Dan McDonald

Duffers rejoice: Les Vieux Chenes set to reopen

by Dan McDonald

After almost eight months of closure, Les Vieux Chenes Golf Course will reopen to the public in approximately two weeks.

The long-awaited reopening of the city-operated facility is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 7 a.m. Patrons may call or come by the golf shop beginning at 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, to reserve opening-day tee times, as per municipal-course policy of allowing tee times to be booked 48 hours in advance.

“We’re all very happy that we now have a date that we can give people,” said Les Vieux Chenes head pro Todd Robertson. “We’ve had golfers all over the area calling and asking when we’re opening, and we hadn’t been able to give them any information until now.”

The course was closed in March for reconstruction of all tees and greens as well as other on- and off-course improvements. The renovation — the first complete overhaul since the course opened in the mid-1970s — was bid out at approximately $750,000 with Wadsworth Golf Construction Company, Inc., in charge of the re-tooling.

The Wadsworth crew completed its construction work in July, and the new grass areas of the course have been growing and filling in over the last two months. Robertson and his staff have used several methods to promote growth, including fertilizing, systematic watering and verticutting — a type of cutting that cuts perpendicular to the soil to allow moisture and oxygen to reach the root zone.

The course’s 20 greens — 18 holes, the practice putting green and the practice chipping green – were dug out to a depth of almost three feet and rebuilt with new materials and drainage systems. Agronomists with the PGA Tour estimate that such reworking should be done every 20 years to maintain healthy greens.

During the construction, the contours of all greens were changed with new slopes and all green areas were expanded. Areas around each green were re-sodded and all of the course’s bunkers were rebuilt including some that were relocated. New bulkheads were constructed on the ninth and 11th holes and new cart paths were built on three holes.

All tee boxes were expanded and leveled to provide the course staff with the ability to move tees up and back to provide different challenges for players.

Off the course, improvements were made in the pro shop, the snack bar area, storage area and other interior areas.

Robertson said he expects heavy requests for tee times for the first few days of the course’s opening, and urged golfers to plan accordingly. He said no calls or on-site bookings will be taken prior to the 7 a.m. opening for play two days later (Monday for Wednesday, Tuesday for Thursday, etc.), but he expected each day’s tee times to be filled very shortly after 7 a.m. two days in advance.

“A lot of people have been waiting a long time for this,” Robertson said. “The regulars have been ready to get back out here for a while, and we’ve been just as anxious as they’ve been. We will be ready for them.”

More information on the course’s reopening and the process for scheduling tee times is available by calling the pro shop at 837-1159.