Construction of new Wicker Point Golf Club reaches final stages | National News
Wicker Point Golf Club is on course – no pun intended – to be operational this fall.
What started as a dream in 2018 is becoming a reality. Russell Lands announced last week that its new Coore & Crenshaw designed golf course at Lake Martin has reached the final stages of construction. The contractor team returned to work with the arrival of spring, expecting to get the course ready for play in the fall.
Back in April 2021, Russell Lands announced The Heritage project, a 1,500-acre neighborhood on 12 miles of shoreline adjacent to Russell Forest on the Wicker Point Peninsula. The golf course, which began before the opening of the first phase of house construction, is now nearing completion and Russell Lands vice president Roger Holliday said its potential for economic impact is significant.
“We already have people from across the country who have contacted us to learn more about Lake Martin and some of them are interested in buying a property at The Heritage,” said Holliday.
Spring through fall is the best time in Alabama to build a golf course. At the end of October last year, the course construction team had only one fairway, #14, and a few tee shots that required significant grading. Most of the rest of the course, which meanders through rolling forests and along the shore of Lake Martin, was already formed and covered with grass.
The driving range is scheduled to be inaugurated this month. This comparatively small amount of grading will allow the final sections of Zeon Zoysia sod to get on course in March.
Sixteen greens of TifEagle Bermudagrass were sprinkled last summer. The two remaining greens are scheduled to be sprinkled in late spring with the arrival of warmer summer temperatures. At the same time, the practice green is sprigged. These final touches will allow the course to experience the summer growing season in preparation for playable conditions this fall.
Like all Coore & Crenshaw courses, the new course is a beautiful land use that promises to be popular with golf enthusiasts. The course will be the centerpiece of a private golf club, Wicker Point Golf Club, located within The Heritage Community.
The golf club includes a new clubhouse and adjacent pro shop designed by Hank Long of Henry Sprott Long & Associates in Birmingham, a brand new practice facility and a number of golf cottages available to members’ guests.
The overall community of The Heritage will also include Benjamin Lake Club – a lakeside recreation center that will include a clubhouse and fitness center, resort-style pool, community docks, beach, tennis and pickleball complex, event lawns and parks – and a proposed marina adjacent to the property.
For now, home ownership at The Heritage is the catalyst for membership in the Wicker Point course. With the exception of an early bird membership offer for Willow Point members, there are no other membership options at this time, Holliday said.
“We expect some kind of national membership opportunity at some point,” he added.
As with other Coore & Crenshaw courses around the world, significant traffic is expected.
“There’s a lot of people flying in and bringing guests, hosting a big golf group. On top of what they’re giving out, that’s a lot of exposure to a whole lot of people,” Holliday said. “And all because the course carries that Coore & Crenshaw stamp. These guys don’t build golf courses in ordinary places.”
Two-time Masters champion “Gentle Ben” Crenshaw joined professional designer Bill Coore in 1985, who began his career at Pete Dye and Associates. The two share an appreciation for the golden era of golf architecture — golf courses built between 1916 and 1930 and other large excavation devices had not yet been developed, so the more than 5,000 golf courses built in the US in those 15 years, the showed topography and the natural features of the land.