Earthwork has begun on the new driving range with an opening scheduled for 2020. While some holes will be affected, plans call for all 18 holes to remain open during construction.
Construction on a new Spearfish Canyon (S.D.) Golf Course driving range is now underway.
Preliminary topsoil moving has started for the project, which will restructure the layout of the course as well as add a driving range, general manager Rob Kortan told the Black Hills Pioneer.
Everything, naturally, depends on the weather. Kortan said the idea is to have the major earthwork done this fall. Fine grading, finish work and irrigation installation would start as soon as possible in spring 2019, the Pioneer reported.
Seeding the ground is the next step, with a target date of June 15, 2019. That would allow the superintendent to grow in the new areas during the season, the Pioneer reported. Kortan said the hope is for a grand opening in 2020.
The driving range would be located where the fifth hole and part of the fourth hole currently set. A hill to the south would be laid back and opened, the Pioneer reported.
“We’re looking at a range that’s about 150 to 175 feet wide on the tee box, which allows for almost 20 spots to hit golf balls,” Kortan said. The tee location would be adjacent to the clubhouse building.
Course members met in October and voted to proceed with fund allocation to implement a master plan renovation, the Pioneer reported. This includes the driving range.
Kortan said 195 members responded, and the vote was overwhelmingly positive, the Pioneer reported. Before the October meeting, a Denver architect held a presentation detailing the proposal.
Initially Spearfish was to host state high school golf events in 2018-19, but due to the lack of a driving range it was reported that Spearfish would not host the events in 2019-20 either, the Pioneer reported.
Kortan said hindsight is always 20-20.
“Obviously, none of us wanted to go through an extended period of time without having a driving range facility,” Kortan said. “That being said, perhaps last year, we may have been acting a little bit in haste with trying to put this thing together so quickly.”
A plan for the course changes was presented to membership last year, but that was voted down. Kortan said it might have felt fairly quick to them, so the board made some changes, the Pioneer reported.
“Our hope, or intention, last year was to try to get the earthwork done last fall,” Kortan said. “That’s why we’ve kind of had to hustle through the process.”
A land sale for the original driving range was finalized in August 2017, the Pioneer reported. Kortan said that sale closed a bit late in the year to reasonably expect to get things done.
Proceeds from two land sales will pay for the range and course changes, Kortan said. The land sold was the old driving range and a residential tract adjacent to the second hole, the Pioneer reported.
Kortan said the board tried a slightly different route and tried to better inform the membership before holding the actual vote. That included providing images that members could use to view the changes, the Pioneer reported.
The tee location was moved to allow for a longer range, plus one not quite so steep uphill, the Pioneer reported. This range allows golfers to see their shots land.
Bunker complexes were removed around some new greens, with some cart paths re-routed and irrigation minimized, the Pioneer reported.
Kortan said this revision would affect play less than the original plan. Golfers will play around areas deemed “under repair,” with all 18 holes still being open, the Pioneer reported.
“The membership expressed their concern with the local community,” Kortan said. “They understand how important this facility is and this business is, and how important it is to host these big events when we can.”