Applecross Country Club Community, featuring more than 1,000 town, carriage, classic, estate and active adult homes, is currently under construction in East Brandywine Township, approximately 4 mi. from Downingtown, Pa. Once fully inhabited, the 860-acre development is expected to double the local population.
The upscale community is a partnership venture by Pulte Homes, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., ClubCorp, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and Nicklaus Design of North Palm Beach, Fla. Its centerpiece will be the first golf course in southeastern Pennsylvania designed by Nicklaus Design, its lead architect being Michael Nicklaus, son of the famous golfer.
The 18-hole, 7,000-yd., par-72 course will spread over 200 acres of the development, and its design calls for several holes to incorporate the local terrain. The course also will boast a 22,000 sq. ft. clubhouse providing a pro shop, locker rooms, and a full-service restaurant. While the course itself will be private, the public will be able to patronize the restaurant.
Site development and earthwork for the Applecross course is being handled by Brubacher Excavating Inc., headquartered in Bowmansville, Pa. Begun in January this year, the job is on schedule, with 25 percent of the approximately five-year project already completed.
Initial preparation of the site involved drilling and blasting.
“Between February 2 and September 7 we shot in excess of 14,000 cubic yards of rock at Applecross,” Keith Brubacher, president, said. “For this part of the job we also utilized Reedrill 345 and Atlas Copco D7-11 hydraulic track drills.”
Currently, Brubacher Excavating is carrying out earthwork, with cut and fill operations simultaneously under way on the golf course and in residential areas. Utility crews are installing sanitary, storm, and water infrastructure and curb, with aggregate and asphalt work also proceeding.
Brubacher has approximately 40 workers on-site with more than 25 major pieces of equipment. These include six Caterpillar 627 twin-engine scrapers, working in push-pull arrangements where space permits, stripping topsoil and cutting and filling for basins, streets, lots and the golf course. Trimble GPS-equipped machinery in use includes Caterpillar D8R and D6M and Deere 700H and 650J bulldozers.
The company also is employing a Caterpillar 135H to fine grade streets. Caterpillar 345B, Deere 450C, and Volvo EC360 excavators are handling underground utility installation, with Case 580M and Deere 310E backhoes equipped with Stanley plate tampers compacting utility trenches.
Utility crews and site grading are supported by Deere 624J and Caterpillar 953C and 963B loaders, with compaction provided by Ingersoll Rand SD105DX, SD100D and DD16 rollers. In addition, a Power Curber 5700B is carrying out slip forming concrete curb work.
Brubacher’s fleet of equipment at Applecross is largely owned by the company, which assigns operators to specific units after its training department has equipped employees with the manufacturer’s safety, maintenance and operating procedures for their individual machines.
“About 90 percent of our major pieces of equipment are assigned to a specific operator who uses and cares for it on a consistent basis,” Brubacher explained. “While this policy has been more challenging to maintain as we have grown, we believe that the higher sense of pride and ownership our employees develop is worth the occasional inconveniences. It also establishes accountability for equipment care and daily maintenance. Assigned machines typically cost us a few dollars per hour less to operate than one that has been passed around to numerous people.”
No problems have been experienced thus far, although, as Brubacher pointed out, given the variables of state and municipal approvals, engineering requirements, strictly enforced erosion and sedimentation controls, and the weather, they can always arise on multiple fronts.
“However, Brubacher Excavating Inc. has become very experienced in finding solutions, and heavily relies on a teamwork approach to adapt and overcome problems and obstacles impeding site progress,” he added.
It is anticipated the Applecross course will be completed soon, followed by a “grow-in” period during next spring and fall and an official opening in the spring of 2009, with the club house and restaurant opening that summer.
About the Companies
Brubacher Excavating Inc. was founded in 1971 by Ben Brubacher. Its work area includes southeastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, and Maryland. Past projects include Ledgerock Golf Course, Berks County, Pa., Raven’s Claw, a 260-acre residential/golf course community in Montgomery County, Pa., Boulder Business Park, Lehigh County, Pa., and Dupont Visitor’s Center & Nemours Garden in Wilmington, Del.
Brubacher Excavating Inc. was named a Gold Level Achiever in Construction Safety by the Keystone Chapter of The Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. in 2005.
Pulte Homes Inc. has built almost half a million homes in 27 states since it was founded almost 60 years ago. It is the largest builder of communities for active adults aged 55 and up in the United States.
ClubCorp Inc. was founded in 1957 and now operates over 200 facilities, including resorts and golf clubs, in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Mexico.
Founded in 1973 by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, Nicklaus Design has created some 300 courses world wide and in 38 states. Nicklaus was named the world’s leading course designer by Golf Digest in 1999. CEG