Now Open for Play!
3's Greenville Golf & Grill is a new concept poised to take the Upstate and the golfing world by storm. A completely renovated par 3 golf course is now open for play on the greens formerly known as CrossWinds Par 3, providing 12 unique and challenging holes designed by some of the world's leading golf course architects. And coming in 2021, a brand new clubhouse will be built from the ground-up - offering delicious food, wine and cocktails served with authentic Southern hospitality in a casual, laid-back atmosphere unlike anything else in town. You're invited to check out our new course design and grasses as well as delicious food served from our outdoor smoker.
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Regular & Tournament Scorecard
||Tom Clark / Brian Ault
Hilton Head, SC
Flower Mound, TX
||Robert Muir Graves
Walnut Creek, CA
||Pete & Alice Dye
Delray Beach, FL
Many of the world's leading golf architects have contributed to the renowned design of the 3's golf course. Each hole has a unique characteristic that reflects its signature arhitect and contributes to a fun and challenging experience for all ages and skill levels.
Taking a mulligan - Crosswinds Golf Course gets a new owner and a major do-over
Read the original article as published in Upstate Business Journal..
"Isn't it beautiful?"
Davis Sezna is standing on a small elevation overlooking the carefully manicured swales and swells of the Crosswinds Golf Course. He points to a distant spot: "See those railroad ties? What does that say to you?" he asks, waiting patiently for the answer. "Pete Dye," he prompts. "That's his signature."
Dye, Hall of Fame golf course architect of some of the best-known and most-challenging courses in the world (TPC Sawgrass, Harbour Town, and Blackwolf Run, to name a few), designed the ninth hole at this unassuming par-3 course, tucked away at 611 Villa Road, behind the Greenville Downtown Airport.
And that's not the only surprise about Crosswinds, nor is it the only surprise in store for Greenville if Sezna, golf-hospitality impresario and the course's new owner, executes his vision.
Crosswinds is one of a kind among U.S. courses, according to Golf Digest. Each hole was designed by a different architect, many among the most renowned in the world, including Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Robert Cupp, and Jay Haas. The elevations are also surprising: A distinct improvement over the usual flat and — yes — boring layouts most golfers expect from par-3 courses.
But Sezna, who has designed by his count "more than 50 concepts" in his career, sees so much more. He's working with Greenville architects DP3 to turn the concept to a reality.
When the club opens in spring 2019, the most obvious change will be the clubhouse. The old white-and-green clapboard building is set to be demolished (pending permitting approval), and replaced with a new stone-and-glass 4,500-square-foot facility that will include a 100-seat restaurant and bar, a 450-square-foot open patio, and a rooftop bar and seating area (observation deck), with a small hitting area where happy hour guests can vie for a closest-to-the-pin challenge for $5 for two attempts.
Where the current clubhouse has two vending machines, the new restaurant aspires to be "as good as anything in Greenville." Sezna describes the concept as "sophisticated" and "comfortable favorites." He is keeping the name of the chef for this new endeavor under wraps, but promises he's "one of the top five in the South." The restaurant, with a variety of seating areas inside and out, is intended to be a destination in its own right — not just an after-round grab-and-go. Three stone fireplaces will, he promises, create a welcoming setting all year round.
A 'very unique' experience
Crosswinds will have activities appealing to families, kids, couples, seniors, good golfers, and duffers. Sezna hopes to turn the full-spectrum golf experience into a template transportable to other cities.
Forget the traditional pro shop. You'll check in at the bar where an assistant pro will get you started or get you breakfast. A putting course will be built as an homage to The Himalayas, the family-friendly feature of Scotland's revered St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf.
"It's the most entertaining course," he says. "It's moguls, humps, and bumps. And it's so much fun. Kids and families, couples, students, all come out and play on it. It is less intimidating and people just love being a part of it."
Don't worry, purists, there will still be a traditional — but smaller — putting green.
Sezna is reaching out to the original hole architects, asking if they want to be part of the course update by making some design tweaks to their holes.
A scratch golfer, who picked up his first club at age 3 and went on to play college golf at Georgia and win state amateurs in Delaware, Sezna wants the experience to be, above all, fun.
And what's more fun than winning money? Sezna is setting up cameras on each tee and green. Not so the bar patrons can make fun of you, but so every hole-in-one can be documented. Every tee-shot, he explains, is insured. Make an ace on the shortest hole, you'll win $1,000; on the longest, $5,000.
The entire course will be Wi-Fi connected so your music can follow you throughout the round.
The democratization of golf
Sezna appears to be riding the wave of a new trend in golf, one that throws out old paradigms, stretches rules and norms, and embraces a more-relaxed experience. Faster, less stodgy, less intimidating and more fun.
It's the same trend that has made Topgolf one of the premier golf-entertainment facilities in the country. Greenville golfers are currently awaiting the opening of the local Topgolf facility, which is under construction at the intersection of Interstate 85 and Pelham Road.
Embracing trends that fly in the face of a sport so steeped in ancient traditions may seem a contradiction. Sezna, after all, is a member of a dozen of the most prestigious golf clubs in the country as well as the Royal and Ancient, Europe's equivalent to the USGA. But he sees a relaxation of those traditions as critical to the growth — maybe even the survival — of the game.
"Wherever we go, I love those environments but I'm also in the hospitality business," Sezna explains. "The first thing you learn is, you have to take the intimidation aspect out of things. Valet parking is intimidating. Wine lists are intimidating, and taking a friend out to play golf is intimidating."
Taking the intimidation out of golf is critical to growing the game. Sezna calls Topgolf "one of the best things that has happened to us in the game. It's attracting nongolfers to have a good time. It's totally good for the game."
Crosswinds is "a transitional amenity"; the next step for those who found they had a blast at Topgolf and "are curious to take it to the next level."
"This," says Sezna, expansively opening his arms, "is the obvious level before you go to a conventional golf course."
One trend dividing more-traditional golfers is players loudly broadcasting their own tunes from their carts on the course. Sezna is incorporating the music trend fully into his golf experience.
"I like it in this environment," he says. "I wouldn't go swimming in my tuxedo or to a black tie dinner in my swimsuit. Life is about variety. This is a variety of golf."
Eventually, he hopes, Crosswinds players will find themselves ready for more-serious golf. But until you get there, he asks, "why not have a little fun?"
The start of something big
Sezna's vision doesn't come cheap. He's anticipating investing more than $2 million in the renovation. He won't say how it's funded except that there are private partners involved.
The project will have an economic impact on the area as Sezna plans to hire 65 new employees in both the golf and hospitality areas.
He expects to have 25,000 rounds played in the first year — a number he considers "under projecting." And he plans to work with both the Boys & Girls Clubs and The First Tee Upstate.
What he is really excited about is being part of "one of the most dynamic and progressive cities in the country."
Others, he notes, are also interested in developing a similar concept in other cities. Not as a franchise, he says, but "more of a privately owned partnership group."
Although it's a gorgeous day, there's just one player on the course. Playing alone, he pushes his golf cart across the green right in front of us. A big no-no. But a nonplussed Sezna says: "I am sort of charmed by that." He turns and calls out to the player: "Nice shot!"
And it is, indeed, beautiful.