The golf course has been shut down for play since February for a rerouting of all 18 holes, and will open in November, when the new bentgrass greens have grown in. The water-conscientious redesign incorporates over 30 acres of native grasses, and is expected to reduce consumption by over 66 million gallons per year.
Santa Ana (Calif.) Country Club, the oldest golf club in Orange County and one of the few remaining golf-only country clubs in Southern California, has been shut down for play since February for rerouting of the entire 18 holes, a major project that was completed last week, the Santa Ana-based Orange County Register reported.
The club’s redesigned golf course is among the first water-conscientious retro-throwback golf courses in the world, with a primary feature of conserving water, the Register reported.
“We had major deferred maintenance items and a golf course that had a 1970s look and feel to it,” said Mike Pettit, Santa Ana Country Club chairman of the Golf Course Revitalization Project. “We wanted to recapture our roots as the first golf club in Orange County.
“The (new) golf course is designed to reflect the golden age of golf architecture, like in the 1920s, when many of our best golf courses were constructed in America. So the course will have an old-school look and feel, with all the modern amenities, like a world-class irrigation system and state of the art Pure Distinction bentgrass greens.”
Water was also the focal point in 1923, when the club moved to its current location. Pettit said the course will be ready for play in November, once the new grass has completely grown in, the Register reported.
“We think our golf course will represent the gold standard in terms of conservation,” Pettit said. “We will have over 30 acres of turf that will be native grasses and not require irrigation after they are established.
“Overall, we will reduce our water consumption by over 66 million gallons per year by virtue of the native grass areas, more efficient irrigation system, and elimination of some lakes and trees. We believe that was the responsible thing to do in the middle of a drought. The need to reduce water usage drove the need for a new design.”
The artificial landscaping on the golf course has been scrapped, such as mounds, elevated greens, concrete cart paths, fake rocks and water-hogging man-made lakes that needed to be filled up once a year. The new course has been designed by Los Gatos-based architect Jay Blasi, who said several non-native trees and railroad ties next to the bunkers were also removed. Blasi said the revitalization will “let the land be the star,” the Register reported.
Satisfying the request of the club’s “revitalization” committee to design a ’20s-style golf course, Blasi has created a compact, walkable layout in which the next tee box is merely a few short steps from the last green. A prominent wash that was taken out of play has been reincorporated into the landscape, and turf has been removed to craft natural areas and greater scope, the Register reported.
Since 1965, the club has attempted to become annexed by Santa Ana, Costa Mesa or Newport Beach, but it is still in an unincorporated part of Orange County. In recent years, the club has tried to become annexed by Newport Beach, but with no success as it remains under Costa Mesa’s sphere of influence, the Register reported.