Permit appeals withdrawn, RSF Golf Club to begin phase three of course update

The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club's short game area will be enhanced in the next phase of the renovation.
(Karen Billing)

The next phase of the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club renovation project, an update of the driving range and short game area, will begin this month.

At a special board meeting on March 29, the Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved the contract for the next phase of the golf course project, projected to cost $4 million.

Last fall the board approved a $2.6 million cost for phase three. The larger price tag reflects increased construction costs due to the delays related to acquiring a major grading permit, losing their first contractor and additional costs of bury pit restoration. Bury pits are commonly used in golf course construction, when old surface material like the cement rubble from a ripped-up cart path is buried rather than being hauled away.

The first two phases of the project were $7.5 million, bringing the new total cost of the complete golf course renovation to $11.5 million. All of the costs are being absorbed by the golf club.

“What these delays and additional conditions cost are approximately three quarters of a million dollars,” RSF Golf Club Manager Todd Huizinga said. “We’ve done everything that we can to watch the costs of the project. None of us are excited that the project has reached this level of financial impact for everybody.”

Last month several appeals were filed with San Diego County over the approval of the major grading permit for the course renovation, a retroactive approval of work already completed in addition to the future work. All of the appeals have now been withdrawn and the county gave the golf club the go-ahead last week.

“We’re all very excited to get started,” Huizinga said, noting that the timing will result in ideal growing conditions for the grass. The phase three work includes new grassing and sod, feature sand, a new cart path and fencing.

The San Dieguito County Planning board had recommended the removal of the bury pit as part of their permit review and while removing the bury pit was not a condition of the county’s permit, the golf club voluntarily agreed to do so. RSF Association Director Greg Gruzdowich suggested that the Association and golf club split the $101,000 cost of the bury pit remediation as the project was also under Association staff oversight. RSF Association President Dan Comstock recommended that the board will discuss that at a future meeting; the board’s next regular meeting will be April 13.

The golf club’s construction timeline now is to first remove and remediate the contents of the bury pit, which they hope to complete by the third week of April. The plan is to begin phase three on April 24 with a 12-week construction period wrapping up by mid-July. Huizinga said they are optimistic that they will complete the project ahead of schedule.

At the special meeting, the board also assigned directors Phil Trubey and Scott Thurman to oversee this last phase of the renovation project.