When officials in drought-stricken Thousand Oaks, Calif., first sat down with architect Jason Straka to discuss remodeling
the city-owned Los Robles Greens, their
goal was to figure out a way to dramatically reduce water and pesticide use. Straka
quickly convinced leaders they could take
the project a step further.
Straka’s idea was to use the 2010 makeover of the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course in
North Carolina as a blueprint. He traveled
to Pinehurst to consult with resort officials
and find out what worked and what didn’t.
“We learned that we needed to create a
balance when it came to maintaining tran-
sitions between turf and native areas,” he
said. “We learned not to fight nature.”
The course remained open during the
remodel, so crews had to work around
ongoing play, even when redesigning bun-
kers and replacing irrigation.
The makeover replaced 30 acres of turf
with compacted native mulch and 55,000
native plants, a move that generated $1.7
million in rebates for the property from
the local water agency. The remodel also
resulted in reducing the amount of fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels needed.
Straka said the changes have been well
received, even by longtime Los Robles
“Any time you do big renovations, some
people are resistant to change,” he said.
“But the course and the community did a
good job of publicizing the changes and
letting people know why they did it.”
Los Robles Greens Golf Course
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Owner: City of Thousand Oaks
Architect: Fry/Straka Global Golf Course
Contractor: American Landscape
Renovation budget: $1.7 million S E
What the judges said:
“This parkland-type golf course had an
abundance of turf in areas that quite
frankly, with trees and out-of-play
areas, needed to be reduced. This entry
improved how the course looks and plays.
It is impressive if this project was com-
pleted at the $1.7 million mark, as the
course took a dramatic change in the right
“What a wonderful way to turn a turf
reduction project into essentially a rede-
sign. Innovative and forward-thinking
planning resulted in not only less turf and
water needs but also a refreshed design of
the course.” — Oscar Rodriguez
— Kirk Kokoska