The $2 million renovation to this Naples, Fla. course will result in complete reconstruction of all greens and a number of player-friendly improvements to tees, bunkers and surrounds.
Renovations have begun on the greens and tees of Pelican Marsh Golf Club’s championship golf course in North Naples, Fla. The $2 million project, which is being undertaken without an assessment to members, will result in complete reconstruction of all greens and a number of player-friendly improvements to tees, bunkers and surrounds. The golf course architect firm, von Hagge, Smelek and Baril, original course designer, has designed the renovations, which will adhere to United States Golf Association (USGA) specifications. Ryangolf, a certified golf course builder, is responsible for physical construction. Completion is scheduled for October 2012.
During renovations that will close the course to play, Pelican Marsh members will have member status at several nearby clubs, including reciprocal access to more than 70 local clubs from May to November. The Pelican Marsh clubhouse will remain open throughout the summer.
According to Tom Casey, Golf Course Capital Improvement Chairman at Pelican Marsh, the renovations are extensive, but necessary in order to remain competitive with area clubs.
John Foy, Director of USGA Green Section, Florida Region, points out that greens and tees renovations are a familiar site in South Florida. “South Florida courses can expect to undergo renovations every 10 – 15 years,” he explained. “Florida is prone to many varieties of “off-type” Bermuda grasses—an invasive growth that can overtake greens and tees. When the level of infestation reaches 30 – 40 percent of the overall green or tee area, it becomes nearly impossible to adjust management of the course to provide for consistent play. It becomes time for restoration.”
Pelican Marsh has reached that threshold of invasive grasses. “Our greens are currently infested with at least 30 percent of 419 Bermuda when they should be 100 percent Tifeagle hybrid ultra Dwarf,” said Casey. “We have surpassed the recommended life span of healthy greens complexes.”
While greens restoration is a complex process involving off-site mixing of soil to attain the correct mixture of sand and clay, the overall effect is that greens are restored to their original size and configuration. This allows the course to recapture lost perimeter pin area, thus providing for more challenging pin locations. At Pelican Marsh, the project will recapture more than one acre of greens.
Tee renovations also recapture lost playing area and offer the opportunity for a greater variety of tee positions. This is also the time clubs will decide to undertake additional, more aesthetic-type renovations. According to Casey, in addition to replacing tee grass, work at Pelican Marsh includes added (and enlarged) tee boxes that will double the current usable tee ground. “We’ll also add some new, free-form designed tees,” he added. “Perhaps more importantly, all the tees will be laser leveled to provide for an even playing surface.”
While not every course undergoing such renovations chooses to rework the surrounds, Pelican Marsh has chosen to do so. They will reconstruct all greenside bunkers to USGA standards; sod 22-acres adjacent to the new greens; expanded collar cuts; and upgrade cart paths and moundings alongside every green.