Firekeeper is grassed and growing


Firekeeper is grassed and growing
Sean Dudley

Despite an ongoing battle with Mother Nature, the six month construction of the new Firekeeper course in Kansas has been completed by contractor Landscapes Unlimited,. The course is expected to be ready for play in late summer 2010.

The 240-acre course is being development by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in as an additional amenity to its casino and resort. 

Firekeeper is the first signature course of four-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III, the only full-blooded Native American on tour. Golf architect and former ASGCA president with Jeff Brauer has been the lead designer

The developers say Firekeeper is planned as a traditional golf course in both playability and aesthetics, with no surrounding housing, and reasonable walks between holes. Of the five sets of tees, the shortest play only 4,500 yards: the designers believe the shorter yardage will encourage more play from women and local youth. 

“We put a lot of time in walking the land, which is so important in golf course architecture and particularly in the Native American community,” Brauer said. “We moved very little earth, and used the surrounding land forms as guides when we formed our own shaping, trying to match the rolling hills of Kansas.”

“Modern architects as a group have gone away from working with the land,” Brauer added. “Donald Ross couldn’t move much earth 100 years ago, and this is a great opportunity to build an old-fashioned course. The course looks great and respects the land and tribal traditions of environmental sensitivity.” 

Construction began on 20, and shaping was finished in late summer, despite rains totalling 35 per cent above normal for the area. “The early catch is good, but Mother Nature will be in charge now,” Brauer said.