Desert Willow's Firecliff golf course in Palm Deert will close in mid-May for a $632,000 bunker renovation project.
It's the first time since opening in 1996 that the 18-hole public course will undergo a renovation, said Martin Alvarez, director of economic development.
The city-owned Desert Willow Golf Resort’s 18-hole Mountain View course, which was renovated in 2010, will remain open for golfers.
The bunkers on the Firecliff course draw the only negative comments from golfers, Alvarez said.
“Years of wear and tear and sand contamination … has led to inconsistency of the sand condition and play,” Alvarez said.
The removal of some and combination of others will reduce the course's 105 bunkers by 45 percent, which will improve the quality and speed of play, he said.
Reducing bunkers by size but not location “allows us to improve on the quality of the experience,” Alvarez said.
Because bunker maintenance is so labor intensive, the renovation is also expected to save the city $100,000 per year.
New drainage, liners and sand will also be added to the bunkers as part of the renovation, Alvarez said.
The Firecliff course is expected to reopen in November after overseeding.
More than 80,000 rounds of golf are played at Desert Willow per year, Alvarez said.
Earth Sculptures Inc. of Indio will perform the work after coming in with the lowest of two bids.
Funds for the renovation have been put aside over the past two years, totaling $600,000, and the City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the remaining $32,000 plus 10 percent contingency for the project.
“It is time to invest in our investment,” Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik said.
Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the cities of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org