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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 14 2012

Oxbow Country Club projects get under way

FARGO – Oxbow Country Club began construction on a new outdoor practice facility last week – a sure sign the club is not letting talk of the Red River diversion get in the way of progress.

While the talk of buyouts, ring dikes or eventual eradication of the entire facility has dominated media outlets of late, Oxbow general manager Joel Livingood is taking the opposite approach.

“We are here to stay and with a project like this, we’re trying to show we are here to stay,” he said.

The project will include a redesigned driving range with four new target greens, improved drainage, a short game practice area with bunkers and a nearly 7,000-square foot putting green. It’s expected to be completed next spring.

Duininck Golf, the same company that did the Edgewood Golf Course renovation and is currently doing an overhaul at Moorhead Country Club, is the contractor.

“We think it will be the best practice facility within 200 miles with something for any skill level,” Livingood said.

The club did remove a membership requirement of buying stock as a way to fight the diversion talk. It got 38 new members this year.

“It’s a challenge,” Livingood said. “People call and inquire about membership and what happens next year when the club is not there. That’s absolutely not the case. Even if (the diversion) moves forward, it will be years and years down the road.”

At 23 years old, Livingood is getting an on-the-job education into all-things-golf. There is no college course called “golf course flood fight management 590.”

“Absolutely, this whole year has been a great learning experience,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have the support of the board. I think we’ve made a lot of strides as a club over the past year.”

Oxbow isn’t alone. Moorhead’s project is on target for a 2014 completion date while the Fargo Park District continues to look at improvements.

Moorhead Country Club

The first phase of the front nine renovation is completed with a target starting date of July 1 next summer. Ideal fall weather conditions for construction and growing made it a smooth process, said head professional Larry Murphy.

“I can’t wait to play it,” he said. “We couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The first phase of the levy construction around the course is expected to wrap up Nov. 1. The second levy phase and second golf phase, which basically consists of hole No. 10, is slated to begin next July.

Edgewood Golf Course

The Park District hired a familiar face, Kevin Atkinson, to come up with an alternative for hole No. 18 and No. 10 tee box because of a fault line next to the Red River, said Park District executive director Roger Gress.

Atkinson designed the renovation to holes 2, 3 and 4. The fear with 18 is the river may gobble it up.

“We have to make sure we have something in place if we walk in the door one day and we’ve lost half of the green,” said Edgewood head professional Greg McCullough.

Gress said Atkinson will also look at designing some type of practice area for juniors at Prairiewood Golf Course. About five acres that at one time was supposed to be a driving range is currently unused.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia