Tuesday, April 19, 2016

War Memorial golf course to close for improvements

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 1:55 PM

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
One of the most popular golf courses in Arkansas is closing – but only for three months, before it reopens with significant course improvements.

The public War Memorial Park Golf Course, which annually plays host to the Fourth of July Classic, considered one of the major state amateur tournaments of the year, will close to all play on May 9, according to course professional Bobby Baker. Over the next three months, some of the greens on the course will be reshaped, and new Champion Bermudagrass will be seeded on all the greens, much like what has been done in recent years at three other Little Rock public courses: Rebsamen Park, Hindman Park and The First Tee.

The premium Champion strain’s ability to thrive in heat and humidity of the South should allow it to take hold quickly in the middle of the Arkansas summer. Tentative reopening of the course is planned for early August.

But by being closed through July, the popular Fourth of July Classic will not be held in its usual spot. Instead, according to Baker, the course will stage the three-day stroke play tournament around Labor Day weekend in 2016, returning it to the usual Independence Day weekend in 2017.

The installation of Champion Bermuda on the par-64 course should put to rest the fears of many Little Rock area golfers (or the hopes of non-golfers) in recent years that War Memorial’s 18 holes might be reduced or closed entirely by the city and turned over to parkland.

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