DUNEDIN – Kevin Janiga lives about 50 steps from the first tee of Dunedin Golf Club.

“So I can crawl over there if I have to,” said the president of the Dunedin Men’s Golf Association and chairman of the club committee.

Janiga is a strong advocate of golf course improvements that preserve and restore the design integrity of Donald Ross course.

With that in mind, the club received a $ 15,000 grant from the Donald Ross Foundation, a nonprofit, in early 2021.

Ross is considered a legendary golf course architect, born in Scotland, who designed around 400 golf courses across the country, including the city’s Dunedin Golf Club.

The club used the grant to develop a restoration master plan, which was completed in May 2021.

Janiga said a well-known North Carolina Donald Ross restoration architect “walked in, took a look at the golf course, and was overwhelmed. He said, “Kevin, I’ve been to hundreds of golf courses. But that’s in the top 10 percent of all Donald Rosses I’ve ever seen. ‘”

The restoration plan includes approximately $ 3.8 million worth of work. The new irrigation system would cost about $ 1 million, Janiga said.

City commissioners expressed their support for course improvement in late August, which includes approximately $ 2.3 million to $ 2.75 million in investment projects to address necessary repairs and new investments to upgrade facilities. City officials said they will continue to meet with advisors to learn more details about the scope of the work involved.

Janiga wants city officials to invest more money in the club.

“I’m trying to say, ‘Hey guys, if you spend an extra million you have a golf course that would make big headlines in the entire golf industry and it would become a destination golf course in the United States. “Said Janiga.

He said it had been frustrating to watch the golf course deteriorate in recent years, adding that it needed a lot of loving care.

“I think the city would be amazed at the type of return they will get by making this investment,” he said.

The master plan contains a detailed plan and cost estimate for an overall refurbishment of the golf course, including:

• Resolving drainage problems and upgrading the irrigation system.

• Restore green areas and green bunkers and shave again.

• Remove trees and restore original holes and sight lines.

• Re-shave fairways and restore fairway bunkers and tees.

The Dunedin City Commission discussed the golf club on August 31st with consultants who presented a detailed sustainability study from the National Golf Foundation. Whether they will implement all of the recommendations that include the Donald Ross elements remains to be seen, but they did make comments suggesting the condition of the club needs to be addressed.

Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said at the August 31 meeting that commissioners have discussed the golf course every year since their tenure.

“And I think it’s time to put our money where our mouth is and do our best,” she said. “What does that mean? I don’t know. I’m not going to dissect this now. Because I think we have the experts here who come back and say, ‘If that’s what you want, this is how you get it,'” said Bujalski.

The history of the golf club goes back to 1927. The city-owned, semi-private club includes an 18-hole championship golf course, clubhouse, pro shop / cart bar, maintenance facility, and driving range.

Janiga hopes to be able to discuss the master plan with the city commission. He would like to have the restoration work done by the club’s anniversary celebration.

“It would be a great thing to highlight the big 100th anniversary celebration. Put up memorial plaques. Really get a lot of media attention, ”said Janiga.

As a former player and assistant coach on the University of Tennessee golf team, Janiga was also a professional golf player for several years. He has been playing golf for 51 years.

“So I bought a house next to the golf course and moved to Dunedin,” he said. “I saw this wonderful golf course here and what a great community Dunedin is. … That is heaven on earth. “