Golf course renovations in preliminary stage but remain on schedule
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 00:01
Texas A&M began reconstructing its golf course last October with A&M’s 2013 Football schedule in mind. Sterling Golf Management hired Landscapes Unlimited to renovate the course in time for the 2013 football season next September.
The course is undergoing complete reconstruction in hopes that it will be more marketable against other golf courses — such as the Briarcrest and Pecan Lakes courses.
The construction is still in its first phase — the dirt-moving phase — but is moving along as planned despite some minor issues.
“We’re moving dirt and shaping all the features that will be on the golf course,” Brian Vitek, a project manager with Landscapes Unlimited said. “Your time constraints are probably the biggest thing. It has been wet, but other than that, that’s really it.”
This phase is the most susceptible to setbacks because it is the most sensitive to weather conditions like rain, which make it difficult for workers to get the bulldozers on the course.
Once the holes and course routes are shaped in the first construction phase, the second and third phases’ projects will begin: installation of the irrigation system and grass, respectively. Finally, time will be given to allow for a growing period for the grass until the course is playable again.
“What we are trying to do and will do is really incorporate the campus background into the golf course,” Rene Rangel, chief executive officer for the project with Sterling Golf Management said. “This is about capturing the feel of being on Campus and at Texas A&M.”
According to Rangel, the atmosphere of playing in a golf course located right here on campus is key to what will draw in more players. The Recreational Sports department originally considered these renovations necessary, as the course was offering no competition to other local courses.
“Our choice would be to shut it down or renovate it,” Dennis Corrington, executive director of Recreation Sports said. “It wasn’t competing very well on the public market for golf courses because of the old grass and the playing conditions.”
In addition to the new grass and routing that will improve the course for all players, the course will boast a brand new irrigation system. The 18-hole course was previously maintained by 350 sprinkler heads. The new course will have more than 1,200.
“This is a totally new project,” Rangel said. “Usually when coming onto a golf course like that, it would be furnishing over what is there. This will be 100 percent different.”
The new course is the creation of Texas A&M graduate and architect, Jeff Bloom, but will still offer some familiarity to its regular players.
“It’s going to be a lot better golf course,” Corrington said. “It’s going to be a lot more attractive to play on. It’s always been a bit of an attraction for alumni contacts, and now that it’s a first class golf course I think it will bring in quite a bit of business. We’ll be able to compete with the best public golf courses in this area.”