HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Carey Park Golf Course has been undergoing renovations since 2009. As of now, the course has five completed phases. The most recent update was phase five which was finished in 2021.
Golf Course Superintendent Matt Miller said there are three more phases in the city's project that need to be completed.
"Irrigation upgrades is kind of what's driving this so we started with our pump station," Miller said. "Upgraded the pump station and we are working out from there, replacing a 50-60 plus year old cast iron main line that were starting to have some issues with, and we are going to continue to have more issues with. We started there and we're working out from there, kind of in both directions. We've increased the size of that main line and we are relocating it. That cast main line was set up when they had a quick coupler system originally right down the center of the fairways. Every time we have an issue, we have to dig holes in the centers of the fairways, we are in the way. As we upgrade this with more modern stuff, we are also moving out into the roughs where we are not as in the way, so then all the valves will be located out into the roughs so if we have issues or when we have issues, we will be working not as directly in the path of golfers. Sprinklers are still out there but some of the issues will be less directly in the way."
Miller said it's possible that phase six will most likely have to be split up into two parts for budget reasons. In total, there are five more holes that need to be upgraded with the new irrigation system in the next phases.
He said so far, in addition to irrigation updates, there are also other issues that are being addressed.
"You know upgrading and adding tee space which we drastically need around the course, but we are also addressing the problem greens that we have," Miller said. "There's spots on greens that have been you know closely surrounded by mature cottonwood trees that we have to sod in spots every year because these trees are winning the battle for water, etc. So we are moving some of these greens. Rebuilding some of these greens and we are solving some of those problems. And we've had some areas that were severely sloped that we've been able to take some of those and soften some of those and been able to better maintain some of those. So we are looking at all those issues as we go around."
Miller said the golf course staff tries to keep the holes open on the course as much as they can during the renovations. But, sometimes staff has to close holes for days at a time or make adjustments.
"But we might build a temporary green or a spot with a hole out in front of it, of what is the green now, where we are rebuilding a green," Miller said. "If the new green is going behind, or if the existing green is, we can build that and get it pretty much ready before we take the old one out."
Miller said the initial goal when the project started was to start a new phase every other year. He said the start of the project which was phase 1, took a little bit of time to finish.
"First of all we don't want to be torn up every year so it kind of gives us a year to do the project to give us a year to grow it in and not be shut down and then work on you know what's coming on the next phase," Miller said. "It kind of lets us build up the funds you know over a two year time span and work on getting that ready."
Miller said the city is looking to begin the start of phase six next winter.
"A couple years later we'd be looking at you know the rest of those holes and then the final phase at the very end would be you know another final upgrade of probably software and hardware for pump station, irrigation control stuff," Miller said. "You know those controllers are all going to be 20 some years old again by the time this is all done. So we look at all that and then there are some grass types you know we are looking at the conversion over to zoysia in a lot of areas that we haven't done to some of those yet."
Miller said there is not a specific estimated cost for the project as of now.
Every time there is a new phase in the project, it goes out for bid by the city of Hutchinson. The last three phases have been completed by the same contractor. The first three were all completed by a different contractor.
Golf course staff have made some updates to the course when they can. Miller said the contractor's responsibility is to come in and do the bulk of the shaping and heavy equipment work.
"Building some tee boxes and some bunkers and things that we can handle when we know where they are going to be going and some things like that," Miller said. "But it's time. There's a lot of the work that we can do but with the small crew we have, we can't do it as a timely as they can come in and knock that out and still do the work that we trying to get done so the contractor does most of that big stuff."
So far, holes 1, 2 , 3 , 4 , 5, 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 14 , 13 , 17 and 18 have been completed.
Carey Park Golf Course is at 9 Emerson Loop in Carey Park. More information about the course is available at careyparkgolf.com.