A Recap of the Poppy Hills Grand Opening
March 20, 2014
For the first time since March 11, 2013, Poppy Hills was filled with golfers — and it felt good to have everyone back. It was a beautiful scene, one that had been missing at Poppy Hills for the last 13 months as the golf course and every other part of the facility underwent an extensive renovation. More than 100 invited guests arrived at Poppy Hills for a 10 a.m. press conference, where media was introduced to the new course by architects Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Bruce Charlton, and general manager Brad Shupe. For a full transcript of the press conference, click here.
At the end of the press conference, the Champions Tour announced an agreement with Poppy Hills to co-host The First Tee Open with Pebble Beach in September. Poppy Hills will co-host the event through at least through 2016. (Read the full story here.)
“There are three things that come to mind about adding Poppy Hills,” said Champions Tour spokesman Dan Walker. “The relationship between the First Tee and Youth on Course is a nice tie. It’s great to have both courses for the event in the forest now. But the main thing is we came out to Poppy Hills during the First Tee Open while construction was going on to see the course. We were super excited about what we saw that week, and now to come here and see it finished is spectacular.”
After the press conference broke, it was on to the first tee for the ceremonial first shot. The NCGA held a 18-day long social media contest to select a player to represent the membership. The four players to hit the first tee shot were:
- Robert Trent Jones Jr. – Artitect for both editions of Poppy Hills who also hit the first shot 28 years ago
- Brian Morse – President of the NCGA, the largest regional golf association in the country
- Derrell Biddy – President of Poppy Holding Company, which oversees golf operations
- Patrick Moran – An 11-handicap golfer representing the 150,000 members of the NCGA
They were also joined by caddies from the NCGA’s Youth on Course Program:
After the first shot, there was a special hawk flyover to the arm of Shupe:
Then it was off to play Jones’ brand new golf course!