After a change of plans for the thinned-out greens of the Granada Golf Course, the grass will be greener on the other side of the new year.
Coral Gables has pushed back the replacement of the greens, ravaged by parasites and bad weather this past winter, until next year, with work to begin at the start of the growing season. The city staff expects to develop a master plan for the entire course by that time, with renovations likely to be completed in April or May 2015.
Interim City Manager Carmen Olazabal, then assistant manager, told the Miami Herald in March that the greens were to be replaced this year, with temporary holes being set up and greens fees cut in half during the work.
In an email Tuesday, Coral Gables economic sustainability director Cynthia Birdsill said the city was preparing a solicitation for the work in March when its consultant, engineering design firm AECOM, suggested the work should start at the beginning of the growing season in April — which left too little time to get the solicitation out.
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“Given the timing of the request for proposals, we were not going to be able to start in April, as the bidding process would take us into the summer,” she said. “Therefore, the consultant suggested that we have a short-term plan to make the greens better this summer, and then address a more complete renovation next year.”
She said waiting keeps the course open during the busy summer months and allows time to develop a master plan to renovate the entire course.
“In the longer term, the city is working with its consultants to develop a detailed master plan that will include complete renovation of the greens and the soil base below the greens, renovations of the tee boxes, fairways, sand traps and cart path extensions, as well as new rain shelters,” she said.
In the meantime, the city is using an aggressive program to stimulate growth in the greens, including a regimen of weekly liquid fertilizer and a process to promote oxygen flow to the roots called core aerification every six weeks. The city is working with AECOM, which is being paid $8,500 for its work.
The third hole is in particularly bad shape, so a temporary green has been set up in front of it. Greens fees have not changed.
Conditions for diseases like fungi were ripe for Granada’s 16-year-old greens last winter, and parasites called nematodes posed a problem last summer. Standard practice in the industry is to replace golf greens every 10 to 12 years.