TRURO - Every time he plays Truro Golf Club, Zack Rafih is full of anticipation as he approaches the club's redesigned 17th hole.
"I've played it two or three times now and I look forward to it," the club member said. "We all do."
That's perhaps the biggest compliment possible and reassurance for Greg Sutherland, the club's director of golf, and his staff the changes they've made to the 400-yard, par-4 over the past year are for the better.
The redesign, which came with a price tag of less than $100,000, was unveiled May 11, about six weeks ahead of schedule. The hole was shut down after last year's provincial amateur championship in mid July.
"Just to make sure we did the construction properly and had some good weather for growing," Sutherland said. "So that really paid off and we were just counting on a good spring to hopefully get it open early, and obviously it's been a great spring."
The hole, a virtual straight shot from tee to green, has been radically changed and moved slightly to the right to add some buffer between its fairway and the No. 2 tee to the left.
"The main reason for the change was a safety issue," Sutherland said. "The No. 2 tee was quite close and in some driving areas for a lot of players so we just moved the hole over a bit."
The hole now follows a natural plateau to the right, which was cleared of its trees to expose a bank running down to a brook. The tees have been pushed to the right as well, while a bunker was added to the fairway on the left. There's also a new bunker surrounding the left side of the shrunken green.
The black tees remain at 400 yards, while the blue tees moved ahead from 392 yards to 388.
"It's a big change," Sutherland said. "It really opened up. Really, it's turned out to be a better hole."
Rafih said he approves of the changes.
"It's a beautifully designed hole," he said. "It's a challenging hole, very challenging. It plays a lot further than it actually is."
So he and his fellow members will be happy to know it's just one of several steps to update the course as per Ian Andrew's master plan laid out three years ago. Sutherland said he hopes Andrew's points will be completed within the next 10 years.
"This was one of the bigger projects and we wanted to get it done as soon as we could," Sutherland said. "We're so glad with how it turned out."