LAS VEGAS, NV (Jan. 17, 2018) – Like many golf complexes in the Las Vegas area, the three courses at Red Rock Country Club began showing the effects of a water shortage a few years ago. Maintenance programs were altered and as a result, conditions suffered. It was a common scene in the region at that time.
That’s when Thom Blinkinsop, Regional General Manager who oversees Red Rock Country Club, Arroyo Golf Club and Siena Golf Club, made a decision, one he now calls “probably the best decision I’ve ever made.” He called Key Golf Management, a golf course care and maintenance company offering turnkey solutions to problems like the one facing Blinkinsop.
“They did a month of consulting work without charging us, then got a chance to make a bid,” said Blinkinsop. “After a month, there was no reason I should go anywhere else. I found what I needed.”
Key Golf took over all aspects of golf course maintenance at all three courses in November 2013 – personnel, planning, budgeting, etc. – and placed Regional Superintendent Jared Bumpus in charge.
“Our first objective was just to get the golf courses in playable condition again,” said Bumpus, who has worked for Key Golf since 2010. “When we came on property they weren’t in the best of shape.”
This included re-sodding approximately 40,000 square feet of greens, and getting grass growing in much of the rough areas. One of the main issues was that rye grass, a cool-weather grass, was prominent on the property and struggling to survive the hot Vegas summers.
“Once we got the courses back to being playable we wanted to develop strategies where we wouldn’t lose fairways, greens and rough like they had in past years,” said Bumpus. This included a total review of the agronomy program – irrigation system, drainage, watering schedules, the works.
“We basically got rid of the existing agronomy program and instituted the program that Key Golf has used successfully at our other courses,” said Bumpus. “We’re not all the way back yet, but so far things have worked well.”
One of the challenges Key Golf faced at the three courses was timing, especially when it came to the two public-play tracks (Red Rock CC is a private club). They had to do their refurbishing work with as little disruption of play as possible at the Arnold Palmer-designed Arroyo and the Schmidt-Curley-designed Siena.
“Like a lot of golf courses in the Las Vegas Valley, these were struggling just to survive,” said Bumpus. “We had to make sure what we were doing didn’t back them into a corner. We had to slowly implement around their play. I would say we are about 80 percent there.”
Along the way, Key Golf found ways to reduce expenditures and maximize profits while improving conditions and operations at the complex. One key change came in the course maintenance schedule.
“Prior to our arrival, they were closing the two public facilities for a combined 18 days a year not counting over-seeding,” said Bumpus. “They were doing multiple aerifications for two days or more. We’ve reduced the number of closed days from 18 to four. We use smaller tines that enable greens to recover much quicker.”
Another positive effect Key Golf has had on the golf operation at Red Rock is with water usage.
“Water is a major issue in the Valley, and that’s why a lot of Vegas courses are closing,” said Bumpus. “We immediately reduced water usage upwards of 20 percent at these courses. Water costs can run about $600,000 at typical course, so 20 percent is a lot of money back in the owner’s pocket. And, it reduces the electricity load because less water is being pumped. Water reduction is something we do at all of our courses.”
Kip Wolfe, principal at Key Golf, says it take a special type of manager to embrace the type of philosophy Key Golf brings to the table.
“Thom is a ‘think outside the box’ guy and has been wonderful to work with,” said Wolfe. “We have come a long way in bringing his properties back to where they need to be. We still have work to do, but are working together to get it done.”
Blinkinsop has spent 14 years in the business – much of that in the Vegas area. He knows a good arrangement when he sees one.
“Jared is great at what he does, and so is Key Golf in general,” he said. “Anytime I need anything and call him he is right there. And he has really trained the employees well. They have learned the craft much better than the track they were on before.
“I absolutely am happy with them. If I bought a golf course, I would hire Key Golf, no question.”
ABOUT KEY GOLF MANAGEMENT
Key Golf is an experienced and professional outsource golf course maintenance company servicing the Southwestern region of the United States. Key Golf is a Nevada corporation that specializes in the care and maintenance of golf course facilities and has been involved in the industry for over 25 years. Key Golf offers superior golf course maintenance, golf course construction, golf course renovation and agronomy programs.
Key Golf also provides course owners with other services, such as: National buying power with leading vendors; policy and procedure manuals; training and educational seminars for staff; and the ability for owners to know their fixed costs when it comes to course maintenance. Key Golf also represents reputable industry products such as Linebacker Bunker Liners, and Ultimate Turf® fertilizer.
For more information about Key Golf visit www.keygolf.com or call 1-702-629-7524.
ABOUT RED ROCK GOLF
There are three courses under the management of Thom Blinkinsop, all in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas. Red Rock Country Club is a private course that features a mountain-style 18-hole championship golf course with a challenging layout and stunning views. www.redrockcountryclub.com.
Arroyo GC at Red Rock is a challenging Arnold Palmer design that ribbons seamlessly through the rugged terrain and is nestled between the spectacular landscapes of Red Rock Canyon, with incredible views of the Vegas Strip, especially from Arroyo’s hole #7. www.thearroyogolfclub.com.
Siena, designed by Brian Curley and Lee Schmidt, is a very playable layout that provides a peaceful setting surrounded by the towering Spring Mountains. Approximately 90 deep, sprawling bunkers provide the course’s main line of defense. www.sienagolfclub.com.
Mike Jamison (407-328-0500)