Ridgewood to shutter Saturday for practically a yr for renovation challenge

ART STRICKLIN Particular to the Tribune-Herald

Waco’s Ridgewood Nation Membership’s 18-hole golf course will shut down Saturday for practically a yr because the course undergoes a complete renovation from architect Tripp Davis, one thing members say is critical to retain the premier non-public membership’s standing within the Waco space.

“It is one thing we completely wanted to do,” stated 27-year Ridgewood member Jerry Miller. “I like the greens right here, however they’ve reached the top of their life cycle.”

“We’re investing within the subsequent 30 years of Ridgewood with short-term ache for long-term acquire,” added present Ridgewood board member Taylor Bledsoe.

Whereas the clubhouse is closed to all golf, Ridgewood head professional Jimmy Cunningham and common supervisor Invoice Horton have arrange low cost rounds for members at varied native programs across the Central Texas space, together with Cottonwood Creek. They’ve additionally arrange some longer golf journeys.

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Cunningham stated the price range for the renovation, which is able to embody new bunkers, fairways, tee containers and fashionable Tift eagle greens, is roughly $5.2 million, with an anticipated completion date of late October or early November 2023, climate allowing.

To pay for the challenge, the privately held course is assessing the tons of of members primarily based on age, with older members paying much less and youthful members paying extra. The clubhouse and different membership services will stay open in the course of the golf course renovation.

“We tried to be honest with all people the place younger members like me pay the total quantity and older members like my dad do not pay as a lot,” stated Bledsoe, 38.

Waco’s Randy Mull has been round Ridgewood since 1973 when his mother and father joined the membership. Mull stated that the redo would assist maintain the course and golf in Waco for a few years.

“We have now an opportunity to redo some issues on the course which should be mounted, like including a creek on the ninth and eleventh holes, taking away the lake on No. 3 and redoing the bunkers and fairways,” Mull stated. “As you become older, you get set in your personal method, so this can permit us to play totally different programs within the space, after which we’ll have a brand new course at Ridgewood within the fall.”

To commemorate the pending course’s shutdown, Ridgewood is internet hosting a most unusual golf match on Saturday the place the 18-hole course can be transformed to a dozen par-3 holes for an occasion the place members and visitors play throughout the format. The membership will award prizes on every gap, and the occasion can even characteristic meals vehicles and two massive barbecue pits.

“Then, when the match is completed, the gamers can have a free-for-all on the course — carts on the greens, use any membership within the greens or bunkers, no matter,” stated Cunningham. “We’re not fixing any ball marks, they will take out their frustrations in fact.”

Ridgewood celebrated its seventy fifth anniversary this summer season and has had different course upgrades and fixes through the years, together with the set up of recent fairways and greens. However this is among the largest scale initiatives within the membership’s historical past.

“We have been going to be shut down for six months for brand spanking new greens, so why not do 9 months and get virtually a completely new course?” Bledsoe stated. “I feel we’ve got an amazing place right here, however I feel it is going to be even higher when it is completed.”

The method for Ridgewood has been a protracted one, because the membership permitted the renovation and the hiring of Oklahoma-based architect Davis practically 18 months in the past. Then they’ve to barter with the US Corps of Engineers, which controls the close by Lake Waco water. The lake comes into play on a number of of the holes. Ridgewood members additionally needed to vote on and approve a price range for the challenge.

Ridgewood is a longtime novice and faculty match host, together with the Texas State Senior Championship and the previous Southwest Convention Championship.

“Renovations like this are a needed evil for all golf equipment like ours. It could possibly be unhealthy luck for the older members, however we’ll survive,” stated longtime Ridgewood member Johnny Bledsoe.

Total, the sentiment amongst Ridgewood employees and members appears to be one in every of pleasure.

“I am comfortable to see what the brand new course will appear like. We’ll be blowing and going January 4th and maintain it going right through,” added Cunningham. “We’re ripping the bandage off the previous course and developing with the brand new.”

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