The project, which includes nine new holes designed by Robert Trent Jones II, is part of a $65 million flood protection plan for the Oxbow and Bakke subdivisions. A new clubhouse will replace the current one, with an expanded kitchen and more useable event space.
When the new nine holes at Oxbow (N.D.) Country Club opens sometime in September as expected, the only remnant of the farmland it used to be will be the black dirt underneath a divot, the Fargo, N.D., Inforum reported.
“What they did with a flat piece of ground is amazing,” said club professional John Dahl.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, it’s part of the $65 million flood protection plan for the Oxbow and Bakke subdivisions paid for by state and local funds. The $32.5 million for the course project is entirely from the local funds, the Inforum reported.
That includes a new clubhouse that is set to open later this fall that will replace the current clubhouse scheduled to be demolished for a levee. It has all the amenities with a kitchen facility twice as large as the current one and event space that is more useable than the second floor “L” setup of the current structure, the Inforum reported.
“The biggest thing besides the code updates are operational, back-end stuff that most people won’t see,” said General Manager Sedi Halvorson. “It’s just a better use of space. It’s not so much bigger, but more efficient.”
Work on a swimming pool near the front entrance is just getting started. As for the course, some holes look like they could be played next week. Looks can be deceiving, however. “The root structure is just not there yet,” Halvorson said. “You take a divot and it’s not coming back.”
The timeline is in full swing. Once the new nine holes on the south end open, construction on a renovated nine to the north is expected to start within days, Halvorson said. The planned completion date for the entire project is sometime in the summer of 2018, the Inforum reported.
In the meantime, the course will always have 18 operational holes. The current holes one through seven in the lower bowl will not go away until the new 18 is finished. Certainly, the personality of the course will change with the loss of the terrain and trees of the current front nine. To date, 260 trees have been planted on the new tract, the Inforum reported.
“But it will be a gorgeous course when completed,” Dahl said. “Just with all the bunkering and professional design work. There are many different tees depending on your handicap level.”
With the back tees at about 7,400 yards, Dahl said the club is in position to host “a substantial tournament” if it wants to go for one. One major element, however, will not change: the 18th hole that requires two shots over the oxbow water hazard, the Inforum reported.
“It was important considering the name and the previous hole,” Dahl said. “Everyone remembers that. We needed to have a signature hole similar to the other hole. You have to hit two shots solid or you’ll have to deal with penalty strokes at the end of many tournaments or competitions, which is fun.”