The Sun City, Ariz., golf course closed in November 2014 for “sweeping” renovations, that included recontouring the greens, replanting grass on the tees and greens, and reorganizing the holes. The property will reopen on November 14, showcasing an enlarged driving range and practice area, upgraded pro and snack shops, expanded patio, and an upgraded irrigation system.
Riverview Golf Course in Sun City, Ariz., which closed in November 2014 for sweeping renovations, including recontouring the greens, replanting grass on the tees and greens and reorganizing the holes, will reopen November 14, the Sun City-based Your West Valley News reported.
“We’re extremely happy,” said Director of Golf Brian Duthu. The $5.6 million project, which Duthu said was finished slightly under budget, also involved enlarging the driving range and practice area, upgrading the pro shop and snack shop, expanding the patio and even adding a new range-ball service designed to be more convenient for course workers and players. The irrigation system has been improved as well, News reported.
“It’s phenomenal. I’m extremely excited about what they’ve done—it’s a 100 percent improvement,” said Chris Linam, who manages the pro shops at all Recreation Centers of Sun City (RCSC) courses.
Known for greens that move in a smooth, wavelike fashion, Riverview has seen its signature feature decline since it opened 43 years ago. Golfers routinely complained to the Green Committee that the slopes, moving from back to front, had made playing too unpredictable. Duthu said while the overall slope has been removed, there is still shift in the level within separate sections, News reported.
“If you have a shorter putt, you’ll have a flatter surface,” Duthu said. “If you don’t hit a very good shot in the green, you’ll still have a putt that will have a lot of movement. The greens will still be the focal point of the course. They’ll be more fair than what they were before.”
Representatives of the United States Golf Association have rated the course for men playing from the white tees at 68.2. The ladies rating from the red tees also increased slightly from 70.4 to 70.7. The slope ratings from both tees also increased from 113 to 115 for the men from the white tees and from 115 to 118 for the ladies from the red tees. In addition, RCSC has added a fourth set of tees (colored yellow), which have a course rating of 62.2 for men and 65.9 for ladies, News reported.
Several changes are intended to make it easier for golfers to work on their games. The driving range has been deepened, a move that will allow RCSC to rotate tees around so players won’t have to hit from a divot,” Duthu said. “The grass will have time to recover.”
Signs list distance on each of the greens in the range. So, when a golfer comes out to practice they know if they want to hit a 100-yard shot, they know which flag to aim for. In addition to the chipping and putting area east of Del Webb Boulevard, RCSC has added a second section west of Del Webb for working on the short game, News reported.
The holes have been numbered differently. Players will now find hole No. 1 on the west side of Del Webb and No. 10 on the east side. Duthu said that will help players starting during the early morning hours to avoid having the direct sun in their eyes when they hit the first tee, News reported.
Ball washers along the course have been updated with brand-new ones, and the cart paths in a few areas have been moved farther from the greens. Duthu said the latter was done to avoid having players hit the path with their shots, News reported.
The Bermuda grass base was recently over seeded with rye, or winter grass that will die prior to summer. While that has enabled RCSC to reopen the course without cart-path restrictions, it also will leave the surface playing fast, until the grass thickens substantially. “It’ll have its growing pains,” Duthu said.
RCSC is launching a new service that it eventually hopes to expand to all of its courses: an automatic range ball dispenser, known as a Range Servant, will be available to players just off the patio on the east side of the pro shop and snack shop building. RCSC will test the device at Riverview before eventually installing it at other courses, News reported.
“You buy a range card, buy (golf) balls, and get a discount,” Duthu said. “It takes a little pressure off staff inside, having to turn around and pick up a bucket of balls and having to restock in the middle of the day. It keeps us from having to close the pro shop to get range balls.”
Players will find improvements off the course as well. The counter inside the pro shop has been shifted and LED lighting has replaced the existing bulbs to promote brightness and efficiency, News reported.
“It was always dank and dark; we’ve added all-new LED lighting,” said Duthu.
In addition, RCSC skilled-trades department carpenter Rollie Settles, has remade the front desk and counter at the pro shop. Outside, the expanded patio allows seating for around 75; up from 25. The renovations are the second major project at an RCSC course in as many years. In 2014, the North Course reopened after extensive upgrades. The Recreation Centers plans major improvements at South Course within 2-3 years, News reported.
At Riverview, playing time will be at a premium this weekend. “We’re full throughout most of the day (Saturday). We have a few openings in the afternoon,” Duthu said Thursday, indicating the available tee times were likely to be all taken up by the end of the day Friday.