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Tuesday April 29, 2014UF Golf Course to Undergo First Renovation Project in 13 Years

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- When the University of Florida’s golf course underwent a $4 million facelift in 2001, part of the overhaul included encircling wires beneath the outer edges of all the greens so that when they ultimately receded a metal detector could locate their precise dimensions.

Someone was thinking ahead.

Thirteen years later, the greens at Mark Bostick Golf Course will be at the forefront of a summer renovation project that will make the putting surfaces on par with some of the best in the country, much to the delight of players and coaches on the UF golf teams, not to mention club members.

“That’s the nature of golf courses -- greens, especially -- in that they get a lot of use and only last so long,” Gators women’s golf coach Emily Glaser said. “It’s time for us here and we’re really excited about it.”

On Tuesday, the University Athletic Association’s Finance Committee approved  the estimated $575,000 upgrade with a start date set for May 19 and completion projected for early September.

Among the improvements in the project:

* Re-grassing the 22 greens (18 holes, the putting green and three team practice greens).
* Re-sanding of all bunkers.
* Elimination of some bunkers.  
* Removal or trimming of trees to alleviate some shade issues on the greens.

During renovation, the driving range, pro shop and snack bar will be open, with course memberships put on hold and extended upon the reopening. In addition, UF Director of Golf Scott Hampton is working with regional courses and clubs in an attempt to secure temporary memberships while improvements are ongoing.

“In the short-term, yes, there will be some inconvenience,” Hampton said. “In the longterm, it’s going to be worth it.”

In order for the new Ultradwarf turf to be applied, Hampton explained, the greens must be shaved down 3-4 inches to remove layers of organic buildup that have stressed the greens and prevented growth the last few years. The new turf will be rolled onto the green and need 45 days to acclimate.

Ultradwarf, according to the USGA, is the standard for putting greens in the state of Florida.

“When it’s done, it’ll look and feel like a carpet and will be a much better putting surface,” Hampton said. “It’s a little higher maintenance, but that’s OK. The roll is going to be so much better.”

For the Sun Trust Gator Invitationals, workers had to mow the greens as low as possible five straight days, which puts enhanced stress on the grass to grow back.

The new Ultradwarf is designed to be mowed low.

And re-mowed again and again.

“We’re here for the teams and we want to put out a product where they can practice and be as competitive as they can be,” Hampton said. “For our current players and from a recruiting standpoint, this will be a very beneficial project.”

The estimated life of a golf course is anywhere from 12 to 15 years. The Gators are right in that timeframe now.

Glaser ballparks the UF golf teams spend more than 80 percent of their time working at the Bostick practice facility, be it on the range, putting greens or working on situation shots on the course. The team’s private practice greens were kept in relatively decent shape during the season, but the players certainly noticed a substantial difference when dispatched to tournaments around the country.

“We go to California every year to start our spring knowing those greens are going to be like tabletops,” Glaser said. “Every week, we’re playing on great greens and now we’ll be able to practice and play on them every day here. We’re really looking forward to that.”

 

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