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RSF Golf Club turf removal project gets green light

RANCHO SANTA FE — The clock is ticking for the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club’s turf removal project. Though, in order to receive its $1.62 million rebate, the project must be completed by Dec. 24.

The cost of the project sits at $1.185 million, leaving a profit of roughly $400,000 once completed and the rebate is received from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD).

Al Castro, RSF Golf Club general manager, gave the RSF Board of Directors an all-inclusive update.

And ultimately, the board of directors unanimously approved 18-acres of turf removal at its 112-acre golf course.

“We are requesting funding to be able to start the Turf Removal Project which includes 18 acres of turf removal,” said Castro, adding how this has been discussed and agreed to by other committees and board members. “The biggest impact of this is the fact that we are going to be able to remove 18 acres from irrigation.”

Castro pointed out that their golf course superintendent, Tim Barrier, continues to work with the Santa Fe Irrigation District on this project. Barrier discovered there was a rebate available for commercial projects of this size that pays $2 a square foot for every square foot removed under turf irrigation.

Castro told the Directors that the budget included turf removal, planting of native material, removing 84 trees and planting 105 trees at different locations.

About 75 days ago, Castro said, the Santa Fe Irrigation District walked the course, photographed, and studied it for several hours. Following this, appropriate paperwork was submitted to the MWD and the RSF Golf Course received approval for the rebate.

“We received approval via email, indicating on July 18th that we had 160 days to complete the project which means Dec. 24 would be the deadline; and, to submit proof that the project has been completed in the areas indicated to turf being removed,” Castro said.

The MWD would also return back to the course for project completion verification. Once officially approved, the rebate is tentatively scheduled 90 days following this.

While some of the turf removal is located in some internal areas of the course, Castro said, those areas would not affect players. Castro said majority of the turf removal will be areas including the edge of the golf course, cart path, and trails.

“We would like to begin this project in earnest immediately in order for us to make the deadline,” said Castro, reminding the Board that the project was approved on July 18.

Temporary funding for this project will be divided into two areas.

The first will be $300,000 from the RSF Golf Club free reserves, and the other portion, $800,000 from the Covenant Enhancement Fund.

RSF Association acting manager Ivan Holler explained the financials and provided a recommendation the Board approved.

“The Golf Club free reserves and Covenant Enhancement funds used for this project shall be replaced within the current fiscal year using the reimbursement rebate from MWD with the obligation to repay,” Holler said, adding how the Golf Club was responsible for this. “And the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors shall execute an internal memo agreeing to those terms.”

RSF Association Treasurer Kim Eggleston brought up how the $400,000 excess from the MWD rebate should be utilized.

“We believe strongly at the board that those funds that are in excess of this project need to be put into our reserves,” said RSF Golf Club president Steve Dunn. “I’m not sure how many of you are aware of the fact that the last couple of years, we’ve had to dig pretty deeply in our reserve accounts to handle some excess costs that we had there.

“We at the board are very conscious of that and would like to re-enhance that reserve balance so it would get to where we typically are at the end of the fiscal year; and, with that roughly $400,000, that would give us a little bit of a cushion,” he added.

Looking ahead, Dunn also wanted everyone to know that they have a significant project of redoing a 30-year-old sprinkler system.

While Eggleston voiced being “prudent” with the $400,000 excess, he and other members agreed on moving forward with the turf removal project while adding how the extra monies would somehow be filtered for golf club purposes.