DOWNEY : Renovated Rio Hondo Golf Course to Reopen

The city will officially reopen its 18-hole public golf course Saturday after a $4.7-million renovation that added rolling fairways, waterfalls and lakes to the once dry, flat course.

Crews spent 11 months remodeling the 101-acre site at 10627 S. Old River School Road.

The Rio Hondo Golf Club course features four lakes and two waterfalls. Greens, tees and fairways are larger and feature higher-quality grass. The course also has 36 enlarged sand bunkers. Much of the course will be irrigated with reclaimed water.

"This is all new. We went right down to the dirt," said Bruce MacDonald, the course's manager. "The only thing left from the old course is the trees." About 1,200 trees, most of which were standing before the renovation, line the course.

Rates for players have also increased. Weekend prices have jumped to $35 a person from $20 last year. Weekday prices have gone up to $25 from $16. Rates for senior citizens and children under 16 years old are up to $18 from $12. Downey residents are given a $5 discount.

Lee Powell, assistant city manager, said the new rates will help pay for increased staffing and maintenance costs. The course's budget this year has increased to about $1.9 million from $1.5 million last year.

The remodeling was funded primarily with revenues from a bond issued jointly by the city and county, and with surpluses generated by course fees, Powell said. About 100,000 rounds of golf were played at the club in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 1993. City officials expect about the same number in the next 12 months.

Dana Point architect Gerald W. Pirkl redesigned the course and Arizona-based Wadsworth Golf Construction Co. of the Southwest renovated it.

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