Significant improvements to the Devine Municipal Golf Course are on hold after City Council rejected three greens reconstruction bids and discussion on the clubhouse renovation remained tabled.
The decisions were made at the Special meeting held last Tuesday, August 6, when Council reviewed the bids for the work on the greens.
Heritage Links, Johnson Golf, and Landscapes Unlimited all returned bids based on golf course designer John Colligan’s plan to add a chipping green and reconstruct the greens on holes 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, and 18, as well as alternative bids that included the reconstruction of holes 4 and 9 and added a putting green.
Johnson Golf’s bid to reconstruct all nine holes in addition to the chipping and putting greens was the lowest, coming in at $692,395. Heritage Links’ bid came in at $706,790, while Landscapes Unlimited returned an $837,100 bid.
“The only thing with Johnson Golf is they are so booked right now, they couldn’t do it until the spring,” golf course Superintendent Ruben Chapa said.
Colligan’s plan called for the project to be finished by September 25, a date he said would be sufficient for the Champions bermudagrass used on the greens to grow in completely and be playable.
According to Colligan, Champions bermudagrass takes approximately 10 weeks to grow in, leaving the greens ready around November 20.
District 4 Councilwoman Jennifer Schott expressed concern that the newly-sprigged greens would make it through the fall and early winter weather in good condition when Colligan presented his plan at the July 29 Special meeting, and Mayor Cory Thompson echoed that unease on Aug. 6.
“God forbid something happen because we don’t actually have a guarantee if something was to happen,” Thompson said. “We obviously would have to go back on our own dime, possibly re-grass, or if it was a really bad washout, possibly fix again.”
Chapa said he had spoken about the issue with John Daniels, a USGA agronomist who toured the course in Aug. 2018 and has provided the City with advice since then.
“What he did tell me was it would be better and beneficial to us to wait till the spring,” Chapa said. “He’s saying this late in the year, just like you’re saying, we’re banking on Mother Nature to cooperate.”
Chapa added that Daniels recommended sending the project out for bids again in late February and reviewing them in the beginning of March before moving forward.
“Honestly, I feel like we were under pressure that we needed to make a decision, and I wasn’t ready to make a decision,” District 3 Councilman David Espinosa said.
A Schott-Espinosa motion to reject all bids passed 3-0, with the support of District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez.
District 1 Councilman David Valdez was absent, and the District 5 seat Thompson vacated after being appointed mayor in the wake of Bill Herring’s resignation has yet to be filled.
Council voted at the July 29 meeting to suspend the clubhouse renovation pending a meeting with architect Lyndsay Thorn to request a revised interior design including a larger bar area.
Thorn’s design for the clubhouse was initially approved on May 14 with a budget of $330,902, before being approved again with a slightly longer bar on July 16.
As there had not yet been a meeting with Thorn, a Schott-Espinosa motion to table consideration of the issue passed 3-0.
The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 20.
By Marly Davis