A rebirth is the only word to describe the total remodeling of the Lakewood Golf Club’s Azalea course at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, AL.
Working throughout the 96 acres that the course covers, massive machines daily excavate and move dirt to ready the area for the course designed by Bobby Vaughan.
This $4-million project, being funded by the Point Clear Holding Company, began in December and is scheduled to be completed in mid-August.
Remodeling of Dogwood, the club’s other l8-hole course, was completed in 2003.
Phillips and Jordan Construction Company, Knoxville, TN, under the auspices of its Golf Division located in Zepherhills, FL, have the contract for this work.
Vice President Niall Fraser, who is supervising the renovation, said that the company has not faced any unsurmountable problems and that the work is going forward on schedule.
“This course is easier than the Dogwood Course, which we also did, because unlike it, Azalea’s mostly on high ground. There are some wetlands that require special care and we’re able to deal with them,” Fraser said. “We’re considering a boardwalk that will allow guests to see and enjoy the area’s natural wildlife and plants.”
Caterpillar equipment operating throughout the 96-acre site include 330, 345 and 442 excavators, a 350 dump truck and a D6 dozer.
That machinery is joined by John Deere 650 and 450 bulldozers and two John Deere tractors. The construction company owns the equipment and will provide other machines if needed.
Currently at the site, 95,000 cu. yds. (72,600 cu m) of sand and dirt have been moved. According to Fraser, no dirt or additional fill will be required because the hilly area is providing it.
Over time, approximately 100 workers will be needed to complete the project and approximately 25 are currently working at the site.
“To prepare it, we stripped the grasses and buried them,” Fraser said. “The holes will be layered with all but three having a sandy base. The remaining three will be based with clay.”
The site covers 96 acres (39 ha), 56 (23 ha) of which will be regrassed with 4.2 million sq. ft. (390,000 sq m) of Bermuda grass and 40 acres (16 ha) of sod.
Also at the site are 13,000 ft. (4,000 m) of 18-ft.-long storm drains. Complete irrigation facilities are planned.
Sub-contractors include Woerner Turf of Foley, AL; International Irrigation of West Palm Beach, FL, and Golf Paths Unlimited, of Ciston, GA.
Jim Simpson, Lakewood’s director of golf, also is helping to make this project successful. He said that mid-August of this year is the projected date for finishing Azalea. Both residents and outside golfers have shown interest and patience as the construction continues, he said.
Simpson explained that Azalea’s first nine holes, built in 1948, were in need of renovation and, while the second nine in 1986 were less so, both sets were incorporated into this project.
Tim Winstead, Lakewood’s grounds superintendent, also described the undertaking as a major overhaul that goes “hand-in-hand” with the recent modernization of the Grand Hotel, which is located directly across Scenic Highway 98.
As a construction company, Phillips and Jordan Inc., founded in 1952, has enjoyed a successful history. Among its early projects were the West Virginia Turnpike in the early 1950s and the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Utah in the 1960s.
A lead firm in the clean-up of the World Trade Center disaster, company officials said it is the largest dirt moving company in the country. CEG