September 1, 2015 – Auto dealer O.C. Welch has recently finished rebuilding the back nine holes of the original 18-hole layout of the city-owned Bacon Park Golf Course. Now the grass just needs to grow ahead of a planned October reopening, Welch said.
The $1.4 million restoration comes after Welch made a similar investment to restore the first nine holes to their original design in the wake of being awarded the city contract to manage and renovate the course in December 2013.
After opening the first nine holes in the fall of 2014 after a four-month restoration that cost about $150,000 per hole, Welch said he plans to open the back nine on Oct. 10. The opening will mark the completion of the restoration of the course to the original Donald Ross layout drawn in the 1920s.
But first, the city has to make a bit of an investment itself.
The deteriorating wooden bridge at the 15th hole can be saved, but will require work, while the bridge at the 18th was condemned by city staffers about three months ago and needs to be replaced.
“It was getting ready to collapse,” said Leisure Services Bureau Chief Joe Shearouse.
On Thursday, the Savannah City Council will consider a $269,651 contract with Johnson-Laux Construction for the repairs and replacement. The contract is considered an emergency, and the city is using the state’s job order contractor to get the work done in time.
“We knew it would happen, but it caught us a little sooner than we thought,” Shearouse said.
The goal is to have the work done by Oct. 1 before Welch opens the back nine, he said.
Plans for the 27-hole layout’s other nine holes, which have been used during the restoration project, have not been determined.
Welch said the course has been pretty busy since his company took over management, although the amount of rain this year has hurt business some.
“It’s pretty flooded out there now,” he said.
The sun was shining Tuesday morning as Paul Heimburger practiced his swing on the driving range. Heimburger said he is new to town and has only played the greens two times, but he is impressed so far and looks forward to the back nine opening in the fall.
“They’re doing a good job,” he said.
During Thursday’s meeting, the council will also consider:
• A request to rezone 1020 East Broad for a 69-unit apartment complex.
• An annual contract for ammunition for Savannah-Chatham police from Precision Delta Corp. in the amount of $9,789 and from Gulf States Distributors in the amount of $57,440.
• The purchase of two boom tractors from Flint Equipment Co. in the amount of $324,000 for mowing canals, ditches and other city property.
• The purchase and installation of playground equipment at Joseph J. Tribble Park from Gametime for $52,909.