FARMINGTON, New Mexico – Most people, when considering the chore of lawn and garden maintenance for their home, are probably a little worried about the scale of the project.
Now imagine this same job encompassing some 7,200 meters of lawn and garden maintenance.
The Piñon Hills Golf Course is currently in the planning stages for what should be a 90-day process of digging bunkers as well as replacing outdated irrigation systems.
The planned start date is shortly after the start of the new year.
This will be the first real renovation project of its kind for the course in several years, according to PGA Tour pro and course general manager Chris Jones.
“If all of the material arrives when scheduled, we will close the golf course,” Jones said. “In the event of a delay in materials, we will not close the golf course until they arrive.”
In a statement posted on the course website last month, the goal of some of the work being done is to “restore the desert and native areas to a natural unwatered state,” which means replacing and repairing the systems. existing watering systems.
“This will give us a state-of-the-art system in which we can control each of the 1,500 sprinkler heads from any remote device,” Jones said. “It will save us a lot of water and a lot of money at the same time. “
Piñon Hills will work with a variety of different companies to assist with the renovation process, including Mid-America Golf & Landscape, operated from Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
It is expected that more than 30 contractors and workers from this company will provide the renovation materials and will be responsible for supervising the work of the course which will begin in January.
“Once that starts and we close the course completely, it’s about a three-month process,” Jones said. “There may be some ancillary work still in progress for the finishing touches, but the bulk of the work takes around 90 days. “
Considering the weather, this places the scheduled reopening of the course between late March and early April.
“The guys who work the course, they do it for a living and work in any weather,” Jones said. “If we come across heavy snow it can slow us down a bit, but for the most part we expect them to work throughout the period. “
In addition to the irrigation works, the excavation of the bunkers is another important part of the renovation process.
For this, Piñon Hills uses the services of the Better Billy Bunker method, based in Hermitage, Tennessee.
Among their patrons are respected courses like the Indian Hills Country Club, located in Bowling Green, Ky. They also received the approval of the superintendents of Augusta National, home of the Masters.
“They go in and take out all the old liner and sand and they make sure the drainage works before making any changes to the polymer around the bunkers,” Jones said. “You will never see a weed growing through it. “
Ranked among the best courses by Golf week (No. 4 on the list of courses you can play in New Mexico), Piñon Hills has been recognized by many as one of the best public golf courses in the United States. It’s also extremely affordable, with weekday rates under $ 50, even for non-residents.
Since opening in 1989, Piñon Hills has mostly retained its original design, but a recent wave of activity has sparked a need for change.
The popularity of golf in general has been great over the past year, mainly because it has given participants the chance to be outdoors when many indoor businesses were closed or limited in capacity.
“Since we reopened (summer 2020), we haven’t seen numbers like this in a long time,” Jones said. “These are the best numbers for over 15 years.”
With the emergence of disc golf and footgolf and the possibility of practicing these sports on the courses in the region, interest in the courses has grown enormously.
“People with access to these courses have seen numbers come off the charts,” Jones said. “The pandemic has been terrible in many ways, but golf has been an unexpected beneficiary of the sport’s exit and rediscovery. “
The growing popularity of the sport and the course, as well as the need for a change were reasons enough to go ahead with this project.
According to Jones, more than 90 percent of the current irrigation systems on the course are from the original design and construction, making them unreliable in recent years and time consuming for maintenance workers on the course. journey.
“This is a project that we feel has to be done for many years now,” Jones said. “The irrigation system alone is going to make a huge difference.”
When finished, Jones is hopeful that golfers returning to Piñon Hills won’t notice a lot of changes, as they shouldn’t have an impact in terms of the length of the course.
“We could move a tee box here or there a few yards to the left or to the right,” Jones said. “But we’re not looking to change the course itself. The original design still stands on its own.
Steve Bortstein can be reached by email at [email protected], via Twitter @DTSBortstein or by phone at (505) 635-2680.