In the five years since Rockwind Community Links has been built, the City of Hobbs has boasted the golf course is one of the best municipal golf courses in the New Mexico and the U.S.
And it has the pedigree to prove it. A slew of awards regarding the course’s design and layout have been earned.
But now Rockwind is having a drainage problem and it’s going to cost around $1.8 million to fix.
During the discussion portion of Monday’s Hobbs City Commission meeting, Parks and Open Spaces Department Director Bryan Wagner let the commission know of some barren spots popping up on the course.
“Recently we have seen some conditions happening on the golf course where we have some bald areas, barren areas where grass is not growing,” Wagner said. “The staff has tried numerous things to get grass to grow. We’ve had a couple of assessments done by the United States Golf Association recently, and in their findings we are having issues with drainage.”
Wagner said staff wanted to find some vendors to devise a master drainage plan. Officials from Marrero, La.-based Turf Drain of America, Inc., assessed the course this past summer and created such a plan. The company designs and installs drainage systems on golf courses and has been doing so since 1983.
Wagner handed off the presentation to Zachary Boudreaux of Turf Drain of America, who told the commission the problem with the course is “a salt issue.”
There are areas on the course where the water used is not properly collected and drained, so as it seeps into the ground, the salt and sediment within the water stays on the top soil causing damage to the grass.
“Not only does this hamper plant growth, but it will also get down and control the soil structure over time,” Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux said the only way to correct the issue is with a drainage system that will flood the salts and sediments out of the soil and into the course’s pond or creek , which flows into the pond. The need is a seepage collection system and a transportation system to the pond or creek.
According to Boudreaux’s presentation, one of the main goals is to correct this issue without closing the golf course.
Boudreaux wanted to make sure the commission knows the effluent water used to water the course was not the issue. The amount of salt within the water is at a level is safe to use. Again the problem is the accumulation of the salt on the topsoil after the water seeps into the ground or evaporates.
Boudreaux said the time frame to complete the project for both the 18-hole golf course and the 9-hole, par-3 course, is around 28 weeks at an estimated cost of $1.8 million.
“(The project) can be done in phases if the city so chooses,” Boudreaux said.
Following the presentation Commissioner Don Gerth asked what golf courses similar to Rockwind’s terrain and area has this system been used. Boudreaux said The Players Championship Scottsdale golf course that hosts an annual professional golf tournament.
Mayor Sam Cobb asked how the salt and sediment could be safely removed from the pond once it gets there? Boudreaux didn’t have an answer, saying the whole goal is to have the pond be the end destination for the salt and sediment. That led Cobb to giving Boudreaux some homework.
“Because our lake … at the bottom is caliche, so it has a liner in it,” Cobb said. “You can’t just drain it and then go out there with a backhoe and start scrapping or you’ll tear up the liner because then you have a huge problem,” Cobb said. “Can you give us an estimation? You may not be able to do it tonight, but can you give us an estimation of what you think the sediment buildup would be per year?”
Boudreaux said he would have to consult course staff members to find that answer.
Because the topic was only a discussion item, no votes were taken in approval or disapproval of the plan.
In other business, the commission:
• Unanimously approved the authorization of $125,000 in CARES Act funding from the state to 25 local businesses. Since funding started on Oct. 5, there have been 47 approvals for funding of $5,000 each. Some businesses have been approved more than once.
• Unanimously approved the transfer of six liquor licenses from Allsup’s to BW Gas & Convenience Retail, LLC.
• Unanimously approved construction of Unit 7 of the Zia Crossings subdivision being built west of the ZiaPark Casino and Racetrack. The unit is 25 acres in length for 99 homes to be built.