Arkansas Turfgrass – Arkansas Turfgrass Association
Burns Park Golf Course: Municipal Golf Course of the Year
Burns Park Golf Course is a 36-hole, full service, public facility located along the Arkansas River in North Little Rock Arkansas. As part of the 1700-acre Burns Park, the two golf courses encompass approximately 160 acres and are operated by the City of North Little Rock. The Championship Course was designed and built in 1958 and the Tournament Course was redesigned and opened in 1995. Burns Park offers two inexpensive, well maintained and challenging courses for the public.
In 2014, Dustin McNaughton was hired as the Golf Course Superintendent. In 2016, the mayor appointed a new Director of Parks and Recreation with the goal of making Burns Park Golf Course the best public course the State. With the new energy and fresh ideas, the courses have improved dramatically over the past 5–6 years.
Spring and early summer of 2019 proved to be a very trying time for many golf courses in the area and Burns Park was no exception. Extremely wet conditions and the prediction of the Arkansas River reaching flood stages altered plans for the golf course. Close monitoring of river conditions and anticipated record flooding put all City employees on Emergency Alert.
The course remained open and playable through Memorial Day (May 27th) but was forced to shut down completely at noon on June 1st as the flood waters crossed the road leading to the course. By the time the river crested, much of the course was under water, including 11 greens.
As soon as the water started to recede, and damage could be assessed, maintenance personnel began the task of cleaning up. Priority number one was to remove debris, sand and river silt from the greens that had been submerged.
As the sun dried the course, the final layers of silt were removed from the course by verti-cutting, heavy raking and brushing. The greens that had been under water were damaged and put on an aggressive fertilization schedule and within 30 days all but parts of two greens had made a full recovery.
In case the flooding wasn’t enough, in mid-June, with still wet conditions, heavy winds uprooted several huge trees and left debris throughout the course again.
Several golf courses in our area have recently closed, but with the knowledge and hard work of our Golf Course Superintendent and the hard work of a relatively small maintenance crew, Burns Park Golf Course is improving and thriving.
Cypress Creek Golf Club: Semi-Private Golf Course of the Year
Cypress Creek Golf Club is a public golf club that features Zoysia tees and fairways along with TifEagle Bermuda greens and 419 Bermuda rough. Utilizing five different sets of tee boxes for players of all skill sets and offering a variety of different membership options, Cypress Creek also welcomes the general public to come and play. While open year-round, we orchestrate several tournaments through the year while also investing in Junior golfers to attend different events during the season to spark their interest in the game. Target clientele ranges from young to old, members and nonmembers, families and children as well as couples. We arrange weekly scrambles and honor our veterans with tournaments throughout the year.
Amenities include our revamped fleet of Club Car golf carts equipped with state-of-the-art touchscreen GPS to enable the golfer to quantify yardages from tee to green and help gain the most precision out of their game. Staff includes a certified Club Professional on site, always able to troubleshoot and diagnose your swing with personal lessons. A transformed clubhouse offers everything from apparel, balls, bags, and gloves to food and a full-service bar. A friendly staff is found waiting and prepared to make sure you find everything you need. Their aim is to ensure the guest have the best experience possible.
While always enhancing the golfers experience on the course, a motivated Turf Staff strives to boost the golf experience on the course while also serving as the spearhead for improvements such as rehabilitated cart paths, reinvigorated bunkers with Billy Bunker and Capillary Concrete, improved drainage and irrigation in correlation with the cultivation of sod in areas throughout the course. While still under construction, our event center is forecasted to be completed soon and will incorporate a fully furnished restaurant and bar that will overlook the putting green, 18th green and incorporate the driving range for a view that will be unforgettable. Our goal is always progressing and focusing on making sure the players experience at Cypress Creek is an exceptional one.
Benton Parks and Recreation: Field of the Year
Riverside Soccer complex has become a widely used area for the City of Benton Parks department and its citizens. Our partnership with the Boys and Girls Club along with our Parks programs has allowed us to bring hundreds of people to our park multiple nights a week. Future programs will include archery, adult flag football and many more. We have partnered with Benton FC to provide practice and tournament space for one of the fastest growing Soccer clubs in the State.
Fields are used by Boys and Girls Club in Spring and Fall. Spring season (March-May), will be utilized for soccer only. In 2019 Spring Season, we hosted over 300 kids in the program using the fields three nights a week. In the Fall the fields are used for Soccer and Football. In 2019 these programs combined to bring over 550 kids to the fields three nights a week. Parks utilizes the fields for special events and practice space on a weekly basis year-round. We also have Parks programs utilizing the space for Little Olympians and track and field events.READ THE ISSUE