Newport renovation to save cash

Sean Dudley

Architect Tim Liddy is about to start a major overhaul of the Cardinal course at the municipal Newport News Golf Club in Virginia.

Liddy's US$4 million project, which will take a year to complete, aims to cut the cost of maintaining the course by reducing the amount of green grass, slashing water use and embracing a 'brown is beautiful' philosophy.

Native grasses, pine trees and sandy scrub will replace the maintained rough alongside the Cardinal course's fairways, with pine straw being used to suppress unwanted growth and ensure golfers can still find their balls. Around half of the course's bunkers are slated for removal, while those that remain will have a low-maintenance natural edge, rather than the highly manicured look they presently sport.

Many of the course's cart paths are also down for elimination. Around 8,000 pine trees will be planted in out-of-play areas, while trees covering some thirty acres of the 200 acre property will be cleared. To enhance playability, Liddy said, he intends to widen fairways and add more contour to them.

Course managers expect the renovation to save around US$50,000 per year in maintenance costs, without a reduction in greenkeeping personnel.