Parkes Golf Club in New South Wales, Australia, has reopened its course following a redesign by James Wilcher, a former design associate for Greg Norman.
The project was initiated because of safety concerns relating to a new bypass road being built alongside the western boundary of the course. The club worked with Transport for NSW to come up with a solution, which would turn out to be a redesign of the course.
This would include 10 new greens, nine new tees, reshaping fairways, some tree removal and a new irrigation system. Wilcher, contractor Golf Spectrum and subcontractor Creative Golf Management, completed the work in six months.
“The site is a mixture of rock and good red clay,” said Nathan Bradbery, owner of Golf Spectrum. “Topsoil was limited in areas and was filled with a lot of quartz as there is a rich history of gold mining in the area. After 23 years in the game, most of these projects are now second nature. The government client was good to work for, but there were some challenges as they are so used to building roads.”
Greens now feature Tee-2-Green’s Penn A1/A4 creeping bentgrass, fairways are Kikuyu and tees are bermuda.
“The 50/50 blend of Penn A1/A4 will produce a very tight surface due to the very upright growth habit and the high-shoot density of these two species,” said Phil Moylan, owner of Creative Golf Management, who oversaw grow-in. “Members will experience a smoother and faster surface than the club’s old greens at the same height of cut. Also, the new greens are now about two times larger in size at an average size of 450 square metres, offering many more pin positions.
“The maintenance program will need to be more intense due to the very aggressive nature of the Penn A1/A4 blend. A lower average cut, of 2.8 millimetres, can be achieved on a regular basis, with normal daily mowing during the growing season. Regular sand dusting will need to be incorporated into the maintenance program to help thatch control along with fortnightly light grooming.”
The quartz presented a challenge for Golf Spectrum. “It proved to be a pain with a lot of extra hand raking needed to get a good finish,” said Bradbery. “In addition, we had to reuse existing irrigation heads and parts to keep the club’s budget costs down, which has an adverse impact on grow-in and added time to the job.
“I was extremely satisfied with what Golf Spectrum put down on the ground, we never leave any stone unturned and always push for top quality work.”