It’s a match made in Golf Heaven!
The Marine Park Golf Course’s operators want the city’s help financing a $2.2 million well system that will keep greens lush and operators’ pockets flush. Course operators have to pay the city for water like any apartment renter, because they don’t have an independent well like many courses — and that isn’t cheap. A city-funded well would ease the financial burden on operators and keep the publicly owned course in great shape for future generations, the operator said.
“It’s a win-win for all parties,” said Michael Giordano.
The Marine Park Golf Course is the only municipal course without its own independent source of water, he said. That forced operators past and present to pay the same metered rates for water as your average brownstone tenant, but at a scale that’s nearly beyond belief. The Giordanos can pay as much as $3,000 — per day — to keep the links green during the course’s eight-month watering season, resulting in an annual water bill of more than $150,000 — more than all the other municipal courses pay combined, according to Giordano.
The course’s history is written in water — or rather, its lack thereof — and the links course has floundered in the past without a well from which to draw the one thing, above all else, that a golf course needs to flourish, Giordano said. Previous operators recoiled at the outrageous water bills and simply skimped, so Giordano found an extremely well-designed course covered in brown grass when he came on as custodian seven years ago, he said.
“To put it nicely, the previous operators were more economical,” Giordano said.
It took Giordano’s engineers nearly four years, but they found a freshwater spring lurking nearly a mile away beneath Marine Park near E. 38th Street and Avenue V, he said. Now he needs the green to dig the well, connect it to his irrigation system, and outfit it with three pumps in case one fails or starts to draw up salty water, which can kill grass, he said.
“You can’t forget that we’re surrounded by salt water,” he said of the course situated on a peninsula. “So you want to make sure you’re consistently getting something that isn’t going to kill the grass. Having three pumps will give us more control over the water.”
Giordano still hasn’t gotten an official commitment from the city, but he’s optimistic that talks with the Department of Environmental Protection and Parks Department will result in a better park for generations to come, he said.
“I think all parties will participate at all levels to solve the problem, which is nice,” said Giordano. “Instead of not solving the problem, here is a mix of partnering between private and government agencies to provide a legacy for our civic community.”