The Bluffs will receive face-lift by David Lias The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion is only about two years old, but despite its young age, it will be undergoing a face-lift soon.
Actually, work on the city-owned course will be focused primarily on the 10th hole. The present configuration of the hole is placing a few homes located nearby in harm's way from errant golf shots.
This spring, the city tried solving the problem by erecting a large net near the green. Golf balls still strayed on private property, however, and the Vermillion City Council, with the help of the City Manager Jeff Pederson and an architectural review committee, have spent much of this year exploring options that would alleviate the problem.
Byron Bymers, chairman of the committee, addressed the city council Monday, and presented the committee's recommendations.
* Mitigating one acre of current wetlands on the east (left) side of the fairway on hole #10.
* Building berms and sand bunkers on the west (right) side of the #10 fairway starting directly north of the current wetlands by the #10 green, and proceeding approximately 300 feet. The berms will be approximately 45 feet wide and approximately 30 feet east of the current west boundary. The berms will be three feet high and be planted with native grasses and wild flowers. They will be maintained at a height that would result in an unplayable lie. Bymers said fill material is available from a current stockpile located at the golf course.
* Removing the bushes on the #10 tee, and removing the east side of the blue/white tee box. The west side of the tee will be extended forward to the current cart path. No changes will be made to #10's gold and red tees.
* The planting of trees starting at strategic locations. The trees will be the largest size that can be moved with locally available tree planting equipment. The intent is to move as many trees from the old golf course as possible.
Bymers said the city street crew should be available in approximately three weeks to start the filling in of wetlands on the left side of the #10 fairway and also the building of berms and sand bunkers. If the weather cooperates, he said, the majority of the work could be completed in three weeks.
He added that the tree planting could proceed after after the berms and bunkers were completed. A tree moving company with equipment that would allow the transplanting of larger trees from the city's old golf course to The Bluffs has been located in Sioux Falls. The work on the tees could be done this fall or next spring depending on the weather.
Estimated cost of the improvements is between $20,000 and $30,000. The funds will come from the golf course enterprise fund.