O.S. Golf Course irrigation project awarded, underway

By Scott D. Johnston

For the Grays Harbor News Group

If the weather has been at least somewhat cooperative this week, then Curt Zander has begun one of his favorite activities, improving Ocean Shores Golf Course.

Last month, the Ocean Shores City Council awarded the contract to Zander’s company, Turf Care, as the low bidder among five for the project. The city’s estimate was $483,200, and Zander’s company came in at $326,128, a difference of $157,073. The four other bids ranged from $468,373 to $516,660.

The project was originally to be replacement of the irrigation system for the back nine holes (holes 10-18). But after initial project scoping, completion of all nine holes was projected to be cost-prohibitive at this time and resulted in a scope decrease to include only replacement of the existing eastern pump station, replacement irrigation for holes 10, 11, 12, and 18, two street crossings and two canal crossings.

For 27 years, Zander has been operating the course, at 500 Canal Drive NE, under a leasing arrangement with the City of Ocean Shores, which actually owns the 6,252-yard, par-71 course.

“Fifteen years ago, I signed a lease that included several capital improvements,” he explained. “One was irrigation on what is now the front nine,” which was done almost 12 years ago.

The need to fix irrigation on the rest of the course was pretty obvious, in Zander’s view: “Take a look from Google Earth and you’ll see the front nine is lush and beautiful and the back nine fairways are brown.”

So, “three years ago, I approached the city and told them ‘if you buy the materials, I’ll put it in the ground.’ Three years ago, they chose not to.”

But then he got word this year that “irrigation should be brought back up with the council.”

Of course, it couldn’t be that simple, he explained.

“The city was not just able to buy the materials, give them to me and I do it.” The city was required to have full project bids that had to bid prevailing wage.

“I’m going to be doing 95% of the labor by myself,” Zander said, and “because I’m the owner of the company, I don’t have to pay myself prevailing wage. All employees will have to be paid prevailing wage, and I will have help from time to time that will have to be paid prevailing wage.” Referring to his offer to the city three years earlier, he said, “I’m a man of my word,” and this enables him to do the project as he had offered.

Zander said about 18,000 rounds of golf are played on the course annually, with about 80% of those being out-of town visitors.

He said disruptions to the four holes, all on the east side of Pt. Brown Avenue, should be minimal. He hopes to finish the project in April, but the contract gives him until June.

Irrigation on the remaining five holes, he estimates, is probably two or three years away.