Say this much for new golf course boss Paul O’Dell. He doesn’t waste much time.
This week marked two months since he took over as the new director of golf for the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club and to say changes have come quickly might be understating the issue.
“One thing I’ll tell anyone who will listen is that grass will never die underneath my feet,” O’Dell said when he sat down for a Monday morning chat to give his “state of the union” address on the golf course. “I knew the minute I took over here what kind of challenges were ahead for me and how much work needed to be done, so I’ve had to move quickly.”
Alluding to grass not dying under his feet could not have been more fitting as one of O’Dell’s biggest and most immediate challenges has been to get the green back into most of the fairways on the course and the area surrounding the greens.
Anyone who drove down south on Curtiss Parkway last month probably noticed the ground where the driving range resided dug up.
“We’re going to go get some paspalum and get the driving range revamped,” O’Dell said the week he took over.
His first order of business was to go to the council at their first meeting after he took over and ask for some immediate financial help in order to get things going. The council handed him a check for $164,000 and O’Dell was on the phone the next day making arrangements to spend the money.
“I have a new cart fleet coming in (75 new carts), new paspalum down on the range along with seven different tees around the course and 419 Bermuda (the most recent strain of Bermuda grass) set to go in around the greens,” said O’Dell.
“My immediate goal between now and the end of September (when the council ultimately determines how much money will be allocated towards the golf course in its annual budget workshop) is to at least get this facility back to respectability because right now it’s not.”
Other things coming in will be more sand for the bunkers, a new computer system and pesticides to treat the ailing areas.
O’Dell pointed to another embarrassing shortcoming at the course.
“We’ve been averaging 10 to 11 carts being brought in during weekend rounds because they died out on the course,” said O’Dell. “Can you imagine what those golfers are probably telling their friends after they leave? That they couldn’t even finish a round of golf without having to get a new cart? Just can’t happen and thus the reason for ordering the new fleet of carts.”
Perhaps the biggest change that golfers are going to notice, starting next Monday, June 24 will be that they’re only going to be able to play 17 holes.
The long dogleg-left par-5 15th hole on the west side of the course is scheduled to be completely shut down for at least the next 60 days.
“No way,” O’Dell said when asked if there were any other options. “There was way too much damage to that hole and it’s going to take at least that much time to be treated without anyone going near it. The entire hole is in terrible shape and the problem starts with underneath the ground.”