The renovation at the Texas A&M University Golf Course will see a complete redesign of 18 holes and a new irrigation system. Encinitas (Calif.) Ranch Golf Course is seeking a $1 million loan to renovate its well-worn greens.
Sterling Golf Management has taken over control of the Texas A&M University Golf Course and plans to close the course for renovations as its first order of business, The Eagle of Bryan-College Station, Texas reported.
The course closed September 17 and is expected to reopen in September 2013, after $5 million worth of renovations take place. Dennis Corrington, Executive Director of the Texas A&M Department of Recreational Sports, said the project will include redesigning the course’s 18 holes, adding three holes for educational and research purposes, and replacing the irrigation system that was originally installed in 1973, The Eagle reported.
Crews are spraying the course this week to kill the grass, so a different type can be planted. Then, they’ll move dirt and arrange the mounds before installing the new irrigation system, The Eagle reported.
“Now is not a time for continuing to spend student money on a course that can’t support itself,” Corrington said about the outsourcing decision. “In the long run it’s a cost-saving decision for the university. Plus we get a brand new golf course, which is badly needed.”
Texas A&M agronomy researchers have created several types of turfgrass used on modern golf courses to allow for “live play on a research project,” The Eagle reported.
“It will also give beginner golfers a chance to play a few holes without interfering with regular flow [of the] golf course,” Corrington said.
In other course renovation news, the Encinitas Ranch Golf Authority is seeking a loan of nearly $1 million to renovate the greens at Encinitas (Calif.) Ranch Golf Course, the Escondido (Calif.) North County Times reported.
The City Council will consider the request to seek bond money on September 19 as part of a larger bond-refinancing proposal. In 2004, the course authority borrowed nearly $11.2 million, and about $8.3 million has not yet been paid off, city Finance Manager Jay Lembach said.
The new financing proposal for the 18-hole, public golf course looks to refinance the old debt, add $943,860 to it, and extend the debt payback time by four years. The new bond maturity date would be 2030 instead of 2026, the Times reported.
The authority owes about $850,000 a year on its existing debt, and that annual debt payment is forecast to drop by $25,000 if the entire financing proposal is approved. If the authority refinances its existing debt but does not borrow funds for the renovation work, annual debt payments will be about $730,000, the Times reported.
The golf course makes payments into a community facilities district fund when times are good. Those payments, which are described by course officials as “voluntary,” reduce the property tax assessments that nearby homeowners pay. Last year, the course reported having its worst year since it opened in 1998 and suspended its fund payments, meaning the average Encinitas Ranch homeowner faced a $200 tax bill increase, the Times reported.
Lembach said that refinancing would reduce the course’s expenses, but does not solve long-term issues, adding that the course needs renovation work, the Times reported.
“There are parts of the course where the soil is so compacted they can’t get any grass to grow on it,” Lembach said.
Renovation funds would go toward soil and sod repair, renovating the decaying sand bunkers, driving range improvements and general landscaping work, the Times reported.