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Seneca Hills Update

August 14, 2012 - Al Stephenson
I woke to the sound of rainfall today. In a summer where scant precipitation has been forthcoming, it was a welcome sound. The lack of rain has farmers wondering if they will have crops to harvest. It also has made it tough on local golf courses.

Yesterday I had the chance to stop at Seneca Hills to see what progress has been made in a makeover that has area golfers buzzing. When new owner Bobby Pollitt took over in 2011, he promised that the whole facility would receive a facelift. The weather has slowed some of his efforts, but trust me folks, the renovation is happening.

Knowing what the course looked like previously and also having knowledge of what changes were being considered, it was a pleasure to ride in a cart with Bobby as he showed me what has already happened and what is still in the works. The changes thus far are amazing, but I'm guessing we haven't seen anything yet.

Despite the lack of rain, the course is in great condition. The greens are in excellent shape and the fairways are standing up to the vagaries of Mother Nature.

The two most noticable projects that will have golfers smiling are the opening of the driving range and the absence of the many geese that used to roam freely on the premises. Let's start with the geese. Pollitt purchased a "geese-be-gone" contraption that was put in the center of the pond that fronts hole #6. This was the most popular roosting place for the creatures though "evidence" of their wanderings could be found all over the course.

The device emits an amber light at night and the geese think it is a predator. Within a couple of days the geese started disappearing. One or two will make an occasional appearance these days, but they do not stick around. It is so nice not to have to tiptoe around geese "stuff" on your way to a green.

As for the driving range, Pollitt expected it to be ready sooner, but Mother Nature would not allow it. Ground was moved around, grass seed was planted and then the weather refused to cooperate. High winds in April moved the straw and scattered the seeds. No rainfall to speak of for three months stalled the progress. Now however, the range has opened to the delight of golfers. It is still a work in progress, but with several target greens (that will eventually look like the greens on the course) to shoot at, golfers can hone their skills now. A bunker is in the process of being built on the range. A special practice area that will be reserved for the local high schools and colleges that will call Seneca Hills home as well as club members is also being constructed.

The event area next to the magnificent clubhouse is starting to take shape, though once again the lack of rain has impeded the slow but sure progress.

Other changes, perhaps not quite so noticable, have taken place. Buildings have been painted. Water coolers have been added to the course. Yardage markers have been placed in fairways, trees and roots have been removed and the ponds have been cleaned up. Plans to lengthen several holes as well as creating a new one are being finalized. Once the bunker on the range has been created and passes muster, more bunkers will be added to the course.

All of these changes are taking time and of course money. When you get a chance to talk to Bobby Pollitt, two things come across immediately. First, he has a vision. He knows what he wants to do even if that includes putting in a wiffle ball field in the middle of his golf course. Seriously, he showed me where he plans to do that - and I think that's just cool. Secondly, he will do things right. He does not do something half way to say it has been done. Any project he undertakes will be done with care. It may take a little longer, but it will be worth the wait.

The view from my seat suggests that Seneca Hills is a place that area golfers are going to get increasingly excited about.

 
 

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