Upgrading Fort Pierce, Florida's Kings Highway

Contractor Stays the Course Through Saturated Conditions

Fri August 31, 2007 - Southeast Edition
Jeff Cronin



On a golf course, water hazards can prove to be a challenge for those who walk the links.

At Hampton Pointe near Hilton Head, S.C., water is already proving to be a challenge while the course is still under construction.

NewCourse Golf Inc., based in Carthage, N.C., is constructing a 200 acre course designed by Jack Nicklaus as part of an 850 acre residential development with more than 30 acres of wetlands within the 18-hole, 7,322-yd. (6,695 m) golf course’s corridors.

The on site material is extremely saturated and requires the dirt to be moved by excavator and dump trucks said President Bob Richard. In order to provide the best possible playing conditions and enhance the drainage runoff from the golf course, a large number of water hazards are planned for the course — one on nearly every hole, Richard said.

Due to the relative flatness of the existing terrain, drainage crews are expected to install approximately 60,000 ft. (18,288 m) of pipe at Hampton Pointe, compared to the average of 15,000 ft. (4,572 m) on most golf courses The drainage system will pipe water from the golf course into the lagoons and then off into wetlands.

The golf course is being built in two phases to allow potential homebuyers a glimpse of the completed project. Three holes were completed in November 2006. The rest should be complete by July 2008.

NewCourse crews arrived at the site in August 2006 after it had already been cleared and grubbed by Cleland Construction Co. of Okatie, S.C.

Cleland also moved approximately 400,000 cu. yd. of dirt on seven holes of the course in Phase One of the project. Because of a delay in permitting for Phase Two, NewCourse Golf needed a hand in moving the material to get back on schedule and continues to work in conjunction with Cleland to move an additional 500,000 cu. yd. (382,277 cu m) on the rest of the course. Richard said the golf course site is balanced and will not require additional fill material to achieve the desired landforms and features.

Because of the amount of dirt that needs to be moved, NewCourse added two new John Deere 250 dump trucks and a 270 excavator from R.W. Moore and Salesman Brian Metcalf. NewCourse Golf already had a John Deere 200 excavator, a 750 crawler dozer, an 850 crawler dozer and multiple 650 crawler dozers in its fleet.

“When working on a project of this caliber it’s crucial to have a reliable partner,” said Richard. “R.W. Moore has provided us with the John Deere equipment needed to complete the project and we feel fortunate to be able to work with such a trustworthy equipment company.”

In order to achieve the detailed grading demanded by golf course work, NewCourse is using Topcon’s base and rover GPS system, which Richard said is new to his sector of construction.

“We use it to get everything in quicker,” Richard said of the GPS.

He said lake excavation, staking and the location of property lines are completed faster with the GPS.

Richard said the highlights of the Hampton Pointe course include “unique” bunkering and greens with a lot of movement. The greens will be covered with a relatively new type of grass — Mini Verde Bermuda grass — that creates a durable and fast-rolling surface. He said it should reduce maintenance costs for the course owner, too.

NewCourse has been in business for five years, in which time it has constructed golf courses at Philadelphia Country Club, Raleigh Country Club and TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.

Richard, whose parents managed a restaurant on a golf course in California, grew up around the sport. After working as an engineering contractor, he decided to make a career in what was a major part of his youth.

He said golf course construction is a tough market to get into, but he’s proud of his early success and hopes to get the opportunity to work with different architects. CEG