The $10 million renovation to the home of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf course is on schedule for its end of the year completion – in time for the 2020 PGA tournament held January 1st – 5th. Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw and his design partner Bill Coore are working feverishly to get all the major planting and contouring done by the end of June to allow for the course to grow back and be ready for PGA quality golf. PGA Tour officials toured the renovations at the end of May and were impressed with what is happening.
The course closed on February 11th to allow work that is scheduled to last until the end of November. New greens, new tee boxes, new fairway grass and new bunkers are all among the major work being done. As of the end of May, 6 greens have been redone with TifEagle Bermuda grass and 10 greens have been reshaped. A new professional tee box has been added to hole Number 10 (a short par 4) and the tee box on #15 is being rebuilt.
So far 63 acres of Celebration Bermuda grass has been planted on the fairways with another 43 acres to go. As I toured the course, sprinklers were on the newly planted grass and most of the course was just beginning to go from dirt to new green grass. Although the designers felt the previous grass was fine, the trends in the industry and what the PGA Tour wanted was the Celebration type grass. The loss of revenue from a course that has more than 50,000 rounds a year adds to the $10 million renovation cost for this huge undertaking.
Part of the grass replacement reasoning was that as the course matured over time, the ability of the ball to roll and roll declined. That made it harder for the resort players as the course got longer. For the best PGA players who went there in January, the course actually got easier. It is believed that this renovation will once again allow the balls to scamper a long way down the fairways.
If you happen to be one of the many visitors to Maui over the next few months, drive by the Plantation and see this renovation coming into shape. Better yet, have breakfast at the Plantation restaurant which is always great food with an awesome view out over the ocean towards Molokai island.