The 2012 golf season is upon us and it is great to see so many of our members enjoying our golf facilities at Las Campanas. Much has been done in the past 6 months to improve the condition of the courses, build our instructional program and generally improve the member golf experience. We want to update you on the improvements to the courses at Las Campanas, address several member concerns, discuss golf cart protocol and inform you of revised guest fees.
There have been many positive comments about course conditions from members and guests. The improved course conditions result from lots of hard work by Tom Egelhoff and his staff during the winter and spring. We are also seeing benefits from our improved irrigation water quality now that the vast majority of the water is coming to us directly from the Rio Grande via the Buckman Direct Diversion project and our new Las Campanas raw water pipeline.
We are very excited about the golf event calendar for this season. The feedback we recieved on last year’s member survey went a long way in shaping this year’s program. We encourage all Las Campanas members to take advantage of the many events being held this season; there truly is something for everyone. Jason Epstein, our Las Campanas Director of Golf, has assembled an excellent service oriented staff in order to significantly enhance our golfing experience.
Pete Huber, the Head of Golf Instruction, has been with us for a month now and his lesson book is filling up fast. We just received our Trackman Pro system that will bring a new dimension to golf instruction and club fitting at Las Campanas. Pete and Jason have big plans for this season including clinics, demo days and much more. You can check out all of the bells and whistles that Trackman brings to Las Campanas at www.trackman.dk.
Several years of stress due to the former Developer’s financial problems and the necessity to make modifications to the golf courses to reduce water consumption had resulted in our courses lacking some of the appeal consistent with a high-end golf club. Last fall, at the direction of the Las Campanas Club Board, we initiated efforts to return our courses to a high level of playability and beauty. These efforts include:
• Removal/replacement of overgrown crusher fines areas that were an eyesore and a maintenance nightmare.
• Installation of golf cart ingress/egress paths on most holes.
• Refurbishment of key bunkers.
• General cleanup of weeds and overgrown areas.
• Purchase and installation of new flags and tee markers.
Work on the Sunset course and the back nine of Sunrise has been finished and most Las Campanas members agree that the final product is superb. Work is ongoing on the front nine of the Sunrise course with the target to complete the upgrades as soon as possible. Longer term we plan on focusing more attention on the practice area, our bunkers and other details that are expected of the best private courses in the Southwest. We appreciate the patience of our fellow Las Campanas members during the next several weeks while this much needed work is completed.
In addition, the golf course maintenance equipment at Las Campanas has been upgraded so that our agronomy team can be more efficient, which will lead to less interference with play as well as overall improvement of turf quality. We are pleased to report that the total aeration (greens, tees and fairways) took 3 days per golf course this year compared to almost double that time previously.
Several members have expressed concern about the gravel areas that have been installed on both courses. There has also been a good deal of feedback on the wood bark cart paths. The purpose of the gravel is to enhance the appearance of the courses and to reduce maintenance. While some members believe the new look is a significant improvement, others disagree. We have reviewed the gravel areas with both the Nicklaus design organization and the United States Golf Association who have provided us with guidance on playability. While we may make a couple of tweaks to enhance playability, everything that has been done is well within current practice at other clubs. Please keep in mind that areas that now contain gravel contained a mixture of crusher fines, rocks and weeds in the past.
If your ball lands in a gravel area, we encourage you to play the ball down (keep in mind the gravel is a loose impediment and can be moved as long as your ball is not moved); the Las Campanas Professional Staff would be pleased to provide assistance on how to play from these areas. For those of you who are not comfortable with playing the ball out of these areas you have two alternatives:
1. You can declare an unplayable lie and take relief with penalty from the gravel areas as long as it is from the nearest point of relief that is no closer to the hole.
2. By taking a stroke and distance penalty, you can replay your previous shot.
If you are concerned about damaging your golf clubs hitting out of these areas we suggest you take the same precautions you currently take when hitting from desert areas or that you took in the past when hitting out of the old crusher fines areas.
Concerns about the wood bark cart paths/ramps are being addressed. It is clear that the design of these paths needs to be rethought. The uneven surface and concrete ledges associated with the paths causes member discomfort and is hard on the golf carts. This may take some time to work through, so in the interim please use the existing paths with care. Until further notice, the wood chip cart and walking paths will be treated as obstructions under rule 24, which allows for relief (without penalty), no closer to the hole at the nearest point. You can either play the ball as it lies or take relief from the nearest point, no closer to the hole.
Your Help is Needed
In order to keep our courses in great condition we need the help of all of our members and guests who use golf carts. Please assist us by adhering to the following:
Golf carts may enter fairways from concrete cart paths only, either using the newly constructed ramps or through areas of cultivated grass rough.
Once in the fairway, golf carts should be kept in the fairway until reaching the end of the fairway as designated by the newly installed wooden posts and rope.
Carts must not be taken any closer to the greens than designated by the small rope that is stretched across the fairway. You must exit the fairway prior to the rope either using one of the constructed ramps or by going through cultivated grass rough directly back onto the concrete cart path.
Carts are not allowed on Par 3’s.
To the maximum extent possible, carts should be kept in fairways and not in the rough.
At no time should golf carts be taken into native areas, desert or planted areas on or near the golf courses.
Carts must not be driven through gravel areas.
With the exception of hole 16 on the Sunset course, golf carts must be kept out of arroyos.
All golfers at Las Campanas will receive instructions on proper golf cart usage from the starter before commencing a round. If you have any questions or anything is unclear, please ask the starter or other golf staff. Everyone is expected to adhere to these rules. Willful violators will have their golf privileges suspended. If you have a handicap flag and feel that you cannot abide by these restrictions please see Jason Epstein, the Director of Golf.
As of June 1, golf guest fees at Las Campanas will be increased as follows:
* Unaccompanied guests will pay $230 per round plus cart
* Accompanied guests will pay $130 per round plus cart
* Family guests will pay $55 per round plus cart
These fees are being increased to put us more in line with comparable high-end clubs in the southwest.
We hope you enjoy your golf experience at Las Campanas this season. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us with any questions or input you would like considered.
Your Las Campanas Golf Committee,
Mark Silbert, Member Chairman
Jason Epstein, Director of Golf and Management co-chair
Tom Egelhoff, Director of Agronomy