Municipal golf course ready for spring play

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

It should be a spring with no leaks at Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course, thanks to early completion of an irrigation project on the course's back nine.

Addressing an ongoing problem with leaks in thin-walled pressure pipe surrounding the greens and tee boxes, Hays City commissioners gave the green light to an irrigation project last October.

City of Hays Parks Director Jeff Boyle said city staff is pleased with the performance of the new system, which was completed last week.

"We've been able to test it," he said. "It is a wonderful system that will last for years and years."

In lieu of standard polyvinyl chloride pipe, the project utilized high density polyethylene pipe, considered "almost indestructible," according to Boyle.

Boyle said efforts of the contractor, T&A Turf and Irrigation, were outstanding, with the project being completed well ahead of the June 1 deadline.

Financing for the project bid at $404,000 came from the special parks budget, which receives up to $120,000 from Ellis County alcohol sales taxes each year.

"We've been saving that money for several years for several projects," Boyle said. "We were able to basically pay cash for the project and not bond or borrow any (funds)."

Breaks in the mainline of the former irrigation system have been a source of irritation for staff and golfers for several years.

"It's been giving us a lot of trouble," Guffey said. "And slowed down some golf."

Dating back to 1995, development of the back nine progressed through the efforts of volunteers and course members, who worked to put irrigation and wiring in place.

City staff added more irrigation to the center portion of the fairways in 2005.

Leaks and electrical issues have plagued the back nine since 2006. A report submitted to commissioners in October showed 69 incidents of water leaks and 21 electrical issues in the five year period from 2006 to 2011.

Parts and labor to repair each water leak averaged $500, with 10 to 15 labor hours per incident. Electrical repair charges averaged $586 per response.