and keep workers for his business. It soon became a resort and public course until it was sold in 2000 to a Virginia company that allowed the course to deteriorate and eventually close in 2010.
About Rees Jones, Inc.:
Founded in 1974, the firm of Rees Jones, Inc. has been recognized for its award-winning work in course design and renovation both in the U.S. and abroad. Scores of the firm’s designs/renovations have hosted major championships and significant match play events. With a focus on designs that are both traditional and timeless, the firm provides innovative, customized solutions that include strategic options that ensure course flexibility and continuing interest to golfers of all skill levels. As stewards of the environment, the firm remains committed to creating sustainable golf courses that co-exist in harmony with nature. To learn more about Rees Jones, Inc, visit www.reesjonesinc.com