July 12, 2011 - The City of Knoxville, Billy Casper Golf and Ameresco celebrated the completion of a new lake at the Whittle Springs Golf Course today with a ribbon-cutting and a "First Ball in the Lake" ceremony.
The small lake - covering a little more than an acre and holding about 1.25 million gallons of water - is located near the 18th green.
While the new feature is a lovely addition to the city's golf course it will also be used to irrigate the course saving $20,000 a year in utility costs.
Mayor Daniel Brown; Vice Mayor Joe Bailey; Nick Bednar from Billy Casper Golf; Jusbyn Lockard from Ameresco; and City Parks and Recreation Director Joe Walsh spoke during the event.
Ameresco, Inc., a leading North American energy efficiency and renewable energy company designed, built and will guarantee the water savings from the new lake. Billy Casper Golf, a highly-regarded golf course management firm that owns or operates more than 125 golf courses, has managed and marketed the Whittle Springs Course since 2007.
As part of Tuesday's event the participants took part in the ribbon-cutting before chipping golf balls into the water to officially open the new lake.
Whittle Springs Golf Course was Knoxville's first public golf course and holds a special place in the hearts of many local golfers.
"This is a city course that four generations of Knoxville golfers have enjoyed playing and many of them learned the game here," Mayor Brown said. "It's been the scene of a lot of good times and we're always happy to do something that improves Whittle Springs."
The 5,729-yard-long course, which sprawls across a rolling section of North Knoxville opened in 1932 and has hosted Knoxville City Amateur Championships for nearly eight decades. It has also hosted golfing legends like Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.
"This is really what you like to see, a feature that makes the course more attractive and at the same time benefits the city financially," Walsh said. "We have a great group of loyal golfers here and the folks at Billy Casper have done a terrific job. The course had declined a bit and they came in and turned things around."
The lake is part of a significant energy conservation project undertaken by the City of Knoxville with Ameresco beginning in 2009 that includes infrastructure investments in city buildings, parks, athletic fields and golf courses. The agreement is designed so that the savings generated by the energy improvements pays for the cost of their installation and should save the city about $19.5 million during the duration of the contract.
"The agreement with the City of Knoxville demonstrates how forward-thinking cities and governments can cut costs while increasing energy efficiency and improving the environment for its citizens," said John Bosch, Vice President of Ameresco. "This lake serves as a great example of a new feature that has helped the City from a financial standpoint while beautifying the course and alleviating storm water and environmental issues to the benefit of the surrounding neighborhood."
The lake is filled with a combination of rain water and water from an existing well. It will be used for irrigation instead of KUB-supplied water.
The construction affected three different holes on the course, #1, #10 and #18, at various times and Billy Casper's staff worked throughout the spring modifying the course so that golfers could get in a full round of golf.
Billy Casper Golf also manages the city's Knoxville Municipal Golf Course.
More information about Billy Casper Golf is available at www.billycaspergolf.com while information about Ameresco is available at www.ameresco.com
Information about the City of Knoxville's golf courses is available at www.cityofknoxville.org/recreation/golf.
Download a PDF of this release