John Colligan, ASGCA, and his associate, Trey Kemp, spearheaded a team of building architects, irrigation designers, engineers, agronomist and environmentalist to make a presentation. During the interview, Colligan told the committee, “We want to make Ditto the go-to golf course in the State of Texas and beyond.” Now that construction has been completed, the results are impressive. The once tired, outdated 36-year-old Arlington course has been transformed into a completely new golf facility, thanks to golf course contractor Landscapes Unlimited led by superintendent Tommy Bisanz. The grow-in and daily maintenance of the course is in the care of golf course superintendent Brick Scott.
Kemp has rerouted the course in such a way that even those most familiar with the old tract would not recognize it. Kemp took advantage of every square foot of the 164-acre site as well as the 80 feet of elevation and the many vistas the site has to offer. Per the request of the city staff, Kemp was able to find and additional 300 yards to stretch the length from the back tees to over 7,000 yards. On the other hand, the new Ditto plays 550 yards shorter from the forward tees to make it more enjoyable for the high handicap players. In addition, the fairways and greens have also been shaped to make the game more fun for all levels of players directing shots toward the middle as opposed to the old rejecter fairways and greens.
There is a fresh variety in hole lengths. Par 3s range from the 135-yard sixth to the 195-yard 15th. The par 4s vary their yardage from the 16th at 335 yards to the 12th at 475 yards. The par-5 13th is 510 yards compared to the 600-yard ninth hole.
A new bunker style has also been introduced to revitalize the course. The sculpted style harkens back to the 1990s, and includes elements of Alister Mackenzie, Perry Maxwell and George Thomas. CGD also introduced buffalograss along the top edges of every bunker on the course. The buffalograss will add to the beauty having a unique texture and color and will also help reduce the amount of handwork around the bunker edges. In conjunction, various ornamental and native grasses have been incorporated to introduce more texture, color and contrast into a growing and ever-changing canvas.
Another new and dramatic addition to Ditto are a series of ponds adjacent to the ninth green, 18th green and 10th tee. These ponds feed two rock and boulder-lined streams which cascade downhill and come together to form one major stream which crosses the ninth fairway into the new 3 1/2-acre irrigation lake. The lake is situated below the clubhouse site between Nos. 4 and 5.
The project also included revamped practice facilities, including practice putting greens totaling 30,000 square feet. One is located at the back of the practice range, one is near the short game area and practice range tee, and the third is adjacent to the first tee which is tied in with the hole’s back tee. There is a practice hole that forms a buffer between a street and the practice range. This will soon have a four-bay practice building for lessons and for use by the University of Texas-Arlington men’s and women’s golf teams.
The practice range tee is 500 feet and 200 feet, giving golfers nearly 2.3 acres of hitting space. The back tee will provide an additional half-acre of tee space. The interior of the range offers six double-sided targets with sand bunkers to offer a more realistic practice environment.
A new 1,400-head irrigation system was installed utilizing all the latest technological advancements. Water for the course is reclaimed provided by a nearby treatment plant.
Construction of a new maintenance facility and a 20,000-square foot clubhouse will soon commence. The course is tentatively scheduled for a soft opening in late summer 2018.