Growing turf

City Park Golf Course anticipated to open this September

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Playing golf at Denver’s City Park Golf Course will be a modernized blast from the past.

There will be some nostalgia, said Scott Rethlake, director of Denver Golf, adding that playing the new course will remind players of the old holes.

The City Park Golf Course has been closed since November 2017 to undergo a water detention project. The Denver Golf website states that “City Park Golf Course was selected for water detention because it will protect significantly more homes and businesses, enhances an existing city asset, reduces the need for private property acquisition and provides for future stormwater needs.”

Currently in the phase of turf grow-in, anticipated opening for the new course is this September.

The turf “has to have a whole growing season before it can withstand the stress of people playing on it,” Rethlake said.

Nighttime temperatures need to reach 60 degrees for the turf to grow properly, which usually doesn’t happen until May and continues through August, Rethlake said.

The property is 135 acres and the course is 18 holes par 70. Though it will be reminiscent of the old course, Rethlake believes the new course will be a more interesting experience for golfers.

The new design incorporates a lot of the existing corridors, but it also includes new landscaping with water features and bunkers — not to mention a brand-new clubhouse, maintenance facility and a full driving range.

Budget for the project was $45 million with a $4 million retainage, and the project was on budget as of mid-May, Rethlake said. Because it was a water detention project, the funds came out of the city’s stormwater fund.

City Park Golf Course attracts golfers of all levels who come from about a five-to-10-mile radius of the course, Rethlake said. Prior to its closure, it entertained about 48,000 rounds a year, Rethlake added. The course also hosts youths involved with the First Tee, a youth development program that uses the game of golf to “build character and instill life-enhancing values,” states its website.

Built in 1918, “people grew up playing on it,” Rethlake said of City Park Golf Course. “We wanted to save those memories (in) the new design.”

Jennifer Bater has been playing golf for about 30 years, and about 25 of those have been spent playing at City Park Golf Course when she moved to the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

“I love being outdoors,” she said, “and the challenge of the shots.”

Bater is also involved with a women’s golf league — the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Amateur Golf Association — which, prior to its closure, played the City Park Golf Course every week in the summers, Bater said.

She served on the course’s Design Committee, which consisted of neighborhood residents, golfers and people with knowledge of the course’s history.

Bater believes the new course includes the best of both worlds — the familiarity of the old course paired a “fantastic, exciting and challenging” new design, she said.

As soon as it opens, the first thing Bater is going to do is book a tee time, buy a bucket of balls and hit her driver on the new driving range, she said.

But she added she is also looking forward to the 19th hole with the others on her women’s league. The 19th hole is what golfers say in reference to enjoying a drink after a game, Bater said.

“The city has many nice courses, but City Park is close to my heart,” Bater said. “It’s a city treasure.”

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