Staples to work on solution for water-deprived California golf course

Staples to work on solution for water-deprived California golf course
Adam Lawrence
By Adam Lawrence

Scottsdale-based golf architect Andy Staples is set to begin work on a plan to reconfigure a popular municipal course in San Luis Obispo Country, California, to deal with the consequences of the ongoing drought in the state.

The Dairy Creek course, originally designed by John Harbottle in 1995, is facing up to the loss of 60 per cent of its reclaimed irrigation water. The 90-acre property is set to receive only 35 acres of water because of drought conditions and a shortage of reclaimed water.

“This project should further spotlight just how serious the drought is in California,” said  Staples. “Our intention however is to turn this negative into a positive by looking for innovative approaches in continuing to provide a quality golf product, but with a much smaller overall footprint.”

Dairy Creek  is set inside El Chorro Regional Park, and is adjacent to other community uses such as a botanical garden, ball fields, dog park, playground, and campgrounds. The planning process will revolve around ideas to reinvent and evolve the golf course into one that will attract beginner golfers, serious golfers looking to play in less time, as well as non-golfers. The integration of the golf course into a comprehensive community plan is also being discussed.

“As an avid user of the park myself, I know firsthand what this place means to our community; we all have a vested interest in making sure this plan turns out to be a success,” said Nick Franco director of darks and recreation for San Luis Obispo County. “I’d love to see how Dairy Creek can evolve to create a new experience for our current golfers while also attracting non-golfers within our community.”

The masterplanning process began in December of 2016, and a proposed plan is estimated to be finalised in time for a Board of Supervisors presentation in June of 2017. Staples has already begun talking to the community through workshops and town hall meetings in order to gather feedback from residents on what they ultimately want to see included into the plan.

Staples is relying on his recent experience working with municipal facilities across the country, including integration of his Community Links vision, to look for ways Dairy Creek can work to continue to attract golfers, but also look for ways to expand its reach into the non-golfing community. Creating a plan that reaches 100 per cent of the community is critical to its success.

“We have an outstanding team, and I’m looking forward to coming up with a plan that really pushes the envelope,” says Staples. “We’re looking to address the current issues, but we’re also looking towards Dairy Creek’s sustainable future. We’re really in unchartered waters, but we’re excited for all the possibilities.”