Rec centers in both Sun Cities continue summer golf upgrades

A sand bunker transitioning to rough is pictured July 12 on the second hole at Stardust Golf Couse in Sun City West. The entire course will be remodeled to better fit players. [Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia]

By Richard Smith
Independent Newsmedia

Both Sun Cities recreation centers are in the midst of summer renovations to golf courses and clubhouses with the goal of completion during the busy fall and winter seasons.The Recreation Centers of Sun City are working on irrigation renovation at Willowcreek Golf Course and replacement of the South Golf Course clubhouse.

“The South clubhouse renovation had been in discussion for many years. Several years ago the long range planning committee placed the project on the list of upcoming projects. The current building is original and is in need of an update,” RCSC Communications and Marketing Coordinator Joelyn Higgins stated in an email.

A remodel approved by the Recreation Centers of Sun City West is underway at the Pebblebrook Golf Course pro shop.

And in the only extensive changes to a Sun Cities course, many of the sand bunkers at Stardust Golf course are being removed, reduced or reshaped. The plan for this $211,150 project is to eliminate 16 of the 49 bunkers at Stardust and reduce or reshape 21 other bunkers.

Most will be converted to grass bunkers, and the two new bunkers will be grass.

“I’ve been talking about doing something for about a year now,” said Todd Patty, RCSCW Environmental Services Manager.

Mr. Patty said the hope is the bunker removals and replacements are finished by the end of August. The old sand was almost completely removed by mid-July and drainage began this week.

He said the new sand will be installed starting Thursday.Frequent players at Stardust, most notably the Stardust Ladies Golf Club, said the number and placement of the bunkers were making the course overly difficult.

“It’s got a couple deep sand bunkers in front of the green. It makes it kind of difficult for members,” Mr. Patty said.

Ms. Higgins stated that per the RCSC agreement with the Arizona Department of Water Resources, to receive relief for Viewpoint Lake, Willowcreek course irrigation updates were required. This project was postponed one year but is now back on schedule.

“In addition to the irrigation upgrades, we are taking the opportunity to be as proactive as possible in anticipation of future water restrictions by converting less played areas to desert landscaping and low water use plants (known in the industry as turf reduction). We are also taking the opportunity to redo the Willowcreek greens. As greens age, more inputs are required to maintain health, with renovations being recommended around the 30-year mark,” she stated.

Ms. Higgins stated that the golf course architect worked closely with the green committees at each course to receive resident feedback on the South and Willowcreek projects. The only other course improvements currently on the RCSC wish list, she stated, are maintenance building replacements, due to age.

Willow is scheduled to be completed and the course(s) — including Willowbrook Golf Course — to re-open upon completion of overseed this fall. Opening day is Nov. 10.

“The South project has had some delays and will likely go into early 2019. However, operations will continue in a temporary office trailer which has been situated on the property,” she stated.The Pebblebrook Pro Shop shares half a building with RCSCW Golf Operations — and the Golf operations offices are being renovated.

Work will expand the golf operations offices by downsizing oversized women’s restrooms, communications room, and current multi-use conference room. This will incorporate the new floor plans multi-office configuration, stated RCSCW Capital Project Superintendent Karl Wilhelm in an email.

“The new floor plan provides an efficient use of the space, that came from a year’s discussion from the properties committee’s yearly walk through of all facilities. The committee clearly saw the outdated day-to-day operations current space utilization and approved plans and budget to remodel. The remodel includes … the addition of secondary garage door for efficiency in cart storage and maintenance, a new entrance to garage for janitorial staff, six functional offices, a conference room, galley, and a secure lobby,” he stated.

Mr. Wilhelm stated the project should wrap by the last week of September, and has no impact on play, due to an IT conversion scheduled during the yearly course closure.

A Sun City resident drives through the Willowbrook/Willowcreek Golf Course, 10600 N. Boswell Blvd., during renovations July 13. [Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia]

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