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Henderson golf course reopens after 5 months

They’re playing golf again this week at Anthem Country Club, five months after the Henderson course shut down to replace all of the fairways and greens in a move to combat the ongoing drought conditions in Southern Nevada.

The turf changes are expected to result in a dramatic reduction in water use, estimated at 30 million gallons annually. Club officials said closing for nearly half a year is worth the immediate benefits to the region as well as the club in the long run.

“We at Anthem understand the drought conditions, because all you have to do is look at Lake Mead and that says it all,” said Tim Slattery, president of the Anthem board of directors. “We want to be community partners.”

General manager Shelley Caiazzo was even more blunt.

“We would not have undertaken the totality of our greens and fairways renovation project were it not for the ongoing water drought conditions in Southern Nevada and throughout the Western United States,” she said. “We want to be community leaders and partners, and as such, we made a large financial investment and closed the course for five months.”

Anthem officials were already planning to renovate the greens, but leadership added fairways to the plans “solely because of the continuing water crisis and due to recent and substantial water allotment decreases for golf courses,” Caiazzo said.

Southern Nevada Water Authority officials commended Anthem officials for the move, saying it is an example that others can follow.

“Anthem Country Club is a great example of how golf courses can reduce water consumption and be part of the conservation solution without sacrificing the quality of the golf experience,” said JC Davis, enterprise conservation manager for the SNWA.

The decision will not only be good for water conservation, but will actually benefit the course and its players as well. The 1.7 million square feet of new grass will be an upgrade for players. Course superintendent James Symons said enhanced conditions are expected from the change, and the new grass will also end the need for overseeding in the fall, something that uses an excessive amount of water.

Anthem is among the many courses in Southern Nevada that have taken steps in recent years to reduce the use of water. Since the early part of the this century, courses participating in the SNWA’s Water Smart Landscapes Rebate Program have converted more than 400 million square feet of grass, or close to 1,000 acres, to drip-irrigated plants and trees. Those moves have resulted in a reduction of 2.2 billion gallons of water.

“The water crisis is much larger than just Anthem Country Club, but our membership is proud to be a good community steward and lead by example,” Symons said.

Chip shots

■ Nearly half the field has been eliminated from the grueling eight-round, 144-hole LPGA final qualifying tournament. Seventy-five players will play the final four rounds this week in Alabama, chasing the 45 playing cards available. Among those still in the hunt is former UNLV standout Dana Finklestein, who begins the second week tied for 11th. Finklestein is looking to keep her card after finishing 117th on the season points list, outside the magic top 100.

■ The SNGA is offering a holiday deal on a one-year membership for $115, which includes one round each at Las Vegas National, Legacy Golf Club and Golf Summerlin. The group also has a Santa stocking stuffer deal for $50 that includes a one-year membership, one round at Las Vegas National, a $20 gift card to the PGA Superstore and additional discounts at area courses.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. Reach him at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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