Business

Work progressing on golf course revamp

  • Major overhaul: greens like this one will be reconstructed in the coming months as the new-look St George’s Golf Course takes shape (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Signature hole: the view from the tee box of the tenth  (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Resort under construction: renovation at the golf course and what will be the new St Regis Hotel at St George’s (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Heavy lifting: work continues at the site of Hotelco’s new hotel and residences in St George’s (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • The new St Regis Hotel is taking shape at the Hotelco construction site in St George’s (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Undergoing makeover: the St George’s Golf Course (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Undergoing makeover: the St George’s Golf Course (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Developers are hoping to complete a comprehensive makeover of St George’s Golf Course before the end of next year.

Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd, which is building a new hotel and residences near St Catherine’s Beach, is also revamping the former government golf course, which was closed down by the club’s trustees more than a decade ago.

Now the group is asking for the public’s support in keeping motorised vehicles and horses off the course as work progresses on the reconstruction of key course features, including green and tee boxes.

December 2020 is the target for the completion of the course overhaul.

Meanwhile the 120-room hotel, which will be operated by St Regis, is about 30 per cent complete, according to Hotelco Bermuda’s general manager Laura Purroy.

She added that the residences are about 15 per cent complete and that Hotelco hopes to have a model room and a model residence built before the end of this year.

There are 128 workers on site, of whom 68 are Bermudian. Another beneficial economic side-effect of the project is that Hotelco rents 25 homes in the area to house some of its guest workers. It also buys 60 meals a day from Somers Supermart and a further 30 meals from the St George’s Club.

On February 18 this year, the Hotelco team began clearing vegetation including small trees from the overgrown golf course.

Five months later, the clearing work is now 90 per cent done and the team is already working on the next phase: reconstruction of key features, including tees, greens and bunkers.

Ms Purroy said: “This work has been a pleasant experience for all the team, especially thanks to the kindness of the people of Bermuda and the beauty of this wonderful island.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from our neighbours to preserve the work already done at the course.

“As we advance our efforts to restore this beautiful course to its former glory, we would like to request the support of the public in refraining from driving motor vehicles or riding horses on the golf course. As work progresses, certain golf cart paths will be restricted for the transit of private vehicles.

“The public’s understanding in this regard will help our efforts to create a first-class golf course, which will be enjoyed by the people of Bermuda and our visitors alike for many years to come, a course for the island to be proud of.”

Salomon Valles, landscape and hardscape supervisor and the chief engineer for the project, said: “It is very important to mention that this is mostly a restoration project with just two new holes and the upgrading of the greens contours done by Steve Weisser of Reeds Jones golf architects.

“Our main mission is to make this golf course environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sustainable, and with that in mind we are going to use materials that are available in Bermuda, many of them recycled materials.”

Recycled glass, for example is being used in new drainage trenches, while the sand dug out during work on the hotel is being used in golf course reconstruction work.

Alexander Capitillo, the golf course redesign supervisor, said there would be a change in the route of the course, with the old 18th hole becoming the new first hole, and the 18th now being down near the hotel.

He said the tenth, which follows a stretch of spectacular coastline, will be the course’s signature hole.

A 120-space parking lot will also be provided, close to a practice area, ideal for players to practise their short game.

The course will total about 3,600 yards and will be par-60, with 12 par-three holes and the rest, par-fours.