Mesa (Ariz.) Country Club is embarking on a significant renovation of its historic golf course as part of the club’s plans to commemorate its 75th anniversary; PGA WEST announced both the Pete Dye Mountain Course and Pete Dye Dunes Course will close for the summer for an extensive greens restoration project; and Leonard (N.D.) Country Club is making plans to add three extra holes with the vision of eventually making the facility an 18-hole layout.
Mesa (Ariz.) Country Club; PGA WEST Pete Dye Mountain and Dunes courses in LaQuinta, Calif.; and Leonard (N.D.) Country Club are all in the midst of construction projects.
Mesa Country Club is embarking on a significant renovation of its historic golf course as part of the club’s plans to commemorate its 75th anniversary. According to the club, the project is its largest and most encompassing investment since the William F. “Billy” Bell-designed course opened in 1948. Bell is most famous for his design of the North and South courses at California’s Torrey Pines.
“All the greens will be rebuilt to USGA standards, greenside bunkers will be renovated to improve playability and, importantly, a new irrigation system will ensure significant water reduction usage,” said President of the Board Neil Baier. “We are also upgrading our clubhouse facilities. In the next few years, Mesa Country Club will be one of the region’s top membership choices.”
Scottsdale-based Staples Golf Design has been hired to manage the project.
“The big news item here is the water conservation work in relation to the irrigation system upgrade, the lake reduction plan, and the low water use areas in out of play areas,” said Andy Staples, President of Staples Golf. “This will address the water issues and the upcoming state mandates.”
Work on the project starts this summer.
Mesa Country Club is one of the few parkland courses in the Valley that features mature and towering eucalyptus and pine trees lining fairways and integrated throughout the routing of holes.
PGA WEST announced the next phase of its sweeping, multi-year renovation will take place this summer. Both the Pete Dye Mountain Course and Pete Dye Dunes Course will close for the summer for an extensive greens restoration project. Work is expected to be completed by fall 2023.
“When it comes to its incredible location against the Santa Rosa Mountains, these two Pete Dye Courses offer our members and guests a fantastic golf experience and breathtaking scenery,” said PGA WEST Executive Director Ben Dobbs. “We are fully invested in restoring the courses and bringing the imagination and vision of PGA WEST’s famous architects back to life.”
Tim Liddy, ASGCA Fellow, is overseeing the restoration of the Pete Dye-designed Mountain and Dunes Courses, in addition to the Pete Dye Stadium Course, which underwent Phase 1 improvements last Fall. Phase 2 of the Stadium restoration project will commence in Spring of 2024.
The Mountain and Dunes Courses renovation project entails removing the turf on the existing greens and area surrounding them. Liddy and his team will reshape and expand the greens back to their original size and character. The greens irrigation systems will also undergo upgrades to improve efficiency and maximize water conservation.
“I am excited to be joined by Scott Poole, Michael O’Connor and Ron Farris—three golf course ‘shapers’ who will be building and contouring the trademark Pete Dye mounds, hillocks, rolls and depressions,” said Liddy. “Combined we have over 65 years working directly with Mr. Dye on courses that have held approximately 11 major championships, two Ryder Cups, two Solheim Cups, and countless PGA tournaments.”
In 1993, Liddy founded Tim Liddy + Associates, Inc., a firm providing golf course design services for select clients. Liddy has earned numerous awards and accolades and is a Fellow of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Liddy has nearly three decades of experience working with Pete Dye, completing several of the legendary architect’s golf course projects on his own after Dye passed away in 2020.
The Mountain and Dunes Courses restoration project will utilize a state-of-the-art Robotic “Total Station” technology that will automatically guide the machine grading the greens from Liddy’s CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings, restoring the original topography with precision.
“This system will greatly accelerate construction allowing our talented shapers to refine the final details and tie-ins to ensure the surrounding areas blend seamlessly into the stunning natural landscape that defines PGA WEST,” said Liddy. “I predict this will be the way of the future for all golf architects, and I can’t wait to creatively apply this in the field.”
PGA WEST recently made extensive renovations to the Arnold Palmer Private Course, Greg Norman Course and Nicklaus Tournament Course.
PGA WEST is in the process of upgrading all nine of its courses, representing some of the top golf course architects in the world including Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Weiskopf.
Leonard (N.D.) Country Club is making plans to add three extra holes with the vision of eventually making the facility an 18-hole layout, Inforum reported. The proposed addition of three holes will be located in the northwest corner of the current course.
Leonard has long been known as one of the first courses to open in the spring, taking advantage of the prominent sandhill soil condition in the area that tends to drain faster, Inforum reported. Now it hopes to be known eventually as a full-fledged 18-hole course with owner/operator Mike Pulczinski acquiring land to add three holes.
He is currently getting bids for construction work that includes an irrigation system, Inforum reported.
“Everything is getting wrapped up with the design stage,” Pulczinski said. “Now it’s just the money side.”
Pulczinski has an eye on adding additional real estate that will make room for six more holes, Inforum reported.
“That’s the hope, we’re trying to negotiate it,” he said. “If we can ever acquire the additional land it will flow right into that.”
The three additional holes are similar to the concept of Osgood Golf Course in southwest Fargo, Inforum reported. But there’s more to the Leonard plans with Pulczinski getting bids on lighting the three holes.
“I played some night golf in California and it’s an awesome experience,” he said. “If everything comes together with the numbers, we’re hoping to light that thing up and have something really unique out here.”
The architect, Gill Design out of River Falls, Wis., is the same firm that did the renovations at Edgewood, Rose Creek and El Zagal golf courses in Fargo, Inforum reported. The company has done more than 250 course projects in 26 states.
The extra holes, which will be located at the northwest corner of the course, are ideal for members who want to play if the course is booked for an event or a teaching area, especially for junior golfers, Inforum reported.
The course was formed in 1960 by a group of farmers in the area who turned a sheep pasture into three golf holes, Inforum reported. It eventually expanded into the nine-hole layout it is today with a clubhouse being built in 1980. That structure has since been remodeled with the addition of a banquet room.
Pulczinski and his wife Angie bought the property in 2006, Inforum reported.
“I had low expectations coming in, we just tried to start small,” Mike Pulczinski said. “But if I were to look back on everything, I wouldn’t change much. The biggest challenge is always weather. It’s like farming and you have to manage your funds well to make it through the long winters like this.”
Most of its clientele comes from the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area, Inforum reported. It’s a family business with Pulczinski’s son Cody and daughter Alaina potentially having aspirations of taking it over.
“We’ve been consulting with them to see what they like,” Mike Pulczinski said. “Some day when we decide to move on they’ll have a nice little track here and everything will be set up for the future.”
The family has added ponds and tee boxes since taking over Leonard, Inforum reported. Now it’s taking that attitude to the next level.
“I always try to push the boundaries and keep it exciting for the players that come out here,” Pulczinski said. “When members and golfers come out here every year and see that you’re putting money back into the facility, they enjoy seeing that and it’s something different.”