After 28 years of increased use, the Redwoods Driving Range is in dire need of some major TLC! With the golf course closed due to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, we are taking the opportunity to do a complete renovation of the entire turf surface of our popular range to bring it back to life!
The driving range was originally built as a 20-stall covered range tailored to golfers wanting to warm up before they hit the course. There were no heaters, there weren't any teaching stalls or an upper deck--it was almost strictly used by golfers for a pre-game warm-up.
Since it was intended for warm-up, we designed the range to mimic a fairway: there were plenty of bunkers for hazards, cut greens with pins for targets, as well as rolling undulations in the turf. It was perfect for nailing down that pre-round warm-up!
Since 1994 the driving range use has shifted significantly. We are no longer seeing range use primarily for warm-up. Instead, we see regulars practicing daily, juniors spending entire afternoons perfecting their swing, and back-to-back lessons with our certified PGA of Canada teaching professionals. We see non-golfers coming to try out a new sport, parents bringing their kids out for a local adventure (and energy burner!) and couples using the range as a great date night activity. With this substantial change in users, the range itself is ready for a makeover as well.
As you have probably noticed lately, the turf on the range is in pretty poor condition. It does okay in the dry summer months but as soon as it rains there are several bare areas, muddy spots, and even standing water. It's not great to look at but it also makes it very difficult for our team to successfully pick range balls overnight in the off-season. You would not believe how many range balls get plugged underground! The turf condition has also resulted in lengthy winter closures over the past several seasons and we hope to limit this with the renovation.
Over the years we have built a section of 6 stalls primarily for golf instruction, as well as an upper deck with stalls to help accommodate the increased demand for public golf practice. We have also added heaters for cold wintery days of practice and lights for those short days of sunlight. Next on the list is renovating the grass portion of the range to elevate the area to the high standards to keep for the rest of the Redwoods property.
To start the range project, we have removed some trees from inside the driving range area. Several of the trees had been deemed unsafe since one of the trees fell in a storm earlier this year. With fewer trees on the range, the area will be significantly brighter at night for your practice sessions and will increase your ball flight visibility.
To further reinvigorate the range, we are removing all of the current grass. We are regrading and levelling the entire surface of the range which will greatly improve drainage and visibility. The mound near the 200-yard mark will be removed so you will be able to watch your ball flight all the way to the back of the range which will definitely enhance your practice sessions. To finish it off, we will be restoring the top 6 inches of the entire range with fresh sand and topping it with new turf. It's going to look and play so much better than before!
Update September 6, 2022
We were able to successfully smooth, fertilize and seed the entire range by the end of August. One week after spreading grass seed we are thrilled to share that we are seeing green!
Update September 26, 2022
The new grass continues to grow with the beautiful September weather that we have been having. In fact, we are having to water the grass a little more than we would have expected for this time of year! While the weather has been great for grass growing, the grass is not as far along as we would like to see it at the moment.
From a distance, the grass looks like perfection. But as you can see, up close it is not as thick as we need it to be. In its current state, the grass is still not established enough to withstand the typical machinery we would use to maintain the range such as ball pickers and mowers. Unfortunately, this means that the driving range will not be ready to open soon.
On a positive note, we were able to give the range its first haircut last Friday! Since our regular machinery is too heavy for the current conditions of the range, we were able to borrow our owner's household ride-on mower to get the job done! Thanks, Doug!
Update October 25, 2022
The good news: we had an incredible start to fall! The not-so-good news: despite our perfect weather, the turf in the range is still not as established and strong as we need it to be to comfortably reopen without damaging all of our hard work. Unfortunately, that means that the driving range will remain closed this winter with an anticipated reopening in the spring of 2023. Thank you for your patience as we complete these much-needed enhancements to the Range. We miss you and can't wait to have you back--we know that you will be thrilled with our enhanced facility!
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