Renovation of the municipal course, with a redesign of the back nine on the west side of the recently widened Dalton Pike, has been ongoing for the past two years. It was hoped the new golf holes could be opened in early spring, but poor weather has delayed the opening.
Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel, who coordinated a meeting of the Golf Advisory Board Monday afternoon at the golf course, said a tentative opening has been planned for sometime in May. No exact date has yet been determined.
Continued work remains, with funds for the remainder of the project running low. The committee approved a motion Monday to go to the City Council at its Feb. 27 meeting and request additional funding of approximately $90,000 for sod and topsoil.
The sod will be used mostly around the greens, while the topsoil is needed on the rebuilt 18th hole.
Also attending Monday’s committee meeting was Public Works Director Tommy Myers and Assistant City Manager Melinda Carroll. Public Works has done most of the construction work on the golf course.
The sod work is expected to be completed in April, with plans to bring in two truck loads of sod at a time. This will guard against the sod drying out.
The Golf Advisory Committee includes Vice Mayor Avery Johnson, Councilman Dale Hughes, Milton Palmer, George Patton and Ray Evans.
The back nine holes on the golf course were closed in 2010 as the Tennessee Department of Transportation began work to widen Dalton Pike. The roadway dissects the golf facility from north to south. The road has been completed through the golf course area, and two tunnels have been constructed underneath the roadway for golf cart and maintenance equipment traffic.
Other projects remain for the golf course, with slightly more than $39,000 remaining in the budget for that work. The major projects remaining are the sodding and topsoil.
Early in Monday’s meeting it was decided the committee will meet at 10 a.m. on the first Monday of each month until the golf course is opened for play. The committee will then meet on the first Monday of the first month in each quarter (January, April, July and October).
The first topic of discussion Monday was the new golf carts purchased by the city.
“Everyone seems to like them, since they’re so much better than what we had,” said golf course manager Jimmy Tatum. He added that utilization has been limited because of recent wet weather.
The committee then discussed the need for approximately 4 inches of topsoil on the 18th hole. Officials have researched prices, but said they remain hopeful someone may want to make a donation.
The old restroom on the back nine holes has been demolished and a new one is planned. The new restroom will be a modest, unisex facility.
Director of Development and Engineering Services Jonathan Jobe said the north tunnel (underneath Dalton Pike where the crossover from the old 17th green to the 18th tee was located) had to be redesigned. The new tunnel is longer and will require lighting.
Jobe said the south tunnel, to the west of the new par-3 10th green, will probably be the only tunnel open when play begins. Golfers and maintenance personnel will use it exclusively until the north tunnel is completed.
Committee members and city staff also discussed plans for a new sign at the golf course entrance off Dalton Pike. The sign is tentatively planned for the driveway, but can’t be built until TDOT paves the off ramp.
Tatum said the golf course now has 142 members.
It is believed membership has been above 200 in the past, but several memberships have been dropped over the past two years because there have only been nine holes.
Committee and staff members agreed there has been considerable impatience, even on the City Council. “I’ve had three calls this week asking about (possible) tournaments,” said Cleveland Recreation Director Patti Pettit.
Projects remaining on the new nine holes include sodding, topsoil, tunnels, the entrance sign and driveway, removal of some debris along Bell Road, restroom and a small bridge over a low-water area to the right of the 10th hole.
After the golf course is completely reopened, probably in the fall, work will begin on the irrigation system on the front side. This project is expected to be one hole at a time.
Although the back nine holes have been redesigned, the layout pretty much maintains the route it had in the past.
The old par-4 10th hole has been shortened to a par-3. The par-5 11th remains the same with some touchups. The old par-5 12th, going downhill to the south, is now a short par-4 with a double green. The 13th is another par with a tee box where the old 14th green was located, going south to a green where the old 14th tee box was. The new 14th hole will be a par-4 back to the south side of the double green in the middle of the old 12th fairway.
The old 15th par-4 remains much the same as it was, but the 16th hole is now a par-3 into the low area to the right of the old 16th tee box.
The 17th test is now the signature hole for the new nine. Trees have been cleared to the right of the landing area on the old 16th par-4 hole. Drives from this tee box will be to the top of the hill where the old 16th green was located. This leaves a long, downhill shot to the par-five green just to the right of Dalton Pike.
The 18th hole will be a par-4 test from a tee box alongside Dalton Pike, and up a slight incline where the old cart shed was located. The green is located in the old 17th fairway.