Half of the Lakes Course could be open by Thanksgiving | New

THELawyers for the Ahwatukee Lakes hearing grabbed weeds – and lakes, trees, irrigation gates and sand – as owner Wilson Gee’s right-hand man said he expected to have nine holes on the besieged course open for play by Thanksgiving.

Terry Dugan’s prediction came as three days of three-week testimony ended on October 6 in a hearing to determine whether Gee’s company, ALCR, is expected to be valued up to $ 500,000 for allegedly failing to follow a judge’s schedule for course restoration.

It could be that half of the 18-hole executive course opens before Superior Court judge Sara Agne rules on two owners’ demand to fine Gee for contempt.

Agne has set a schedule for Lakes attorney Daniel Maynard and homeowners attorney Tim Barnes for the final briefs in the case, with Barnes having the final say before the Nov. 19 deadline.

But that puts him within a week of the targeted opening of the nine holes on the east side of the course. Dugan said he expects ryegrass to be planted there between Oct. 18-25, while the west side cannot be completed until next year – with a view to opening the entire 105 acre site for golf by September 1st.

“We hope to be open no later than Thanksgiving,” Dugan said. “This weekend we would like to open it up and turn it on so we have time to go through all the details.”

As President of Foothills Golf Group, Dugan is Gee’s longtime pointer for its golf courses here as well as The Duke in Maricopa. Dugan said of his 40 years in the golf industry the last 16 have been with Gee.

Barnes wants Agne to find Gee’s company, ALCR, in violation of the first of three deadlines set last November by Superior Court Judge Theodore Campagnolo when he found Gee in contempt of court for failing to obey to the order of a third judge to restore the course.

Campagnolo said last year that Gee must pay $ 500,000 if he doesn’t complete the design by June 1, 2021; An additional $ 1 million if he did not start work by August 31, 2021; and an additional $ 2 million if the course is not open by September 2022.

But he also asked Gee to show Barnes his plans – a directive Barnes seems to suggest Gee did not follow.

Gee had also said several months ago that he was working on opening the entire course by the end of this year, but Dugan said supply chain disruptions were slowing the SRP, which that was needed to complete work on a pumping station that drives the irrigation system. In addition, the utility was not to restore full power to the course until last weekend.

Dugan said the overall plan was to work on the west side of the course and shape it so Bermuda grass can be sown by May and then fully open by September 1, 2022 – the date limit set by Campagnolo.

But Dugan also said it was ALCR’s responsibility to open the other nine holes as quickly as possible.

“We have to start generating income,” he said. “We are spending a lot of money. We have to start generating income so that we can get everything else, then the plan for the future is to continue on the west side. “

Barnes, in his interrogation, appeared to be trying to bolster his case against Gee during the first phase of Campagnolo’s order by getting Dugan to admit that the work in progress did not conform to a written plan.

“I don’t have a written plan that they’re following,” Dugan said of the work team. “We educate and advise them on everything that needs to be done. “

But Dugan disagreed when Barnes asked if it was fair to say the instructions are “not based on a written restoration plan per se.”

“It’s not fair,” Dugan replied. “It is based on a budget that we have put in place to restore the course. “

Dugan also testified at one point, “I think the budget put in is enough to get it back to how it was when we closed it.”

Gee closed the course in 2013 and testified that he has been losing money every year since he bought it in 2006.

Maynard explained various issues to Dugan, including whether the 18 holes will eventually be open to neighbors and the public, as the west side would also be used for a golf academy.

“I don’t expect us to have such a big golf academy that we can’t open these nine holes to the public at some point,” said Dugan.

“We will have a golf academy but it will not be primarily used for the golf academy,” he explained, stating that these nine holes would be “blocked depending on how many golf academies we have and the time they need “. Other than that, it will be open to the public.

Barnes then asked, “But there is nothing in the writing as we speak that helps us understand what period of time this might be. Is not it ?

To which Dugan replied, “That’s correct.”

Dugan said the golf academy plan is motivated by the decline in popularity of golf between the time of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the pandemic.

“We have lost around 10 million golfers,” he said. “We’ve lost over 1,500 golf courses in the United States in Arizona, that region, lost about 32. Of those 32, most were nine-hole executive courses so our goal in the PGA is to put it back. the youngest in the game. This is our future.

He said the academy “will be mainly during the summer”.

Dugan testified on a number of aspects of the course. Some highlights include:

Weeds. Dugan said crews were draining some of the lakes so weeds and even trees growing in them could be removed.

He admitted that weeds were an unexpected big problem and blamed it on the rainy summer.

“We have had a lot of weeds on the property this year,” he said. “As everyone is probably aware, we just saw the most rain in history in the Phoenix area. I have been here for 27 years. It’s by far the most rain I’ve seen, anyway. Because of this, we had a lot of weeds. So we actually sprayed the property twice for weeds. Obviously, we mow. We are reducing. Some weeds are quite large. So we had to reduce them.

He added that the weeds along the shores of the lakes are being cut and “we’re going to use chemicals so they don’t come back.”

Some lakes. Dugan revealed that the lakes will likely need to be resealed so that water does not seep through the lake bed and disappear into the ground.

He said the sealant is the same as

was used when the course worked and they are brought back to shore in 100 gallon bins and then drip into

Lake.

Dugan also took issue with earlier testimony that the lakes served as flood control during a heavy runoff from South Mountain as Maynard attempted to counter Barnes’ earlier attacks on Gee’s plan not to fill one of the lakes. on the west side of the course.

“In my 27 years, I have never seen this lake overflow and cross 48th Street,” he said.

Most of South Mountain’s water flows through the Country Club (Ahwatukee), not the lakes course.

He also said the unfilled lake could be filled at a later date.

Golf carts. Dugan said the plan is to get golfers to use push carts and it would take a lot of business to persuade ALCR to rent golf carts or let golfers bring their own.

“I think Mr. Gee mentioned that we’re going to measure the demand for the golf course and then make a decision. If the demand is there, then the potential for golf carts is also there.

When asked what type of request, Dugan replied, “I would say around 50,000 would be a solid number. Most golf courses, if well managed, can reach the 50,000 threshold. “

When Barnes asked if many older golfers use carts on an 18-hole course, Dugan replied, “Yes, there certainly are even in senior communities. … A lot of people golf for their health and walking is a great activity for that.

Sand. Dugan said ALCR imported a sand called Augusta White from Southern California.

“Arizona is very strange,” said Dugan. “Even though we’re in a desert, you can’t get white sand – it’s not available. You can get brown sand.

He said the sand – which will also be used at the Foothills Golf Course – is the same sand used by TPC for the Phoenix Open and “will really impress residents and new golfers”.

“It’s a great product but it gives a good pop and that’s what we’re looking for. You know, we want it to look really good when it opens.

Club house. Two weeks ago Jeff Hall, president of the Save the Lakes Association, said the clubhouse was a popular haunt for him and many Lakes residents. The clubhouse burned down in what police called arson in February 2016. The case was never resolved.

Dugan testified that there would be a modular pavilion – a plan that does not suit homeowners.

He said ALCR signed a three-year lease for the clubhouse – Gee said it would be similar to a field office on a construction site.

When asked what would be the deciding factor in building a permanent clubhouse, he replied, “I would base it purely on demand. If the demand is there and people will support it, then it will be justified. ”

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