The $4 million taxpayer-funded makeover for the shorter of two courses at the city’s municipal golf club will reduce the amount of green grass and watering costs for a more natural look, which will save the city roughly $50,000 per year in equipment and maintenance without cutting personnel.
The Newport News (Va.) Golf Club is looking to significantly reduce the amount of green grass on its 18-hole Cardinal Course to make it more environmentally friendly, the Hampton Roads Daily Press reported.
Indiana-based golf course architect Timothy Liddy is remodeling the course, which will be unique to Hampton Roads. Liddy’s contract with Newport News is $405,000 to design the $4 million taxpayer-funded makeover at the municipal golf club, the Daily Press reported.
“Brown is not a bad color,” said Liddy, noting that the city will drastically reduce watering on the course. “We call it the Augusta (National) effect. In America, we want everything to be plush and flowery, because that’s what we’re used to seeing on television.”
Aside from being less than ideal from an environmental standpoint, Liddy said, the Augusta effect is expensive to maintain. Liddy is aiming for a natural look for the course, which he said would in some ways resemble links-style golf courses in the United Kingdom, the Daily Press reported.
“There is nothing more artificial looking than that,” Liddy said, pointing to a sand trap on the No. 10 hole halfway down the fairway. Liddy has remodeled more than 40 golf courses, including Princess Anne Country Club in Virginia Beach. He worked with Pete Dye on remodeling the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., in 2005.
For Cardinal, the city looks to reduce operating costs and attract more players to turn around the finances of the city’s golf courses. For the last few years, the city has lost money on its courses, operating at about $100,000 in the red. The Deer Run Championship Course is also due for renovations in about five years, but will likely receive tweaks instead of an overhaul, the Daily Press reported.
Switching to “green” maintenance methods at Cardinal will save the city roughly $50,000 per year in equipment and maintenance costs without cutting personnel, Liddy and city officials said.
Michael Nealer, Newport News parks administrator, said that while cutting positions would result in more substantial savings for the city, there are no plans to eliminate staff. Work on the course will begin in late fall and take about a year to complete, the Daily Press reported.
Course changes include eliminating the rough grass along the edges of the fairways and replacing it with native plants and grasses, pine trees and sandy soil. Fairways will also be widened to take the place of some of the current rough. Thirty of the course’s 200 acres will be cleared of trees and 8,000 pine trees will be strategically planted out of the way of golf shots. Liddy added that he wants golfers to spend more time playing and less time looking for balls in the woods, the Daily Press reported.