Old White gets new name
Old White, which was closed for renovations shortly after last year's inaugural PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic, became part of the Tournament Players Club network effective April 1 as part of a licensing agreement for the property and is now referred to as Old White TPC.
The course, which was designed in 1914 by C.B. Macdonald and is the oldest on the Tour, joins a select fraternity of 30 other golf clubs around the country with the special designation.
As part of the TPC relationship, 30-year golf industry veteran Burton Baine was hired as an on-property adviser to Greenbrier owner Jim Justice regarding day-to-day golf operations.
"I think it probably grew out of Mr. Justice's good experience of having the Tour event,'' said Baine. "He knew intuitively that bringing the Tour here would be a good move for the Greenbrier and gain national prominence and recognition above what it already had.''
The TPC designation will allow The Greenbrier resort to bring to bear all of the PGA Tour's resources to its courses. In addition to Old White TPC, the resort has the Meadows and Greenbrier courses and the Snead, which is a private-membership course.
"I think that was a natural discussion to bring the Tour's expertise here alongside The Greenbrier and just make an already-great golf operation just a little bit better,'' said Baine. "It's more of an organizational change and kind of a new resource for The Greenbrier.
"We have a full-time agronomy team in Ponte Vedra [Fla.]. They not only support our tournaments and come in advance of the tournaments and make sure the playing conditions from all areas from the rough to the bunkers to the greens and fairways meet the tournament standards, but they support our facilities year-round with advice, the latest in technology and experimentation.''
The Greenbrier will play host to the TPC Interclub in August.
"We bring all of our 31 clubs together once a year,'' Baine said. "We're very pleased in our very first year as a member we're going to be the host facility for that.
"That's not something that will happen every year, but it'll be great exposure. Our 31 clubs have over 6,000 members who would be able to come to the Greenbrier and be exposed to this resort.''
Guests might also bump into their favorite PGA Tour player on the resort's grounds.
"Some of our Tour players may come here and bring their families periodically,'' Baine said. "Our Tour players are all members of our TPCs so one of the purposes of the TPC organization is to provide our Tour players with a private club experience at all of our facilities.
"Any of the Tour players who decide to take a week's vacation, they would be able to come to The Greenbrier and experience all the wonderful things we have. They get sort of the same experience they get week to week on the Tour.''
Baine said last year's Greenbrier Classic received rave reviews from the Tour players.
"We were selected as the No. 1 tournament on Tour in terms of the hospitality component,'' Baine said. "We were in the No. 2 position as best event outside of the majors, and that's voted on and selected by the players and a few other select groups that travel.
"We'll never be satisfied until we're No. 1 in both categories. Everything we do, we want to lead the pack.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.