BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 18, 2003 – Virginia Tech Foundation announces a major renovation and improvement project to take place at the River Course of Virginia Tech golf facility, located between Blacksburg and Radford in Pulaski County, Va., during the next 18 months. The work will provide the Virginia Tech community, along with the golfing community in Southwest Virginia, the opportunity to benefit from one of the finest golf courses in the nation and will afford the area with a significant golfing destination for travelers.
Renowned golf architect Pete Dye has been commissioned to renovate the course. In addition to this renovation, a turf care center/maintenance building that will house a teaching facility/locker room for the Virginia Tech golf team will be constructed adjacent to the new golf team practice area.
This action is made possible by support from Bill and Alice Goodwin of Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Goodwin, a Virginia Tech alumnus, is an avid golfer and wants to provide the Virginia Tech golf team and the university community an opportunity to play on a world caliber championship course. The gift will cover all costs of the design and construction of the new course arrangement.
"We are indebted to the Goodwins for their generosity to Virginia Tech, indeed to all of Western Virginia, for this significant gift. Our community benefits too, because a Pete Dye golf course becomes a destination attraction and will likely be an economic shot in the arm for the New River Valley," said Virginia Tech President Charles Steger.
The renovation project will begin on Jan. 5, 2004, with the closing of the back nine of the course. The entire course will be available for play on April 15, 2004, while construction will continue on the project, but will not interfere with normal play. On Oct. 4, 2004, the entire golf course will close to allow for completion of the renovation, but on May 1, 2005, the River Course at Virginia Tech will reopen as a Pete Dye Signature Course.
An official groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2004 at 2 p.m. at The River Course of Virginia Tech. Dye, Steger and other local officials will be on hand for the event.
Pete Dye is noted as one of the finest golf course architects in the world. The Indiana native has worked with the Goodwins in the past, most notably on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, host of the 1994 Ryder Cup. He has also designed The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, Calif.; Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis, Ind.; Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.; Harbour Town Golf Links and The Colleton River Dye Course in Hilton Head, S.C. and the Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Dye is known for enhancing the existing landscape and working within the natural beauty of the areas. He will use all of the natural attributes of the current course, including the New River, with its adjoining rock formations and natural trees and vegetation.
"This is a very exciting opportunity for Virginia Tech, our golf program, the membership and the golfing community," said Jay Hardwick, director of golf at Virginia Tech and head coach of the golf team. "We are indeed fortunate that Mr. Dye, one of the most renowned and respected golf course architects in the world, will renovate and redesign The River Course of Virginia Tech.
"We have hosted the NCAA Regional at the Homestead's famed Cascades Course and will host this year's national championship at the same site. We will now have a golf course of the caliber required to host such events, right here in the Blacksburg area."
Upon completion, the project will allow for play for all members of the New River Valley community, as the course will be open for daily play at reasonable rates. Club members, daily play golfers, visitors, faculty, staff and students of Virginia Tech and all others will be afforded access to one of the finest golf courses in the area, if not the nation. The renovated course, which will enhance the natural beauty of the area and the adjacent New River, will allow for future economic growth for the area. The course is expected to become a destination for golfers looking to play on the finest courses and a site for future tournaments and championship events.
"This is a win for everyone...golfers from throughout the region will have the opportunity to play a golf course designed and built by one of the world's most renowned, award-winninggolf course architects," said David Lowe, chairman of the management committee of The River Course at Virginia Tech. "The total community will realize a significant economic benefit frommajor golf events as well asincreased travel toour regionas the reputation of Pete Dye's River Course of Virginia Techspreads acrossgolfing circles."
Many of the greens and all of the fairways and feature work, will be sodded, as opposed to seeded. The greens will feature new L-93 bentgrass that will provide championship quality putting surfaces.
One of the most immediate and pronounced advantages to the renovation will be for the Virginia Tech golf team. Already a program of national prominence, the new facilities included in the project will bring the total program to a level with the elite programs in the country.
"This gift will make possible the indoor golf team teaching facility/team room that, coupled with our new state-of-the-art range and short game area, will give us one of the finest practice facilities of any school in the country," Hardwick said. "This will not only be a great benefit to our program, but also a tremendous asset in recruiting. With our entrance into the ACC next year these improvements could not have come at a more opportune time."