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GOLF / FRED ROBLEDO : Nine-Hole Course Is Getting a Face Lift

September 03, 1993|FRED ROBLEDO

It has been a difficult year for regulars at Harbor Park, a nine-hole course in San Pedro.

Because the course has poor drainage, players were forced to play different courses after heavy rains early this year.

In March, a construction project began on the course, which has made only six or seven holes available for play.

But the good news is that work is close to completion and the course is planning an Oct. 12 reopening.

Seven greens have been rebuilt, alternate greens have been added for each hole, there are 13 new bunkers and an eight-stall warm-up area with nets has been added.

There are also plans to build practice bunkers, another practice green and more tee boxes.

Only the fifth and seventh greens weren't rebuilt because they were already in good shape.

The obvious questions are how much did the renovation cost and where did the money come from?

"It was a $1.6-million project and the revenue came from the golf surcharge, which is 18% of the gross revenue (from city courses)," said Randy Haney, the Los Angeles Pacific region manager for city courses.

"To do it right, we had to put in a new irrigation system that was plumbed for reclaimed water. It cost a little more to do it that way, but it will pay for itself in the future."

Those who were driven away during the construction are going to be surprised when they return to see bent-grass greens that are nearly double the size of the original greens. And they are going to find alternate Bermuda greens that are ready any time work is needed on a regular green.

Alternates should not be confused with temporary greens, which are usually a closely mowed area on a fairway. The alternates are full-sized greens, cut to the same level as a regular green.

The greens were renovated because their clay base caused them to drain poorly. Now all of the greens, which were built to United States Golf Assn. specifications, have sandy bases that will absorb moisture better.

"They have done a tremendous job on the course," says starter Duane Tomano, who has worked at Harbor nine years. "This was already a pretty nice course, except for the greens. Now it is really one of the finest nine-hole courses in Southern California."

Bob Garrett of the Harbor Park Men's Golf Club believes the course is going to be more challenging to play, despite greens that went from 3,500 and 4,500 square feet to 8,500 and 10,000 square feet.

"We have bigger greens, but also more bunkers," Garrett said. "And all of the bunkers have new silicone sand."

Because Harbor is a nine-hole course, many people believe it's an executive course or pitch-and-putt layout.

"A lot of people are surprised the first time they play here," Garrett said. "Before the construction, it had a nine-hole rating of 34.8 with a slope rating of 113. It will still play to about 3,200 yards, but the USGA is going to come in and give it a new rating."

Although play has decreased about 50% during the construction, there were regulars who continued to support the course. Since only six or seven holes were open most of the time, the fee was $5, seven days a week.

All nine holes are now open, but two of them, the first and ninth, are using alternate greens, and the fourth hole is using a temporary green.

The fees will remain the same until the reopening, then will increase to $7.50 on weekdays and $9 on weekends.

By that time, getting preferred starting times could become difficult.

"This used to be one of the most-played courses in the country," Tomano said. "It was always full during the week and people would have to wait several hours to get on during the weekends.

"I have a feeling that's going to be the case again after the reopening."

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