|Sulphur Springs Country Club makes major renovations|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 13, 2005 - The Sulphur Springs Country Club won't be the same ol' golf course anymore.
The club is currently undertaking its most aggressive remodeling program since it expanded from nine holes to 18 in the late '70s.
The nine holes built at that time (6-14) are currently undergoing a renovation to the greens and having an irrigation system installed that will update and modernize the look of the course.
It is the first step in a four-year phase that will include eventually rebuilding all 18 greens, a new club house and cart shed.
"Basically, the new nine holes that were built in 1978-79, we're redoing those greens completely," said club superintendent Paul Chalupa. " 'Major' is best description for what we're doing."
Greens six and seven will have the most radical change. Seven is being pushed about 65 yards farther back, where it will be surrounded on two sides by water.
Water is also being added to six, and all of the greens will have mounds, hollows and eventually more bunkers added to them.
The nine holes are currently closed for the remodeling work, which should take about a month. Then, another 60 days will be needed for the new turf on the greens to take hold and be ready for play.
The original nine holes will remain open for play during the renovation.
Doing the $225,000 renovation is Don Henderson Land Constructors of Southlake and Fleming Brothers Irrigation Specialists.
Chalupa is obviously excited about not only this phase of the project, but by how the club membership has embraced the change. With a dozen new homes on the course and seven more lots for sale along hole No. 14, there was an impetus to modernize and improve the course.
"The timing is right - the opportunity is there. The younger generation of the membership is changing, and we're wanting to see the course move on," Chalupa said. "The better the course is, the better it is for homeowners.
"I think everybody has a good spirit about it. Right now, the way things are looking, the sale of the lots will pay for the majority of this. We're not just going into it blind. We're trying to take as much time as we can and do it right. The main thing is having professionals do it because there's nothing like experience."
A hole-by-hole description of the changes includes:
No. 6 - The new green will have a large expanse of water on the right, a hollow on the left and mounds surrounding it.
No. 7 - Will have 65 yards added to its length by pushing the green back where it is surrounded by two sides on water. It too, will have a hollow and mounds.
No. 8 and 9 - The shape of the greens won't change much because they were built better to begin with. Mounds could be added.
No. 10-13 - Were best described as turtlebacks and will be made more challenging with mounds, bunkers and hollows.
No. 14 - Water will be added so golfers can't automatically cut through on the dogleg right.
"If you hit a good shot, we want you to be rewarded for it, but if you hit a bad shot you're going to be penalized," Chalupa said of No. 14. "But, there's still going to be bailouts where you don't have to take the risks if you don't want to. We can't gain a lot of yardage, but we can change up the way the shots are done."
Some of the tee boxes will be rebuilt as well. No. 1 has already undergone a new sodding, performed by about 20 club members on a Saturday morning.
When the greens are rebuilt, a more playable grass, tiff Eagles, will be sodded.
"The greens are going to be very playable. It's going to be more updated and more like something you would see being built today. The greens will have little mounds around them, little hollows, and the drainage will be a lot better."
The club has also added a new golf pro, Steve Murray.