The back halves of putting greens at Shawnee Park golf course’s holes 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 and 9 will be removed starting on Oct. 16, but the turf will live on as patches to damaged greens at Kanawha County’s Big Bend and Cookskin Park golf courses.
The Shawnee golf course, scheduled to be transformed next year into the Shawnee Park Multi-Sports Complex, will remain open for play despite the reduction in putting green surface area “until it is not playable or not economically feasible to keep open,” according to an announcement by Dunbar Mayor Bill Cunningham. A reduced-size playing surface will remain at each affected green, making each hole more challenging but still playable, Cunningham said.
The golf course’s irrigation system, which had been leaking, was recently turned off to allow over-saturated soil to dry out to accommodate construction of the multi-sports complex.
“The greens are currently being watered by hand to preserve them as long as [possible],” Cunningham said in his announcement. The greens will continue to be watered by hand after Oct. 16, but the fairways will no longer be watered, “which means they will begin to deteriorate,” according to the mayor.
Two of the three ponds at 127-acre Shawnee Park will soon be drained to allow soil at the bottoms of the ponds to dry and stabilize.
The Shawnee Park property “has always been a vital part of life in the Kanawha Valley and has gone through several transformations over the years,” Cunningham said. The former farmland that makes up the park once served as the Kanawha County Fairgrounds and as a 4-H complex before becoming a golf course.
“The Kanawha County Commission has been instrumental in making those changes positive over the years,” Cunningham said, encouraging area residents to “join together to make this another positive change.”
The new sports complex is expected to cost about $15 million to develop.
Meanwhile, Cunningham urged fans of the golf course to “get your last rounds in before these changes make the course unplayable.”