- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

PATTERSON, Calif. (AP) - Persistent drought conditions are forcing the closure of a prestigious Central Valley golf course.

Diablo Grande will close its Legends golf course, an 18-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Gene Sarazen, because of the area’s lack of water, according to The Modesto Bee (http://bit.ly/1iphfDE).

The course will remain open in coming weeks, and close in April or May after conditions erode because of a lack of watering.

Restrictions on water use have already been imposed on the resort community’s 437 homes, and residents are facing the possibility of more expensive water bills as the community’s water district purchases water at a steep price.

Farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are expecting no irrigation water to be provided this year by state or federal water systems, the same system that feeds Diablo Grande’s public utility.

“We all need to suck it up,” Bill Lindley, a resident, told the Bee. “I’d much rather they cut off water to a golf course and give it to a farmer.”

The community’s homes, vineyard and golf courses will try this year to get by with about one-third of the 1,200 acre-feet of water it normally receives.

With no access to groundwater wells, the community will purchase extra water for an estimated $1,300 to $2,500 per acre foot, which will drive up water costs severely.

“The good news is we’ve gone through a massive recession and Diablo Grande is a very viable community,” Philip Cybert, chief executive officer of Laurus Corp., which owns the project. “Diablo Grande is a great place to live.”

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Information from: The Modesto Bee, http://www.modbee.com