RSF Golf Club eyes potential golf course renovation

A Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club renovation proposal includes reshaping the bunkers and returfing.

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board recently approved the RSF Golf Club’s $165,000 expenditure to hire well-known golf course architect David McClay-Kidd to develop construction documents for a proposed golf course renovation.

The board’s Oct. 1 vote was not a green light for the entire project but rather just for the first step as RSF Golf Club Manager Brad Shupe hopes to get a better scope and budget for the proposed renovation, which is estimated to cost $6 million. The funds for the upgrade would come out of the RSF Golf Club’s reserves and the club members would also need to vote to approve the project before it moves forward.

In April 2019, the board approved the golf club’s plan to hire McClay-Kidd to help update the golf club’s master plan, which is redone every 10 years. The master plan update involves making improvements to the course’s playability as well as an irrigation system redesign—the “antiquated” system is at the end of its 30-year life cycle.

Shupe said they have put in a lot of effort to gather member input on what is most needed at the course.

“The feedback we’ve got is that everybody loves the golf course,” Shupe said. “Some people are frustrated with the turf on the fairways and the other frustration is being able to physically get your body in and out of our sand traps or bunkers because of the style that they were built with and over time how they developed.”

The renovation plans would include reshaping the bunkers to make them more user-friendly and the biggest expense would be re-turfing the course. Shupe said they are evaluating different types of turf that require less water and survive on lower water quality as well as turf that stays green, not going as visibly dormant.

“We think that will be great for golfers but also for the community, to look at a greener, healthier-looking golf course,” Shupe said.

The $165,000 expenditure will help the golf club develop construction drawings and get a more effective budget for the project, which by early estimates would take five months for construction with the goal to have nine holes open the majority of the time.

While he approved this first step, RSF Association Director Rick Sapp requested that the golf club come back to the board at a future meeting with a full description of the entire project that would include financial assumptions and impacts.