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Tim Hansen, Houston, Published August 17 2012

F-M’s golf courses fall behind times

The article about North Dakota’s three great golf courses also served to point out the lack of quality courses in the Fargo-Moorhead area. These courses did it right and now attract serious players and serious tourism from outside the region. By contrast, Fargo-Moorhead has dropped the ball. With the largest number of players between Minneapolis and Seattle, they are missing an opportunity to enhance the image of the area to prospective residents and businesses, not to mention shortchanging the residents who would welcome a more challenging venue and a higher aesthetic experience.

North Dakota has relied entirely on the private sector (read: expensive) to raise the level of golf in our part of the country. This is unfortunate. The past 30 years have not produced any venues worth promoting outside of the city limits. Osgood, Prairiewood and Village Green were real estate sales tools that are short and boring. Developers should work with what is left after the golf course is designed, and not the other way around. Recent necessary modifications to Edgewood and Rose Creek sacrificed the golf experience. That leaves the Meadows, which may never make up for its minimal earthwork and tree planting.

Even the three area private courses, aside from being private clubs, have their limitations. Fargo Country Club is short and constricted. Moorhead Country Club has been reconfigured several times due to real estate issues and flooding, resulting in some rather odd hole layouts. Oxbow had an interesting layout, but will probably go under, literally.

Hopes were raised a couple of years ago when West Fargo and a developer teamed up to bring in the Lehman Group. Playing through backyards notwithstanding, the budget, design team and concept were promising. But the timing for housing – the driver of the project – would not allow the project to move forward.

Had the community been able to support it from a golf standpoint, I could be looking for a lot and the best excuse ever to get out of Texas.