By Diane Borden
They blend into the landscape so well and so effortlessly that a golfer might not notice them at first. But, a closer look will reveal that the seven newly renovated bridges on the championship golf course at Rancho Bernardo Inn are more than just functional; they also are aesthetically creative and an important part of the course’s continuing charm.
The replacement bridges are just the latest improvements being made to the course – a years-long renovation envisioned by Chris Hayman, RBI’s golf course superintendent, when he arrived at the Inn in the summer of 2009.
“The goal was to develop a multi-year plan to bring the course back,” Hayman said. “We started this latest project – the bridge replacements – in 2017, and it should be completed in the next few weeks with the painting of the bridge girders and bases.”
The new bridges – located at holes No. 1, 2, 3, 12, 12 (foot bridge), 14 and 18 – are constructed of treated brown Douglas fir, specially ordered for its durability and aesthetic appeal, combined with sturdy steel girders for strength and stability.
Hayman, a graduate of Cal Poly-Pomona with a bachelor of science in plant science and a minor in ornamental horticulture, said the first project in his RBI renovation plan eight years ago was to rebuild the greens (2009-2011), followed by the installation of a $1.7 million, state-of-the-art irrigation system in 2012-13.
Another major improvement has been the drilling of the first course wells, one in fall 2013 and another in spring 2014. Hayman said the wells are used to water the course in the summertime; potable (city) water is used for only 2 percent of the course (the greens).
Other renovations have included: rebuilding all 54 bunkers, reconfiguring the water hazard on No. 11, and dredging “Lake Colachis,” the natural lake on No. 4.
“Our long-time members often remark about the positive improvements made to the course over the last several years,” said Dena Marvel, president of the Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club. “The beautiful new bridges are just the latest example, and we are all very appreciative of the efforts of the RBI grounds crew to keep this beautiful course in top form.”
“We are always delighted,” she added, “when we can brag about the excellent condition of the course, which is consistently one of the best in San Diego County.”
Course Superintendent Hayman said that future work would attempt to “put the shine on the apple.” Projects will focus on good grass coverage in the fairways, conversion to warm-season grasses, and creating uniform turf and aesthetically pleasing planters. The crew also will be thinning out the more than 800 trees on the course.
“The course improvements we’ve made over the years would not have been possible without a strong commitment from the owners and senior management,” Hayman said. “Plus, we have a wonderful crew and a great collaborative relationship with other RBI departments, such as Engineering, which leads to project success.”
Faye Tong has won the 2017 Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club Championship, with a two-day gross score of 159 (78 and 81). The tournament was played at RBI on Tuesday, June 6, and Wednesday, June 14.
Tong joins 26 other Club members who have won the championship since the Club’s founding in 1963. Three players have won the championship five times each. (See the complete list of Club champions here.)
Other winners in the 2017 Club Championship tournament were:
First flight: first low gross, Melissa McBratney; second low gross, Young Lee; third low gross, Romona Smith (card-off with Caroline Dixon).
Second flight: first low gross, Jan Higley; second low gross, Sallie Britzman; third low gross, Fran Maxfield.
Third flight: first low gross, Carole Provost; second low gross, Jo Ann Trick (card-off with Nemira Stauskas); third low gross, Nemira Stauskas.
Closest to the pin: No. 2, Robin Hester; No. 4, Hilary Quinn; No. 11, Hilary Quinn; No. 13, Romona Smith.
The Club Championship is one of two major, members-only tournaments sponsored by RBIWGC each year. The other is the President’s Cup, which was played on Nov. 7 and Nov. 14.
Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club’s Team No. 1 earned the Net Championship title in regional team play this year. The team’s four-month season ended successfully on May 22 and 26 with wins over Temecula Creek Inn and The Vineyard, respectively, in the round-robin net-team playoffs.
During the regular season, the RBIWGC team won its division over teams from Mission Trails, Steele Canyon, Coronado No. 2, Carlton Oaks and Cottonwood. The RBI team tallied net-point wins in eight of its 10 matches to earn a spot in the playoffs.
“Our team competed strongly each week this season,” said Captain Caroline Dixon. “We played 10 matches in the regular season, plus two matches in the playoffs, to win. Each of the team’s 14 players contributed – and we had a lot of fun, as well.”
Members of the RBIWGC team were: Pat Bakke, Judi Berlin, Sallie Britzman, Caroline Dixon, Sue Haskell, Jan Higley, Young Lee, Melissa McBratney, Dena Marvel, Hilary Quinn, Sue Rowe, Erin Rowland, Romona Smith and Janet Tarr.
Team No. 1 from Coronado Women’s Golf Club earned the Gross Championship title this year.
The San Diego County Women’s Golf Association sponsors team match-play competitions each year for teams from San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties. The SDCWGA places each team in a division, and teams tallying the highest accumulated points in each division, plus playoffs, earn gross and net championships. Sixteen teams competed in three divisions this year. They were:
Division One: Temecula Creek Women’s Golf Club, Pala Mesa Women’s Golf Club, San Juan Hills Women’s Golf Association, and Encinitas Ranch Women’s Golf Club Team No. 2.
Division Two: Coronado Women’s Golf Club Team No. 1, Twin Oaks Ladies Golf Club, Encinitas Ranch Women’s Golf Club Team No. 1, The Vineyard Women’s Club, Admiral Baker Women’s Golf Club, and Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club Team No. 2.
Division Three: Steele Canyon Women’s Golf Association, Carlton Oaks Women’s Golf Club, Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club Team No. 1, Mission Trails Ladies Club, Coronado Women’s Golf Club Team No. 2, and Cottonwood Ladies Golf Club.