Sanford heads to Hawaii


Sean Dudley

Sanford Golf Design has been selected to renovate the Kona Country Club’s Ocean course in Hawaii.

“It’s a very nice golf course designed by William Bell,” said architect John Sanford. “Both nines open out to the ocean. The third and twelfth are both signature holes, par threes, playing right along the ocean, very spectacular settings. It also has some very nice topography but it hasn’t been improved much in the last 40 years so the owner decided to move forward with a full renovation.”

The planned revamp will draw on the island’s volcanic roots. “The course is 100 per cent grass,” Sanford said. “Our concept of the renovation is to take approximately 30 acres out of grass, out of play areas where we can expose lava and plant native bunch grasses to give the course more character and definition.”

Sanford is also hoping that removing some of the grass will reduce maintenance costs and water consumption. “We are always looking for ways to reduce grass areas without sacrificing playability for water consumption purposes,” Sanford said. “That is certainly part of the reasoning there. They have a limited fresh water supply, but by exposing some lava and introducing some native plantings you get better aesthetics, better definition and just a better looking product.”

The planned watering system for the course will depend on water extracted from a nearby sewage treatment plant. The treated water is pumped to a reservoir on the mountain and will be used to irrigate the both courses.

“We are going to use gravity to feed water to the Ocean course,” Sanford said. “Not only are we using recycled water, but we are doing it with gravity pressure and eliminating pumps. It’s a pretty conservative low-cost system when you don’t have to pay for fresh water, you don’t have to pay for a pumping system, or electricity to drive an irrigation system.”

New tees will be added to stretch the course from 6,500 yards to 7,000 from the championship tees. Construction begins 1 April with the course slated to reopen for play in December or January 2111.