FORT WORTH -- There's plenty of action happening at Rockwood Golf Course on this sunny Monday. It's just not the kind of action the city was hoping for.
You see, by this point in the year, the city was hoping to have golfers -- not maintenance crews -- cruising the course. A year-long, $4.5-million full renovation of the historic golf course was supposed to have been finished by November.
"I'm probably the most disappointed," said Richard Zavala, who heads the city's parks and recreation department.
"Everybody did a phenomenal job, stayed on target, watched the project closely," Zavala said. "The one thing we cant control is Mother Nature."
And Mother Nature will now likely keep the course closed until next July, according to Zavala. He says the issue is two-fold.
One, a late spring meant grass suppliers weren't able to harvest the grass on time, leading to a late delivery on all the grass the golf course needed.
"There are bare areas there where it hasn't fully filled in," Zavala said.
Then, once they had the grass ready to plant, it rained -- a lot. And that soaking landscape meant crews had to push grass installation back even further.
"Normally, the drier the year the better, and the warmer year the better," said Mike Webb, who's the construction manager for this project for the company Heritage Links. Webb says they got neither, and some of the grass just hasn't grown in yet.
Now, we're heading into the winter months, where the grass will become dormant. Webb said grass will grow again once it warms up.
Parts of the front nine look good, Zavala said, but the back nine has sections where the greens are still covered in sand.
So, knowing this is a long-term investment, Zavala says the city decided to keep the course closed for now, even if it means disappointed golfers and a potentially big loss of revenue.
"The numbers right now are in the $600,000 to $700,000 range. And we continue to refine that," Zavala said, adding that they are trying to make adjustments to offset the revenue loss.
Zavala points out part of Rockwood's facilities remain open to the public: the driving range, practice greens, and the 3/6 hole practice course.
There are four public golf courses and seven private courses in Fort Worth. The city believe putting in the time and money Rockwood deserves will pay in dividends and bring golfers back to the once-declining course.
And if the weather cooperates next year, it could be open even earlier than July.
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