Bobby Weed’s modernization of Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club brought back a clean, polished look to this compact Donald Ross parkland layout. BWGD’s work was named Golf Inc.’s “2012 Renovation of the Year” award, the firm’s third in eight years. A decade later, our team continues to partner with Palma Ceia on golf course improvements.
Palma Ceia annually hosts the Gasparilla Invitational, Tampa’s renowned Mid/Senior Amateur Golf Tournament.
2012 Golf Inc.
Renovation of the Year, No. 1
1956-Present: Gasparilla Invitational
Elite Amateur Tournament
1947-60: First LPGA Tournament
Tampa Women's Open
1932-35: Gasparilla Open
Top PGA Money Tournament in U.S.
The project’s fundamental challenge was balancing the need for a comprehensive infrastructure overhaul with the mandate to minimize course closure time. To meet this dual demand, the boundaries of the project were deliberately fixed, and the use of sod on all but the greens was budgeted for.
The core of our initial project was the alleviation of crippling draining issues. First, fairways were ‘flipped’ to a six-foot depth. The top foot of heavy organic material was broken up and buried. Five feet of sand was harvested and brought to the surface. This created a well-drained column of sand into which the new fairways were sodded.
The backbone of the new drainage system was a 42″ pipe that bisected the property into major lateral lines. A new main line drain pipe was connected to the City of Tampa’s stormwater system. A comprehensive system of 300-plus surface inlets and sub-mains now drains the entire property.
Greens were rebuilt to USGA recommendations and planted with TifEagle bermudagrass.
The irrigation system was completely rebuilt. A new Rainbird IC system and jointless HDPE piping network eliminated above-ground components and visual clutter.
Bunkers were reconstructed with new sand, liners and drainage.
Trees were removed to highlight a simpler palette of more appropriate live oak and cypress trees. Extensive pipe straw areas were delineated along the flanks of holes.
Following Bobby Weed Golf Design’s renovation, a number of golf-related revenue line items experienced substantial increases when compared to the same six-month period prior to construction:
- Total Rounds: Increased 19%
- Guest Rounds and Revenue: Increased 50%
- Golf Memberships: Palma Ceia now maintains a full list
Several design responses addressed the challenges facing the game today:
- Wide fairways create options off the tee
- Close-mown surrounds offer short game interest and variety
- Bunkering enhances increases strategy and challenges longer hitters without frustrating less accomplished players, both through proper placement and spacing
- A reduction in maintained turf and simplified protocols now maximizes the impact of maintenance dollars, achieving a higher standard for the same cost
- The compact 90-acre property and close proximity of tees and greens allow Palma Ceia to be enjoyably walked
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