Just as the Mountain West golf season moves into full swing, Alpine Country Club has finished numerous golf course enhancement and renovation projects.
Bunker renovations and modernizations, new cart paths, and an enlarged and improved existing practice range and putting green are among the projects at Alpine, which is located in Highland, Utah, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City. John Fought Design oversaw the project and Duininck Golf was the contractor responsible for construction. The William Neff Sr.-designed course opened in 1959, one year after the club was chartered and organized.
Modernization of the course’s bunkers included rebuilding bunkers using the Better Billy Bunker method, which provides a technically advanced drainage and liner system while providing optimal playing conditions much deeper into the life of the bunker. Fought oversaw the repositioning of select bunkers, eliminated trees in problem areas, and added new tee boxes on holes 5, 7, 9, 12 and 14.
“The bunker renovation has really improved the look and design,” superintendent Jake Ebner said. “Having the Billy Bunker liners will give our members more consistent bunkers and greatly extend the life of the white sand. We have very rocky soils at Alpine and have dealt with a lot of rock and soil contamination in the past. The new liners will also double the life expectancy of the bunkers.”
Alpine’s practice range tee area and practice putting green were expanded to accommodate the club’s growing membership, while allowing for the use of drivers/woods from a new matted hitting area. The practice range tee area was expanded to 22,000 square feet — an increase of 37 percent — leveled and re-sodded. A new TurfHound artificial tee surface was also added to the back of the practice tee. The new 8,000 square-foot practice putting green is 78 percent larger than the previous green.
New and improved brushed concrete cart paths were also added throughout the facility and strategically re-routed to better accommodate golfers.
Alpine Country Club is managed by Troon Privé, the private club operating division of Troon.
One of the more popular and widely used broadleaf herbicides on the market is turning 50.
Manufactured and marketed by PBI-Gordon since 1969, Trimec has been a leading herbicide choice for homeowners and turfgrass professionals since PBI-Gordon became the licensee to combine active ingredients 2,4-D, MCPP, and Dicamba. That combination gave the company the exclusive patent rights to the formulation in the U.S.
Initially marketed as Fairway herbicide, the first gallon was sold to Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
“Trimec has truly been a transformative product over the past 50 years — not only for our company, but for countless homeowners, retailers, and turfgrass professionals as well,” PBI-Gordon CEO Don Chew said. “Its highly effective formulation of 2,4-D, MCPP, and Dicamba ushered in a new era for turf care that continues to this day.”
The initial success of Trimec set in motion a process that eventually led to the introduction of numerous market-leading pesticides for turf, including the launches of SpeedZone and Surge broadleaf herbicides. During the past 50 years, PBI-Gordon has produced more than 80 variations of Trimec, from Trimec Classic Broadleaf Herbicide to the Company’s most recent innovation, Trimec Speed Lawn Weed Killer Concentrate, which controls more than 250 broadleaf weeds, including dandelion, clover, chickweed, ground ivy, henbit, and wild violet.
Golf course accessories leader Par Aide Products has acquired FusionCast, a custom engineered metal signage casting company located in Cambridge, Ontario.
The purchase adds to Par Aide’s line of golf course accessories designed to assist golf course management around the world in creating the ideal experience for golfers.
“The acquisition of FusionCast is a perfect fit for Par Aide and gives us incredible opportunities to further support our customers branding of their facilities by equipping their courses with the revolutionary and patented signage that FusionCast has invented,” Par Aide sales and marketing manager Dan Brown said.
“FusionCast’s proprietary process of casting bronze and aluminum signs is done by ‘fusing’ metal to high-density urethane, creating an elegant product that mimics solid metal, but with added benefits only available through FusionCast. This unique process is a more economical alternative to cast metal products, lighter and easier to ship, eco-friendly and offers a durability equal to that solid bronze and aluminum.”
To ensure the highest level of customer service and quality control, Par Aide will be moving the assets and casting process of the Canadian based company to their world headquarters in Lino Lakes, Minn.
I’m staring forward on a crisp, Canadian afternoon in early June. I see the corner of a healthy pond protected by a wetland buffer, a pair of tee boxes, multiple tree varieties, a bunker shaped like a reverse tripod and stripes of Poa annua/bentgrass turf.
The sky is blue; the late Sunday afternoon game with strangers from another country is on. The setting makes a Sunday away from family and friends worthwhile.
I’m also staring at a rhino. I’m standing on the first tee of Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. Oakville is one of Toronto’s southern suburbs. Toronto is the fastest growing metropolitan area in North America.
Yes, like animals and plants, golf courses can become endangered species. Glen Abbey is one of them. ClubLink, the largest owner and operator of golf clubs in links-loving Canada, wants to redevelop the site. A company known for operating golf facilities believes residential and commercial buildings are a better use of the Ontario land than a golf course.
Glen Abbey isn’t a normal golf club. The course has hosted the Canadian Open a record 30 times since opening in 1976, including the 2018 event won by limber golf heavyweight Dustin Johnson. Nearly every big-name player in the last four decades has played a competitive round at Glen Abbey. Jack Nicklaus, who parlayed playing excellence into abundant golf course architecture work, considers Glen Abbey his first solo design. Nicklaus, coincidentally, never won a Canadian Open.
Thousands of Canadians and visitors play Glen Abbey each year. The course allows public play, thus my decision to book a Sunday afternoon tee time while driving to Ontario for a project commencing on a Monday morning. I’m paired with a junior who smacks 300-yard drives and two millennials experiencing a tournament-caliber course for the first time.
We’re overjoyed to be standing on the first tee. We’re unsure if others will be standing on the same tee one, two, five or 10 years from now. My playing partners, who live in the Greater Toronto Area, assure me their family members, friends and neighborhoods want Glen Abbey to remain a golf course.
The legal fight to save Glen Abbey will likely be long and expensive. Officials from the Town of Oakville oppose the development plan. A group called Save Glen Abbey – slogan: “Putters Not Pavement” – formed to protect the golf course. The pro-course crowd touts the site’s role as a greenspace and its historical significance, although calling Glen Abbey “Canada’s most famous golf course” is excessively subjective. Stanley Thompson, after all, executed the bulk of his work in the country.
Glen Abbey represents a high-profile example of the tussle involving golf and development throughout North America. Housing near mega-cities has become scarcer and more expensive. There are billions of financial reasons behind replacing Poa annua with pavement. Even if Glen Abbey, the current home of Canadian golf, avoids extinction, other courses face perilous futures. Redevelopment can happen anywhere, including the places we admire on television. Golf’s environmental, social and fitness charms can become negated when dollar amounts and earning potential are attached to vast acreage. Golf will win some tussles. But redevelopment will continue to throw haymakers at venerable clubs.
Perhaps that’s why I feel obligated to experience Glen Abbey. The first 10 holes sit on a relatively flat slice of suburban land bordered by modern homes and suburban roads. The course takes a dramatic turn on the 11th, a par-4 with an elevated tee shot featuring a 150-foot drop and views of distant high rises. Sixteen Mile Creek bisects the hole, creating strategic decisions on drives and approach shots. I stub a wedge into the creek as kayakers paddle past the course. I laugh, wave and snap a half-dozen pictures of the green.
Four other holes border the creek, yet my round ends on the par-3 12th. With a meeting approaching, the Sunday sun dropping and eight golfers occupying every back-nine hole, I quickly tour the closing stretch.
The crowd and conditions provided by superintendent Andrew Gyba’s team despite a cold, wet April, May and early June suggest a vibrant golf course bracing for decades of special Sundays. Neither the scenery along the creek nor the uncertain future seem real.
I’m staring. I’m inspired by the suburban serenity. I’m concerned about the future of golf courses everywhere. A pleasant place somehow yields precarity.
Guy Cipriano is GCI’s editor.