From Hilton Head Island, S.C. and Naples, Fla., to the Bay Area of California and Albuquerque, N.M., clubs are putting a fresh face on their properties to meet the needs of today’s members. Work ranges from a pond renovation to complete overhaul of the course and practice facility.
Tis the season for course renovations as several courses across the country have begun the process of improving their facilities.
A pair of the oldest courses in Naples, Fla. are undergoing renovations, the Naples Daily News reported.
Club Pelican Bay has selected Forse Design for a major facelift of its 27-hole golf course and practice facility, according to the Daily News. Arthur Hills designed the original 18 holes, which opened in 1980, followed by the addition of the third nine in 1989. The courses known today as The Club, The Pelican and The Bay; were last renovated in 1999 and 2000 by Arthur Hills and Associates.
The renovation will include re-grassing all playing surfaces and implementing a comprehensive improvement plan created by Ron Forse and Jim Nagle of Forse Design, the Daily News reported. The turfgrass variety which will be planted on the greens will be TifEagle. Bimini, a hybrid Bermudagrass, will be planted on tees, fairways and other areas of the golf course.
The routing of the golf course will remain as it is, but other design features will change, according to the Daily News report. Some of the green locations will be changed in order to increase total yardage.
Glase Golf Construction will be overseeing the golf course renovation project, which will begin in April, and is scheduled to be completed and ready for play in October/November, the Daily News reported.
Meanwhile, in East Naples, Royal Palm Country Club, which opened in 1976, is headed for a renovation on a similar time frame, according to the Daily News report. John Gittings, president of the Board of Directors of Royal Palm Country Club of Naples, Inc. announced that the club has retained Total Golf Construction, Inc. to handle the construction phase of their golf course renovation.
Royal Palm has been working with Ricky Nix from Ron Garl Golf Designs, Inc., of Lakeland, Fla., on the design phase, along with the engineering firm of Butler Engineering in Naples. Bethel Farms of Arcadia, Fla. will supply the grasses to be used, the Daily News reported. The $3.5 million renovation will include contouring the fairways and rough, rebuilding all greens, tees, and bunkers, and re-grassing the entire golf course, including the driving range, practice putting green and short game facility.
After visiting various Florida golf courses that have had recent renovations, John McGourty and Glenn Price, co-chairs of the Green Committee along with Mike Sankey, golf course superintendent, have selected Bimini grass to be used for all tees, fairways, and rough and TifEagle grass for the greens, according to the Daily News.
The construction process is scheduled to be completed, weather permitting, by the start of the golfing season in late 2019, the Daily News reported. Royal Palm is planning an opening date for play by the beginning of December.
In Hilton Head Island, S.C., Sea Pines Country Club has selected golf course architect Phil Smith to create a masterplan for its Arnold Palmer-designed Club Course.
A roadmap for the future, it entails an in-depth analysis of the club’s practice facility, tees, fairways, bunkers, greens, cart paths, irrigation and more. Upon completion of the masterplan, enhancements will begin on the practice facility, followed by restoration of Sea Pines’ only member-exclusive 18-hole course.
“Phil Smith is one of the top names in golf course design, and we are thrilled to work with him on the masterplan for our Club Course,” said Robbie Ames, General Manager / COO of Sea Pines Country Club. “Sea Pines is committed to maintaining a top-rated golf course and facility for our members.”
Originally designed by Arnold Palmer in 1973 and renovated by Clyde Johnston in 2001, the Club Course is known for its narrow, tree-lined fairways, doglegs and small greens reminiscent of neighboring Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort.
In 2016 the members of Sea Pines Country Club approved the Vision 2020 Facility Enhancement Plan. Completed during the summer of 2017, the clubhouse was transformed to present a modern and contemporary pub and grille, bringing the tidal marsh views into every angle. The indoor and outdoor pool complexes were also fully modernized. Multi-million-dollar renovation and expansion plan for the fitness center is scheduled to be finished early summer 2019.
C+RB showcased Sea Pines Country Club in its May 2018 cover feature.
Also in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Long Cove Club has selected Bobby Weed Golf Design for continued planning and advisory services. Bobby Weed restored the course, originally designed by Pete Dye in 1981, last year.
“Long Cove wishes to protect its heritage and preserve its status as an authentic Pete Dye design, never more relevant than now, with Alice Dye’s recent passing,” said Bobby Weed. “With its original featuring, innovative land plan and colorful history, it is perhaps one of the most significant courses in the timeline of golf course design.”
This project is especially meaningful, as Long Cove was Weed’s first assignment with Pete Dye and the genesis of Bobby Weed Golf Design.
Constructed right after TPC Sawgrass, the golf course at Long Cove Club represents a “time-machine” look into Dye’s work during one of the most productive and brilliant periods of his career. The legendary Long Cove construction crew, directed by Weed, included several future golf course designers, including Weed himself, Tom Doak, PB Dye, Ron Farris and Scott Pool.
“Many of Pete’s courses have been tinkered with, often by the man himself,” Weed said. “That is not the case at Long Cove, which is largely untouched.
On the West Coast, Todd Eckenrode of Origins Golf Design will be breaking ground shortly on a major golf course renovation at Diablo (Calif.) Country Club, located in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco, at the foot of the historic Mt. Diablo.
In 1915, a 23-year-old Jack Neville designed a golf course for the first time, creating nine holes at Diablo. Neville’s second design was the original Pebble Beach Golf Links. In 1920, designer William Watson created the second nine at Diablo, before his next assignment—designing the Olympic Club and Harding Park both in San Francisco.
Diablo’s renovation project is comprehensive of every feature, including a new irrigation system, re-construction of all greens and green surrounds, resurfacing to an improved bentgrass surface and conversion of all other grasses to a drought-tolerant bermudagrass plus outer native grasses. Overall maintained turf acreage will be reduced by more than 35 acres. All bunkers will be reconstructed, with many restored to the original design, and all tees will be renovated to a more natural shape and contour.
To achieve this renovation, an experienced team has been compiled, including general golf contractor Landscapes Unlimited, irrigation contractor Foremost Construction, Pinnacle Design providing the landscape design and a creative team of independent shapers including Matt Flint, Brett Hochstein and Joe Hancock. The Origins’ team of Todd Eckenrode and Andy Frank will oversee the architectural work.
Isleta Golf Club, a 27-hole complex in Albuquerque, N.M., has retained Pro Turf International to complete a pond renovation.
“The No. 6 lake was giving us problems,” said Isleta General Manager Ramon Valdez. “It had been a large bunker, about 50 yards long, but the maintenance costs of keeping it up were too high. So we turned it into a lake, but it just didn’t fit properly and we were having trouble with the lining. So we decided to redo the lake from scratch.”
Pro Turf was hired to provide a more natural appearance for the water feature.
“To get the water level correct the club had to raise the lower end up, which created a worse look,” said Jeremie Smith of Pro Turf, who oversaw the project. “One of our jobs on that hole was to figure out a way to blend in the lower end to create a more natural look while keeping the water at the correct level.”
The first step was to reshape the pond, giving it a more natural look befitting of the rest of the golf course. Next they lined the pond with 60-mil high quality, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane, which is UV stable.
The final stage was to install landscape rock around perimeter of lake. Smith’s crew used Geo Grid to help hold the rock in place along the perimeter.
The Pro Turf crew also renovated a pond on the third hole of the Mesa nine, utilizing the same methods to reach a similar goal.