In a little over two years, SunRiver golf course in St. George, Utah has gone from a troubled course with difficult turf conditions to one of southern Utah’s outstanding golf courses. The Groundskeeper golf crew, led by Superintendent Kevin Hernandez, has been working diligently for the past 26 months to make playing this course an enjoyable experience. “People are mistaken if they are clinging to the past when it comes to SunRiver,” said Ron Newren, UGA Tournament Director. “The greens are superb—fast and smooth.”
There are a few holes that still have drainage issues, but the course has come a long way in recnt years. There are still some spotty areas, but that only affects appearance, not playability,” he said.
The irrigation system was the first challenge to tackle in the course’s transformation. “We managed to get the pump system working consistently so that the bent grass greens could survive the 100 degree plus summer temperatures,” said The Groundskeeper’s Kevin Hernandez. The bermuda grass fairways also benefited greatly from consistent watering, aeration, and ample fertilizer. What was once close to bare dirt is now a good surface to hit from. A seeding program was also started last summer to transition the few fairways that are predominantly rye to bermuda grass. With the summer heat, this is the best choice for warm season turf in this area.
The Utah Golf Association paid SunRiver golf course one of its best compliments this year when they selected it as one of the sites for the popular Winterchamps tournament. “We are proud to be hosting the UGA Winterchamps,” said head professional Neil Economy. “It shows the growth and progress that SunRiver has made. This recognition is exciting for us. ” No. 17 — 2009SunRiver Golf Club is a public course that was built amid a 55 and older golf cart retirement community. Most of the residents have their own golf carts. The golf course is a par 35 on the front nine and a 36 on the back nine with three par fives on the back. It was built along the Virgin River with views of the red rock mesas and Pine Valley Mountain.
“Even though there are still many challenges to work through, we are proud of the progress and hard work of our Groundskeeper golf crew,” said Dave Ramsze, The Groundskeeper Chief Operations Officer. “A big thanks goes out to Kevin Hernandez, Ron Fish, Jack Barnard, and the rest of the folks that have had a hand in making this happen.”
Established in 1975, The Groundskeeper is a 100 percent employee-owned company. Today it employs more than 700 people in nine markets throughout the southwest including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Reno, St. George and most recently Austin, San Antonio and Dallas.