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Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Querbes Park Golf Course Renovations


Revitalizing the golfing experience for 100th anniversary

Not many people live – and not many things last – 100 years. If they do, there is likely plenty of wear and tear to be seen.

Querbes Park Golf Course is no different. But our area’s oldest and most historic golf course in Shreveport’s Broadmoor/South Highlands area is different in that it’s getting close to a three-quarters of a million dollars facelift. That, ahead of its 100th birthday next year.

“We were looking for some things we could do to improve the facility in conjunction with our centennial celebration in 2024,” said Nathan Barrow, Querbes’ PGA Professional. “We wanted to make a statement – an impact – on what the golfers experience from the moment they pull across the bridge and enter the golf course.”

That meant taking a look at what Barrow calls the “front porch” of Querbes. He didn’t like what he saw.

“Old, dilapidated bridge, a putting green that had been built too close to the cypress trees and stayed in the shade most of the day. It was damaged and beyond repair. Kind of old, tired-looking first and 10th tee boxes. Our focus really began to be ‘How can we improve the experience for the golfers as they warm up – practice, putting, chipping.’”

To that end, Querbes will soon feature a new, larger putting green, among other improvements. To help, Barrow enlisted the help of Jim Lipe, considered by many to be one of the best landscape architects and golf course designers in the country.

“He drew us up plans for an all-new putting green, chipping green, and helped us redesign the cart path areas that will improve the flow around the congested (tees). We took apart and deleted the old 6,000-squarefoot putting green, and he built a completely different shape – with nice undulations – 8,000-square-foot putting and chipping green that is now away from the cypress trees. It’s not going to have any damage from their roots. It’s going to be in the full sun all day.”

There will also be 18-24 new parking spaces around the green.

“To just come out here and chip and putt is no cost. So, if you just want to pull your car up, park and bring a putter and a couple of balls and a wedge, you can walk on out – enjoy the nature and the beauty of these tall oak and cypress trees in a wonderful setting that rivals, in my opinion, a high-end daily fee (course) or country club.”

Throughout 99 years, generations of locals have learned the game of golf at Querbes. That wasn’t lost on Barrow when deciding which areas to improve.

“This is where grandparents have taken their grandkids to hit their first putts, hit their first shots on the driving range, and where

beginners have learned not only to play the game, but to fall in love with the game. It was important to provide a practice center – a place where they can putt and chip – whether they’re out for fun, learning, taking instruction, or if they’re warming up before they go play. All that can be done. We’re now able to capture more of that family essence – that beginner atmosphere – where everybody can enjoy the game and utilize this massive, over 8,000-square-foot putting green.”

One thing that was not part of the renovation plan was redoing the course’s 18 greens. But last winter “essentially killed our greens.”

“When we should have been coming out of transition at the end of February and first of March and warming up, night temperatures should have been approaching 65-70 degrees. They were still in the mid-30s and 40s, and our greens never made it through the winter.”

So Querbes – and The Club at Huntington Park in west Shreveport – are getting all new greens.

“The Calcutta grass is the purest form of MiniVerde, which is the grass we had prior to rebuilding and reshaping the new putting green and our golf course. This grass, MiniVerde, is a championship, hybrid Bermuda, that will putt true, not have a lot of grain, and be something that can tolerate the high traffic, because (Querbes is) doing more than 43,000 rounds of golf a year.”

Barrow said approximately $1.2 million is being spent on both courses, with the Querbes enhancements costing around $700,000. $125,000 of that amount was donated by the Querbes Park Foundation.

“We have been able to move forward with funding from SPAR (Shreveport Parks and Public Assembly). It isn’t really coming from the city because SPAR’s golf courses operate out of a private enterprise fund. We don’t actually operate out of the city’s budget. Due to the excess money in that fund and help from the Querbes Park Foundation, we’ve been able to come together and make all this happen.”

Querbes will use temporary greens (with a twilight greens fee of $12.50 all day) until the permanent greens are ready. A soft opening (members only) is scheduled for Sept. 16 and Sept. 18 for members and the general public.


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