Beau Pre golf course truly impresses

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 11, 1999

New Beau Pre Country Club’s new golf course truly has an identity all its own. I learned that for sure last week when Ricky Maier, now Beau Pre Golf Course Superintendent who looked out for members’ interest during construction of their new course, showed me around the entire complex.

Cast in a meandering Second Creek-Ogden Branch setting, I was honestly taken with the one-of-a-king golf course look. Its exclusive character, if you will.

Also, its Highway 61 South home only adds to the overall beauty, and Beau Pre is probably very little further out than was old Belwood CC. And worry about a flooding Mississippi River? That’s out, of course.

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I’m trying, but I guess you could say that it’s nigh onto impossible to adequetly describe what Beau Pre members now have for their Country Club-golfing home. It’s that different from anything I ever saw (not that I’ve been around that much, but I have seen The Bluffs at St. Francisville, La.).

Mark Powell, veteran, well-versed Beau Pre PGA Club Professional, and his CC team, have been hard at work at their new home a few weeks now. Including, of course, Golf Course Superintendent Maier.

Ricky, incidentally, boasts quite a native golf course management transcript, which serves him and his current 14-man crew well. He talks the language, like discussing Beau Pre’s 20 acres of native grass and wildflower.

&uot;All greens are ‘walk-mowed,’&uot; he likes to explain. &uot;Best way,&uot; he says. And sprinkler heads? &uot;Nearly 600,&uot; he reels off, explaining that with four sets of tees on every hole, sprinkler heads galore are to be expected.

The four individual sets of tees are described thusly: Men’s Course Rating; Black tees, 73.3, Blue 70.9, White 68.5, Gold 64.5. Men’s Slope Rating; Black 130, Blue 122, White 114, Gold 107… Women’s Course Rating; White tees, 73.6, Gold 69.1. Women’s Slope Rating, 124 and 116. Sounds professional? It is.

Hole and fairway No. 15 is dubbed &uot;The million dollar view,&uot; and it’s no wonder, because Second Creek runs parallel to the fairway, and imposing background bluffs frame it all. Imposing indeed!

A flowing Second Creek is heard from No. 18 tees, and back at 17, a huge Second Creek natural bunker guards the green. And the way I understand it, the new Beau Pre Clubhouse will be constructed near No. 18 green. The present nice Clubhouse – Pro Shop will then serve as just the Pro Shop.

My guide Ricky Maier graduated from Mississippi State before earning a Masters in Ornamental (Horticulture) Turfgrass Science from LSU. He was formerly Assistant Course Supt. at CC of Louisiana in Baton Rouge and Southern Terrace of Shreveport CC.

His degrees have served him well. I give you Beau Pre as a great example: A challenging but manageable Beau Pre CC golf course is now in place for Natchez area members and guests, in large part because Ricky possessed the education, experience and ingenuity to work with a team of professionals and just plain hard workers to make it happen.

Set it in concrete, say it in spades – Beau Pre has that exclusive character always sought. Even this now-and-then golfer can recognize that.

Billy Shaw, what a fine person – a gentleman and an athlete, and one of the most deserving people I’ve ever known to make the National Football League Hall of Fame. I had wanted to say this earlier about the popular Natchez native who grew up in Vicksburg and made his mark with the Buffalo Bills. Vidalia was home once, too.