Fox Hills golf course in Watford City, North Dakota, will open the 12 completed holes of its new course on 29 September for two weeks of preview play.
Designed by golf course architect Kevin Norby, the completely redesigned course lies on the site of the former Watford City municipal golf course.
“The new layout will have a decidedly different feel,” said Norby. “Five holes play along the banks of Cherry Creek. The other thirteen holes play over the hills and through the valleys. Greens are large and playing corridors are unusually wide to provide some measure of forgiveness from the ever-present prevailing winds. Sand bunkers, inspired by the links courses of Great Britain and Ireland, are deep and have wood bulkheads to ensure visibility and to keep the sand from blowing away.”
The design process for Norby and the club began in 2007 when the architect met the golf board to discuss the feasibility of adding another nine holes to the existing course. However, little progress was made due to the economic downturn in 2008. “By 2014 the oil boom had reignited, and the club was ready to talk about an entirely new course,” said Norby. “Local landowners stepped up and donated the land and we were asked to design an entirely new 18-hole course.
“Our goal was to create a golf course that would provide an enjoyable experience for golfers of all abilities. We also wanted to create a course that would look and feel like it was in harmony with the rolling hills and native prairie of Western North Dakota.”
According to Norby, the club will rely on play from local North Dakota residents as well as hoping to attract golfers from Montana, Minnesota and South Dakota.
Twelve holes will be revealed first to donors and invited guests, and open to the public for preview play on 30 September. The new holes will close on 14 October to allow the agronomic staff to prepare the course for the winter and to ensure it is ready for a grand opening in Spring 2019.
Construction work was carried out by Landscapes Unlimited and the club will be managed by Landscapes Management Company.
The existing maintenance facilities are being relocated, and a new maintenance building will be constructed in the winter of 2018-19.
Once the new holes are ready for play in June 2019, construction will start on the second phase. The existing nine-hole course will be reconfigured to accommodate the remaining six holes, a new driving range, short game area and practice green.