Henrico celebrates grand reopening of Belmont Golf Course
Officially opens to the public on Saturday
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Two years after Henrico County faced the dilemma of what to do with the Belmont Golf Course property, it will officially reopen to the public Saturday as a new and improved course.
In December 2019, Henrico County selected “First Tee - Greater Richmond” to operate the more than a century-old course.
In early 2020 First Tee – Greater Richmond set out on a $5 million renovation of Belmont in partnership with Love Golf Design. Formerly known as the Hermitage Country Club, the course hosted the 1945 Richmond invitational, won by Ben Hogan, and the 1949 PGA Championship, won by Sam Snead.
“There’s a lot of history here,” said D’yan Robinson, a First Tee – Greater Richmond member. “The reopening of this course because of First Tee is going get to a lot of attention.”
Robinson was one of the first golfers to officially christen the green after a year of renovations. However, this opportunity of playing a hole on the “Little Bell” course almost did not happen.
“It’s so exciting to be here today to see the results of an excellent public-private partnership, but really delivering for our residents what they’ve asked for,” said Dan Schmitt, Henrico Board of Supervisors Chairman.
In 2019, county leaders asked the community what the future of Belmont should look like. This was due to a decline in use over several years.
Several grassroots groups pushed to keep the property a golf course where some of the sport’s greatest played.
Ultimately, First Tee - Greater Richmond was approved to take over the operations of the course, which meant extensive updates from the tee box to the green.
Improvements to the course include a state-of-the-art 12-hole championship-caliber course (The Belmont), a six-hole short course called “Little Bell”, a 35,000 square foot putting course and premier practice facilities.
“You’ve got the historical elements but then you’ve got the versatility of fun, short course, putting course things that you can learn on and it’s not going to be as intimidating as some of the big full golf course experience,” said Mark Love, President and co-founder of Love Golf Design.
“You’re going to have a type of new customer and I think that’s a good thing,” said Frank Thornton, the Fairfield District Supervisor. “That’s what I really like about it.”
Those new customers being of all ages and skill levels.
“This is the future of golf,” said Davis Love III, former Ryder Cup Captain and 1997 PGA champion. “Not only for these kids, for the community, for beginners.”
“We wanted it to be inclusive, we want it to be welcoming, we want it to be fun and all those things are great for kids,” said Brent Schneider, CEO of First Tee - Greater Richmond.
For Robinson, chipping in for birdie from the bunker was certainly a moment she’ll never forget on this course.
“It was definitely exciting and energetic because I’ve never had that many people watch me play, but it was definitely something I can remember for a long time,” she said.
Belmont will officially open to the public on Saturday, May 29.
For more information on the course, click here.
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