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Renovated course to offer unique golfing experience, research

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 00:11

Golf course

Roger Zhang

Bulldozers prepare the land at the Texas A&M course after Sterling Golf's successful management bid

The renovated Texas A&M Golf Course will soon join the ranks of premiere university golf courses and provide its visitors with a world-class golfing experience.

Renovation of the Texas A&M golf course is underway and will be finished in fall 2013. Landscapes Unlimited is the firm overseeing the renovation.

“You can classify it as a renovation,” Kurt Huseman, branch manager at Landscapes Unlimited said. “But in essence it will be a brand new golf course.”

The new course will offer a unique golfing experience in the heart of Aggieland.

“There [are] a lot of places people travel to play golf,” said Rene Rangel, principal of the renovation project for Sterling Golf. “They travel to the beaches, play golf courses on the coast and even play on golf courses in the mountains. We have a unique view because it’s on the setting of a world-class university. It’s a very different experience and we feel that’s going to elevate us when people get to experience that.”

The renovated layout of the golf course will be one that many courses can’t match, due in part to the location of the course.

“The setting takes it up a notch,” Rangel said. “There’s not too many places that you can step off the golf course, put your clubs in your trunk and basically walk to Kyle Field.”

Jeff Blume, Class of 1958, designed the course for the enjoyment of golfers of all levels and utilized the natural lay of the land to add to the design’s ability and create diverse holes.

“The piece of land itself is an excellent piece of land for golf,” Huseman said. “It’s a very gently rolling site which will then provide a lot of opportunities for the design team to create great golf holes.”

Although some students who pass by the construction of the golf course may be concerned about the trees and shrubbery being cut down, this process is only part of the procedure to create the new course.

“I don’t want people to think that they’re cutting down a bunch of trees,” Huseman said. “The routing is much different so there’s really no hole that is going to look similar. It’s just the process of getting the property ready for shaping the golf course.”

The layout will feature an 18-hole course, bigger driving range, a practice green and three extra holes for teaching and research purposes.

The three extra holes will allow students in the golf kinesiology class to play a few holes of golf, rather than just hit on the driving range and on the practice greens.

“That adds another element to their education of actually learning how to play golf without having to go on the golf course and pay the green fee and learn on an 18-hole facility,” Huseman said. “We can exclude them to that so they can have their own ‘learning to play golf area’ which is unique.”

The three extra holes also provide research opportunities to turfgrass physiology and management professors and students.

The turfgrass physiology and management research on the turfgrass field labs, led by Richard White, can be translated from the lab to the golf course to get a better understanding of how the grass can withstand the playing conditions.

“You can change out grass on the greens,” White said. “And then ask, ‘Do people like it? How does it play?’”

Researchers also test how different turfgrasses can hold up against varying conditions.

“We push grass to the limits [in the field lab],” White said. “We do what it takes to keep it alive, but sometimes we kill grass. We see how little water you can put on it to make it look good and play good.”

The research done at A&M will be able to help the university and other golf courses around the country, White said.

 

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