ID Golf Course Between Rock and a Hard Place

Fri January 13, 2006 - West Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

A new golf course overlooking Lake Coeur D’Alene in northwest Idaho is being built on a solid foundation. solid rock, that is.

“The property is very mountainous,” explained Jade Work, vice president of Ranger Golf, the project’s prime contractor. “Eighty percent of the property is solid rock, so they’re drilling and blasting every hole, and then taking the rock and crushing it. Then we’re moving the crushed rock around to shape in the golf holes.”

Work explained that its portion of the project totals approximately $9 million. It began in August 2005, and will be wrapping the project up at the end of September 2006.

The project is under way at the Gozzer Ranch Golf & Lake Club, a gated community and member-owned golf club in Coeur D’Alene. It is being developed by Discovery Land Company, of San Francisco, and was designed by Tom Fazio.

“Discovery Land has an excellent reputation for preserving the character of the land and creating one-of-a-kind communities and golf courses,” Work noted. “Gozzer Ranch is an exciting challenge, allowing us to showcase Ranger Golf’s world-class workmanship.”

Ranger Golf is part of Ranger Construction, which is a division of Vicelleo Contracting. The golf division is headquartered in southern California, and builds golf courses primarily in the western United States.

Work noted that Ranger Golf is not doing the mass excavation or landscaping, but is in charge of the rough shaping, drainage, irrigation, sand capping, cart paths, grassing, and building the tees, greens, and bunkers. The project is located on a 650-acre alpine meadow.

This year, approximately 35 men were assigned to the job at Gozzer Ranch. The company is currently demobilizing because of the weather, but plans to come back in late March or early April, and will have approximately 70 men at work by mid-May.

After moving the rock to shape the holes, Work explained that the next step is putting in drainage and irrigation. Next, 7 in. of sand is placed on top of the rock to provide a medium for growing grass.

As with any project, Gozzer Ranch has had its share of challenges. Work listed them as “rock, ground water, snow, rock, rock, and rock.” He explained that every project is different, with some having problems with ground water, some with extreme heat, and some with access issues.

“With this project — it’s just a rock,” he said. “Every time you go to put a pipe in the ground, you’re encountering solid igneous basalt that has to be chipped away or blasted away. In other projects, when you dig a simple trench, in one day you could dig 1,000 feet of trench. Here, you might get 100 feet a day, or you might get less.”

Currently, Work noted that four holes are complete with shaping, drainage, and irrigation. On another five holes, shaping and drainage are complete. The company also just completed construction of the irrigation lake. Several hundred thousand cubic yards of rock are being moved for the project, and 110,000 tons of sand will be imported for the fairways. CEG

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