ActivePaper Archive Final plan for golf course outlined - Hobbs News Sun, 4/4/2013

Final plan for golf course outlined

SUBMITTED This aerial conceptional drawing shows the layout for Ocotillo Golf Course if a planned remodel is approved. The new course would have an 18-hole and 9-hole par-3 course as well as driving range, chipping green and youth-only green.

The City of Hobbs has a final layout and design for a $8.3 million remodel of Ocotillo Golf Course.

The city commission heard the final presentation from Andy Staples, president and owner of Staples Golf and Golf Resource Group, at a work session meeting on Monday. Staples was hired to prepare a plan for the golf course’s rehabilitation.

Staples worked with a committee of city staff, course employees and local golfers to come up with the new course design, including a 9-hole par-3 course, a new driving range and chipping green, Snag golf green for use for a children’s program, and a complete remodel of the 18-hole course.

“Today is a culmination of a lot of work,” Staples said. “This is a refinement from the last meeting we had and a refinement of option 2.”

The plan laid out by Staples had a minimum 340-yard long driving range and set up the 18-hole course with the front 9 holes running around the edge of the entire property and the back 9 holes more closely packed inside the front 9.

The chipping green was located at a far end of the property away from the club house, which Staples said he felt was a good choice.

“My thought is putting it where people feel comfortable hitting all kinds of shots,” he said.

The course also had two 5-acre lakes capable of holding 15 million gallons of effluent water. The city has plans to send effluent water from the waste water treatment plant to Ocotillo to be used for irrigation.

Staples said the plan for the course has 105 acres of irrigated turf, which is on par with other courses that have limited water supplies.

Ocotillo is also known for its lack of topsoil. Staples said the rehab plan calls for bringing in 8 inches of topsoil to cap the entire course. The topsoil selected comes from a site south of Hobbs and has a lower content of silt than the current topsoil, allowing for better water absorption and preventing salt build-up issues when using effluent water, he said.

In trying to make the course more community-friendly, Staples suggested removing the barbed-wire fence that surrounds Ocotillo and replacing it with a wooden or similar style fence that appears more inviting.

The total cost for the project is $7.7 million with a run-over contingency of $600,000. Staples also outlined potential cutbacks that would drop the cost by $1.4 million.

However, the commission and public comments indicated skimping wasn’t favored.

“One of our greatest assets is our conservatism,” said Bobby Shaw, “but it is also one of our worst detriments on the other side of that sword. I don’t want our conservatism to be a detriment. We need to do it and do it right from the get-go.”

“If we do this right, it can be here in 20 years,” said commissioner Garry Buie.

“If we have the money and we can do it, I can take the heat from the public,” Commissioner Joe Calderon said.

City manager J.J. Murphy said he had found a way to fund the project by bonding money from the city’s infrastructure fund.

“If we bond for 6 years we can have the complete build out and have the money dedicated for the other projects, so we see no reduction in sewer line replacements,” he said.

Bonding the money for six years would only cost the city $350,000 in bond fees, he said.

Mayor Sam Cobb asked how many bidders the city could expect to bid on the project if sent out for bids. Staples said 6-8 would be a reasonable expectation.

Staples’ plan called for closing the course for about 13 months starting in October and allowing 3-4 months for the grass to grow in. He said the closure and 13-month time frame was the best solution and he felt it could be done in that time.

However, closing the course for that length of time would give area golfers only one place to play in Hobbs — The Hobbs Country Club — which has higher green fees.

It would also mean closing shop for more than a year for small-business owner Doug Lyle and his 15 employees that run the pro shop at Ocotillo.

“We are trying to work it out. The city is cooperating,” Lyle said. “We are still negotiating a plan. Nothing is finalized yet. I really can’t say how it is going to work out. So far the city is making an effort to understand the situation. We are happy after a lot of years of wanting a better facility we are seeing it. We have a new building and a new pro shop and now it looks like we may have a new golf course and parking lot. I think it is going to work out favorably.”

Discussions have focused on finding a way for Hobbs golfers to use the country club or other courses in the area and how that will work out, but the city has not discussed those negotiations in detail.

Lyle said he felt the 13-month closure is the best option, but it does present some problems. However, trying to build the course in sections has many more problems, he said.

“It is an option, but it has some real serious drawbacks,” he said of the multi-phase rebuild concept. “You can’t isolate the build area, because of pump stations and major water lines, trenching in other areas and truck access. You can’t really just wall it off and build it with the current facility not effected. If you built an additional 9 and then 9 at a time with staging grow-in periods, that would be a 5-6 year construction period and it becomes more expensive.”

The city is expected to come back at a future regular commission meeting to approve or deny the project plan.

Levi Hill can be reached at reporter2@hobbsnews. com or by calling 391-5438.