Watford City Golf Course Transforming from 9 to 18-holes

WATFORD CITY, N.D. - North Dakota has more golf courses per capita than any other state.

A community in the Bakken is looking to upgrade its nine-hole golf course to 18.

It’s a sound many who play golf want to hear: brushing the grass. At Fox Hills Golf Course in Watford City, golf and that sound are very popular.

“We have continued to make it the best nine-hole course we could,” says Watford City Golf Board Vice President, David Johnson.

The city-owned golf course has about 400 members. A plan that has been in the works for eight years is slowly becoming a reality.

“We have put a lot of time and effort in our greens. Our greens putt well. But over time the technology of golf clubs have over taken the course,” says Johnson.

For a price tag of $8 million, Fox Hills Golf Course will be transitioning from a nine to 18-hole course. Phase one will consist of 12 holes on new land, and phase two will consist of digging up the current nine holes and building six new holes, a new practice green and a new maintenance facility.

Steve Stenehjem of First International Bank is optimistic about the new project.

“Having a golf course in any community is a very positive thing economically. To have a home on the golf course compared to a home on a city street, it’s very desirable,” says Stenehjem.

Phase one is expected to cost $4.5 million. Watford City is contributing $1 million to the project. Phase two will cost $3.5 million. Those funds will be raised through fundraising.

“I hope it creates a neighborhood out there. We are looking for some multi-family, but mostly single family housing on that side of the community and there will be walking paths throughout,” says Watford City Mayor, Brent Sanford.

With funding in place for phase one, construction is expect to start this summer. Some are already looking forward to what it could mean for the region.

“Couple of years from now we will be playing on an 18-hole golf course that will be a great addition to western North Dakota and a destination for people to come and golf at,” says Stenehjem.

If they build it, people will come.

Phase one of the project is expected to be completed next year. Phase two is projected to be completed in 2018.

Coal Creek Golf Course reopens for play following restoration project

SOURCE: Golf Course Architecture

The Coal Creek Golf Course in Louisville, Colorado, has reopened for play following a restoration project led by the Herfort Norby design firm.

The course suffered devastating storm damage back in August 2013, which saw trees toppled, cart paths damaged, bridges and bunkers washed out, damage to the irrigation system, and tees, greens and fairways across the course covered with rock and silt.

Architect Kevin Norby, the owner and senior designer at Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects, was hired by the city of Louisville in 2011 for a long-range capital improvement plan for the course.

While the storm had a devastating effect on the course, it did provide Norby with the opportunity to accelerate some of his initial plans for Coal Creek, and GCA reported on his work there in January 2014.

The project has now been completed, with Norby saying the changes to the course are quite remarkable.

“Everything you thought you knew about Coal Creek, forget it,” he said. “It’s completely different.”

With assistance from Nebraska-based golf course contractor Landscapes Unlimited, the course at Coal Creek has been re-graded to help protect it against the type of flooding seen during the 2013 storm.

This proved valuable recently, when storms struck the site again in May 2015. However this time the newly introduced drainage and collection areas proved sufficient to prevent significant damage to the course.

With regards to the course itself, the re-grading has created additional contouring and undulation in fairways and green surrounds which were previously flat. This helps enhance both strategy and drainage.

Hundreds of tress across the course have also been removed, while greens on holes eight and sixteen have been moved to enhance sight lines.

A number of bunkers were added, while others were moved or removed as part of the work.

“We aligned all teeing areas, regrassed the green surrounds and moved cart paths to help direct play away from houses on some holes,” Norby explained.

The architect also expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the project, saying that the ‘new’ course ‘differentiates Coal Creek from other municipal golf courses in the area’.