Orchid Island upgrades golf practice facilities ahead of USGA tourney

The 132 players who will compete in the 2018 United States Golf Association Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club will be treated to a newly upgraded practice facility.

The renovation, which is expected to begin next month, includes expansion of both the existing chipping area and practice green, addition of a new green-side bunker – with a greater variety of elevation and slopes – and construction of a new pitching area with a target green.

Orchid Island General Manager Rob Tench said the project, recommended by the club’s golf committee and approved by its board of governors, should be complete by the end of July.

The driving range is not included in the plan and the golf course will remain open throughout the renovations.

“This is the only such project before the tournament, and we’re not doing it because the USGA told us we need to,” Tench said. “This is something the club decided it needed to do, anyway.

“We’ve had this in the planning stages for a while,” he added. “We started talking about making these improvements about a year ago because golf is very important to a large percentage of our members and, as you’ve seen at other clubs, practice facilities are becoming more and more important.

“That we’re able to do it this summer – a year before the tournament and while most of our members are away – makes the timing perfect.”

The 2018 tournament, scheduled for Oct. 6-11, will be the second USGA major championship played in the Vero Beach area. The 2015 Mid-Amateur Championship was held at John’s Island West.

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