Golf Course Management

AUG 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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36 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.19 can get two hours to play the local muni, something I can count on, isn't that what it's all about?" (Fort) Worth the wait Henry Cagagil has taken countless looks at the fairways and greens at Fort Worth's Rockwood Park over four decades. For him — and so many others — the dramatic comeback there, with its views of the down - town skyline, is a sight for sore eyes. "It's a complete new facility," says Cagagil, 57, assistant golf professional at Rockwood. Rockwood is a story of revival and sur - vival. Rounds played are up more than 50% from 2015, and net profits overtook net losses despite an increase in operating costs. Ten years ago, the process was launched to facilitate this moment. at's when Fort Worth officials completed the blueprint, en - dorsed by the park board, to renovate Rock- wood. Overhaul is more like it. Rockwood, built in 1938, had never received sufficient improvements since it opened. "We didn't have all the funds in place at that time (2009), but the master plan was in place for when the time presented itself," says Nancy Bunton, interim assistant direc - tor of parks. e combination of a city bond package and $1.7 million in gas royalties for a total of approximately $5 million set the makeover in motion for a 2017 reopening. "Municipal golf was going down and down. City leaders, from the top down, took a stand and believed in the golf divi - sion," says Shawn Watson, Rockwood's head golf professional. Heritage Links in Houston handled the construction, and architect John Colligan, his associate Trey Kemp, and GCSAA Class A superintendent Bill Sturm authored the rest. e rebuild featured massive moderniza - tions: new irrigation system, drainage, cart paths, greens (TifEagle bermudagrass), tees, fairways, Better Billy Bunkers and an addi - tional 15 acres of native areas on the course, which has been stretched from 6,300 yards to more than 7,000. "Before, a lot of people compared the course to a bowling alley. It was just flat," says Sturm, a 20-year association member. "ey hadn't changed anything. Every - thing, really. It was that bad. Greens were worn out. Archaic equipment, like gang mowers, were used on fairways. Now, it's to - tally different. I cannot give John (Colligan) enough props. I don't have a big budget, but it's the easiest course I've had to maintain. Our attitude is to keep the conditioning, the details, to a country club level." Colligan was raised in the area and played the course 45 years ago when condi - tions already were suspect. "It sloped. You couldn't keep the ball in the fairway, and there wasn't much grass in the fairways," Before and after shots of what currently is No. 15 at Rockwood GC. Architects John Colligan and Trey Kemp oversaw the renovations at Rockwood. How does Colligan view what he does at Rockwood or anywhere else? "Golf should be enjoyed, not endured," he says. "If we can create challenges for the better players and fun for the not-so-good player, we've accomplished what we wanted to do." Photos courtesy of Trey Kemp "Municipal golf … this, to me, is the most interesting conversation in the world of golf right now. If I can get two hours to play the local muni, something I can count on, isn't that what it's all about?" — Golf Channel's Matt Ginella

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