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Finley Face-lift Underway in Chapel Hill

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CHAPEL HILL — Since 1950, thousands of golfers have played at the Finley Course in Chapel Hill. Davis Love introduced Michael Jordan to golf there in the early 80s, but the course is now closed for a year. Change is on the way.

Some of the Finley fairways look as playable as ever, but the normal hush that hovers over a golf course is gone. Carts are being replaced by heavy groundbreaking machinery. This isn't just a little makeover. The Finley Golf Course is undergoing major reconstructive surgery.

"I think the features about it that we all like, the feeling of the environment, the setting, will all stay," says legendary designer Tom Fazio. "The individual holes will change substantially."

Fazio doesn't want to take too much away from the 48-year-old course, but a change was necessary to keep pace with the exploding popularity of golf.

"It takes this golf program and golf course, and puts in on par with what we've done for our other facilities, for the Smith Center, for the Kenan Football Center," explains UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour.

With every scoop of dirt that's moved, fond Finley memories are taken with them.

"It's going to be so great with the new golf course that you'll always have the memories," says UNC golf coach John Inman. "I'd rather have the great new facility."

The new Finley is scheduled to re-open in the late summer or fall of 1999. You may not need directions to get there, but you may not recognize it when you arrive.