The Garden City Commission on Tuesday approved a request by Buffalo Dunes Golf Course representatives to solicit an independent golf course consultant to develop a plan of improvement study for the course.

According to a memo from Buffalo Dunes representatives to commissioners, Buffalo Dunes is widely regarded as one of the premier courses in Kansas, but over the last 40 years, golf equipment and standards have significantly improved and changed the way the game is played. With those advancements, the course is no longer playing the way the original architect intended, according to Buffalo Dunes Superintendent Chris Payne.

The plan of improvement will focus on evaluating the expansion and/or relocation of bunkers on the course, general improvements to tee boxes, greens grading changes meeting United States Golf Association guidelines, possible fairway expansions and modifications, the possibility of removing some trees on the course without negatively impacting visual appeal, and the possibility of adding trees in certain places to improve visual appeal.

With commissioners' approval, Buffalo Dunes officials now will make a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to identify a qualified consultant that will provide guidance to staff for initial improvements while also allowing Buffalo Dunes to establish a vision for its future, according to the memo from Buffalo Dunes officials.

Jason Hase, head golf professional at Buffalo Dunes, said upgrading the course potentially could help it lure more NJCAA and regional events through the Kansas Golf Association.

“There’s many opportunities. It’s just the golf course is a little worn out and needs to get modernized a bit, just like a lot of other facilities,” Hase said. “This would allow us to put a plan of action together to do that.”

The RFQ was not initially planned for in the golf course's 2018 budget, but there are some unused funds from 2017 for this purpose, Hase said.

How much the study would cost is not yet known, though City Manager Matt Allen said affordability is important.

“We anticipate some affordable choices coming out of a study, especially if it stays consistent with what USGA forecasted for us in 2011,” Allen said, referencing a study done by the USGA on Buffalo Dunes.

In other business:

• Commissioners approved a $92,344.28 bid from Builders Plus Construction for the apron replacement project at Garden City Regional Airport, which will replace a section of the apron at the north end of the airfield. The project, which will phase the replacement of the pavement over multiple years, is not eligible for FAA funding as it serves a limited number of users rather than the majority of airfield users. The Pavement Condition Index (PCI) report completed in 2012 resulted in an average PCI value of 24 for the apron, which ranks it as very poor condition. The apron was unused from 2012 until the spring of 2016. It was determined in the fall of 2017 that the pavement was unusable in the current condition.

• Chris Law was re-appointed to serve on the Horsethief Reservoir Board.

• Kathleen Whitley and Gerry Schultz were appointed to the City County Sales Tax Oversight Board. Whitley will serve a five-year term, and Schultz will serve a three-year term.

• Nic Salazar was appointed to fill an unexpired term left by Myca Bunch on the Garden City Recreation Commission board of directors. The term is set to expire February 2020.


Contact Josh Harbour at