Improvements To Delray Beach Golf Course On The Horizon

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By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor

Delray Beach Golf Course is poised for a make over.

During a workshop meeting last month, Delray commissioners unanimously supported funding a renovation at the city owned course.

Estimates for the cost of work on the course is about $7.2 million. That would include updated irrigation, new tees, fairways, bunkers, greens and cart paths and new maintenance equipment and facilities.

Many avid golfers have urged the city to consider spending money to upgrade the course and clubhouse, which is showing its age.

“I have played it many times,” Commissioner Adam Frankel said. “It is unique. It is also in an incredible state of disrepair.  It’s sad the city let it go to this state. An investment is definitely warranted.”

Updating the clubhouse would be a different project, which city staff said is also in the pipeline.

Parks and Recreation Director Suzanne Fisher said her department conducted a 20-year amortization analysis and determined the golf course can find the renovation cost through increased round rates and if the number of rounds increases.

The course opened in 1926 with nine holes designed by Donald Ross. Golf course architect Dick Wilson served as the club pro and greenskeeper until the course closed during WWII. Wilson then designed an additional nine holes, which opened in 1950, creating the 18-hole course.

In 1992, architect Karl Litton renovated the entire course with new greens, bunkers, cart paths and new grass. In 2002, the greens were rebuilt to USGA specifications with minor renovations to the course. In 2005,  several large trees were removed and bunkers rebuilt after hurricane damage.

No renovations have taken place on the course since 2005. Since then, the city had several consultations and studies conducted by golf professionals.

Sanford Golf Design completed a master plan in 2016 and USGA visited annually from 2015-2018 for course consultations. The National Golf Foundation conducted a business evaluation in 2017.

All reports agreed the course was in need of a makeover.

“I can’t overstate the potential this property has,” John Sanford of Sanford Golf Design said. “Two of the greatest golf architects designed each of the nines on this golf course.”

He said there is no course in the world like this one.

“It has all the right things to be a premium golf course,” he said.

With several golf courses in the area closing, commissioners agreed it is time to update the city’s course to attract more golfers.

“We have an opportunity to bring in more members to our course,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said. “If we don’t do something with our course we can just gather that those that would be coming here would be going elsewhere.”

City Manager Mark Lauzier said he will come before commissioners in April with a plan for funding the renovations.