“It’s working with the environment to produce a quality course.” Beginning from the No. 1 tee box to the No. 4 green, golfers will find an elevation drop of more than 600 feet. It’s a reason why Director of Golf Scott Wilson says, “Vellano is not a walkable course.” Bermudagrass is implemented on the fairways and roughs and nearing the end of dormancy. Cushing said Vellano will not overseed and quipped, “people need to know that brown is a color, too.” A combination of A-1 and A-4 bentgrass – comparable to Augusta National – is on the greens. Crushed walnut shells are used in place of bark or wood chips beneath the wide array of oak trees. And even when oaks needed to be cut down, the remains were made into benches found throughout the property. Among the more notable holes, Nos. 8 and 9 hold special significance. After the city showed concern toward potential slides on the par-3, No. 8 fairway, construction superintendent Dario Olivares and his staff went to work. To guard against potential slides, Olivares and staff redirected “thousands and thousands of tons” of dirt, then placed a liner some 10 to 15 feet below the surface. They laid drainage pipes on top of the liner, then moved the replaced dirt back for grading. At No. 9, the hole features a bridge that crosses a 100-feet deep ravine. To build the 70-ton bridge, a crane had to be dismantled and reconfigured on-site. It took two months to complete the crane’s reconfiguration. When workers were ready to secure the bridge, they found it lost 13 tons of water weight due to last summer’s heat. For information, its Web site is www.experiencevellano.com. UNFORGETTABLES RETURN One of the area’s more honored charity functions is set for March 5 with the sixth annual Unforgettables Charity Golf Classic, played at Redlands Country Club. Champions Tour veterans Dave Stockton of Redlands, Mark Johnson of Helendale, former UC Riverside golfer Gary McCord and former Riverside resident Don Pooley will participate. According to founder Tim Evans, the charity helps to confront and conquer the economic consequences and the danger factor that contributes to childhood death. Before tournament planning got underway for this year’s event, it received a $25,000 head start from McCord, who donated his prize from the ESPN-produced People vs. the Pros contest last year. The 128-member field is sold out, but to place your name on a waiting list, contact 1-800-254-GOLF (4653). Mark Reinhiller covers local golf for the Sun. His column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Course superintendent Paul Cushing likes to say that he and his staff have completed a masterpiece and they would be right. Even on an overcast day, panoramic views exist of the Inland Empire and beyond. From the No. 1 tee box, one easily could see Mt. San Jacinto – some 80 miles to the east. “We’ve provided a niche that hasn’t existed in quite some time,” Cushing said. “Most of the other private country clubs in the area are established. This course allows people to grow with the course.” Norman and staff broke ground on the 600-acre site that rests west of the 74 freeway in early 2004, and by October, 13 holes were graded. But that fall, inclement weather – that would turn into more than 40 inches of rainfall into 2005 – washed away those holes. After rebuilding the holes, rain again destroyed their work and brought the course back to square one. The course officially opens to members Feb. 28, with members and guests set for April 1. When that time arrives, golfers will find a course where elevation – and a rural, open setting – awaits. That wasn’t an oversight in its development. “Norman’s very much a minimalist,” Cushing said. “He wants to take what the property offers and make the most of what exists. He’s not the kind of designer who is going to move a tree because he can. CHINO HILLS – Tucked deep inside the heart of Chino Hills lies one of Southern California’s newest golf courses. After a series of delays, the long-awaited Greg Norman-designed Vellano Country Club made its debut Tuesday with its first official round of golf for staff members and media. The 6,925-yard, 18-hole layout is the first private course to be developed east of Los Angeles and west of the Coachella Valley in more than 40 years.