OCEANSIDE — After being closed for four months of renovations, the Goat Hill municipal golf course celebrated a reopening of its greens the first weekend in February. The opening weekend included North County Junior Golf Association awards, a live band and half price golf rounds on Sunday.
Peter Spiers, the course operations manager, said the first weekend brought more golfers than expected.
“We accidentally hit the ball out of park,” Spiers said. “We were slammed over the weekend. We had lines out the door. It was a very successful opening.”
Golfers enjoyed upgrades to the 18-hole short course. Fairways are improved, and t-boxes are reshaped and re-sodded. Native grasses are planted on hilly areas, and decomposed granite fills in areas that are not in play.
“We changed a lot of areas that were unplayable, and made areas a lot more useable,” Spiers said. “It’s a solid quality course. It used to be a dirt track.”
Golfers who were out last Sunday said playing on the course after improvements is a night and day difference.
“I’m real happy it’s open again,” Alex Bravo, of San Diego, said.
“I played through the ruddiness,” Kevin Forbess, of Carlsbad, said.
The vibrant green of the course was complimented, and will be further improved. Recycled water is expected to be delivered to the site within a year.
Recycled water pipelines are in the ground, and $1.5 million in plumbing work has been completed by the golf course. A pump station still needs to be put in place before the recycled water can be delivered.
Once the recycled water is flowing, the drought-tolerant water source will allow fairways to stay green all year. The use of recycled water also lessens the demand on the city’s potable water supply.
“It will be very beautiful all year round,” Spiers said. “There will be a good piece of grass to play off.”
Spiers said a formal grand opening will be held once recycled water is delivered to the site.
The golf course has come a long way in the past 18 months. Goat Hill Partners, headed by John Ashworth, took over course management in July 2014, with the goals to teach golf to youth, upgrade the course and make it financially sustainable.
Within three months Goat Hill Partners put a new roof on the clubhouse, made electrical improvements, renovated the open-air bar and posted new signage. A new fleet of golf carts was added, and major cleanup was done to the 72-acre grounds.
Prior to the new management the city provided minimal maintenance to the half-century-old course. The golf course was built in 1952 on land donated to the city, and redesigned by Ludwig Keehn to be a short course in the early 1990s.
Goat Hill golf course continues to boast a friendly, neighborhood feel and the lowest rates in the region.