The old saying is that everyone complains about the weather but no one does anything about it. Well, the same is not so true concerning golf’s pace of play, at least not at Dove Mountain in Arizona. A $1 million renovation at the Highlands course led by Ken Kavanaugh, ASGCA (Kenneth M. Kavanaugh Golf Course Design), is positively impacting not only pace, but golfer enjoyment.
Tuesday at the Highlands at Dove Mountain, 28 foursomes completed play in less than four hours, which is truly as much of a golf miracle as a rebuilt Tiger Woods winning the Masters at age 43.
No waiting. Imagine that.
“This is a cruise ship,” said golf course architect Ken Kavanaugh, the most prominent golf course designer in Tucson history. “Everybody’s having fun.”
(The Highlands) closed for four months last summer, spending a bit more than $1 million in a restoration of its bunkers, greens, tees, putting green and driving range. It cleared away so much desert vegetation that it eliminated almost all of the blind shots on the course.
There are fewer lost balls and much less time looking for lost balls. The areas around the greens have become more player-friendly. The views are remarkable.
“We believe we have a faster pace of play, lower scores and happier golfers,” Preston Otte said.
Otte says the Highlands, which is open to public play, hired the prolific Kavanaugh, architect and redesigner at such Southern Arizona golf facilities as Quail Creek, Dell Urich, El Rio and Silverbell, because “he’s finicky and picky; as a client, we loved his attention to detail.”
When the Highlands hired Kavanaugh last spring, it gave him the keys to the cart shack. Something of a workaholic, Kavanaugh would arrive at all hours of the day — even when it was 110 degrees — and open the cart barn, drive to an area of the course needing restoration and dig in.
“I was on-site for 250 hours,” he says. “I’m very pleased with the final result.”
As Kavanaugh was talking about the Highlands restoration, a dozen golf carts whizzed by near the 18th green. The afternoon shotgun start was about to begin, with scores of golfers headed to faraway greens on Dove Mountain.
“You know it’s working,” said Otte, “when you have two shotgun starts on a Tuesday.”
The complete Tucson.com article can be found here.