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THE HOME COURSE, CONSTRUCTED BY WADSWORTH GOLF, CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING IN DUPONT, WA
HOME GROWN: The Home Course returns golf to state roots in DuPont
Jul 05, 2007 (The News Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Five-star trimmings for a pre-opening gala weren't budgeted, nor was a high-ranking executive invited to hit the ceremonial first tee shot to signal its arrival. The Home Course debuted Friday nearly four years after construction started on the DuPont property.
And its understated opening was in stark contrast to that of higher-profile neighbor Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, which opened June 23.
Even with its dazzling views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier, The Home Course is unlike Chambers Bay, or any new golf course in the area.
It's a meeting point for a lot of meshing interests.
"The whole place will tell a story when you visit it and play it," said John Bodenhamer, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and Washington State Golf Association.
Golf in Washington is believed to have been started there in the 1830s, when traders from the Hudson's Bay Co. at old Fort Nisqually designed a six-hole layout.
In 1906, the DuPont Co. purchased the land and built a plant that produced explosives -- black powder and dynamite to help clear land for farming and to help railroad development.
The Weyerhaeuser Co. acquired the land in the late 1970s. By 1991, the Washington State Department of Ecology determined it to be a Superfund site, and the company agreed to a remediation process.
Instead of transporting millions of cubic yards of contaminated dirt elsewhere, Weyerhaeuser opted to bury the soil by building a golf course on top of it.
Mike Asmundson, a landscape architect from Port Townsend, not only had dabbled in golf course design, he was part of a remediation project at the Coeur d'Alene Resort in Idaho, transforming an old lumber mill into one of the finest courses in the region.
Drawing on his experience, he led a project in DuPont that had two distinct phases:
--In 2004, nearly 1 million cubic yards of polluted soil from 700 acres was moved around an 80-acre area on the course. The dirty soil was placed in seven clean-up areas, which can be seen prominently near the driving range and near the seventh, eighth, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th holes.
Because no digging was allowed, placement areas on some holes, notably No. 8, "kept getting bigger and bigger," Asmundson said, adding he was satisfied with that, because "that is what the project was about."
--After 11 years of remediation planning and one year of moving dirt, the Wadsworth Golf Construction Co. started building the course in 2005.
In his final design, Asmundson could see the two phases would overlap, so he took that into account on some of the course's notable features while moving dirt.
"Generally speaking, in the construction of a course, it's cut and fill. There was no cut here," said Kelly Donaldson, another key figure in the construction, and now superintendent of The Home Course. "All that had to be thought out well in advance."
One of Asmundson's design strengths, and he certainly implemented it at The Home Course, was configuring a course that was maintenance friendly.
For example, the rye-grass fairways and bent-grass greens will require little fertilization.
Bunkers are so big, workers can use a mower to shave them down. And oversized irrigation pipes were used for drainage.
"It was a conscious choice to build a sustainable golf course," Donaldson said.
The entire project cost $4.9 million, Asmundson said.
Since 1990, the PNGA had expressed its desire to buy a course somewhere between Olympia and Everett. Several plans fell through -- one of which was to purchase McCormick Woods in Port Orchard in 2003.
That same year, Weyerhaeuser approached Bodenhamer about the PNGA's interest in the DuPont course.
All along, Bodenhamer contended if the PNGA was going to have a course, it needed to be a public facility, it needed to be of championship caliber, to host some of the association's best events, and it needed to be walkable.
This venue met all terms.
"This is a place we thought was ideal for us," Bodenhamer said, "and why all the others didn't happen."
The Environmental Protection Agency concluded years of testing early in 2007, and indicated to the PNGA, which officially bought the facility last month, The Home Course would be ready to open to the public this summer.
"This will be the first golf course I know of that was mature when it opened," Donaldson said. "When people invest that much money in a course, they need a return, so they open as quickly as possible.
"The reason this course was built was to meet remediation ... and has been ready to play for over a year. I think (golfers) will be shocked to see it is as far along as it is."
THE HOME COURSE
Opened: Last Friday.
Owner: Pacific Northwest Golf Association/Washington State Golf Association.
Architect: Mike Asmundson.
Yardage: The course has five sets of tees, ranging from 5,506 yards to 7,437 yards, and plays to a par of 72.
Green fees: $35 to $45 for WSGA members, with discounts for juniors and senior citizens. $45 to $55 for non-members, with discounts for juniors and senior citizens.
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