Trenching While Golfing


Underground Construction

Edited by Loren Faulkner

When Green Hills Country Club needed to replace its aging clubhouse and related infrastructure, the underground pipe installation work went to Pacific Underground Construction, headquartered in San Jose, Calif. Green Hills is located in the hills, about a 20-minute drive south of downtown San Francisco.

"The project involves tearing down and rebuilding the clubhouse," said Bill Marrow, general superintendent for Pacific Underground Construction. "Our part involved running nearly 5,000 feet of utility pipe for sewer, water, storm water, and fire water to the site."

Construction Challenges

Digging a trench across a fairway originally planted under the direction of one of the world's leading course designers involves taking extra care to minimize the damage and to assure a restoration to original condition.

"We had to cross the seventh fairway, which required closing that hole to golfers for a time," said Marrow. "Our crew was digging on the fairway while the rest of the course remained open. We had to keep our eyes on the ball. Of course we had our hard hats on all the time."

Restoring the fairway after the trenching and piping operation involved backfilling the trench and replacing the turf so that the original grade level was returned to fairway quality.

The sandy soil conditions and heavy rainfall common in the coastal area of northern California were factors the workers had to consider, according to Marrow. "These can cause safety issues and job delays," he said.

To dig the trench for the pipe installation, Pacific used a Case loader/backhoe to reach a depth of 5 feet to 6 feet. This machine performed well both in digging the trench and for backfilling operations, according to Marrow.

During construction of the new clubhouse, the club is keeping the pro shop open along with rest rooms and an area for serving a continental breakfast and casual lunch. Pacific also brought in a Case 521E wheel loader on loan from Tractor Equipment Sales in San Jose, Calif., to test how it would fit in with his operation.

Master Design

Green Hills is a private golf club designed in 1929 by the famed architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie, who designed more than 100 golf courses. MacKenzie is considered one of the leading golf course designers of all time. Three of his courses rank among the top 20 in the world, including Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, Calif.; Royal Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia; and Augusta National in Augusta, Ga., where the annual Masters Golf Tournament is held.

Note: J. Cooper is with Cooper Hong Inc. Information provided by Case.