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El Zagal Golf Course redesign one step closer

A rendering of the preliminary plan for El Zagal Golf Course. The course is expected to be renovated to accommodate a city levee project. Special to The Forum

FARGO – The golf course renovation fad that has dominated Fargo and Moorhead in the past few years is expected to hit El Zagal, perhaps starting as early as this fall.

The par-3 course will be redesigned to accommodate a city levee project that will protect the neighborhoods on the north, west and south sides of the course. The east levee, located between Elm Street and the course, will remain unchanged.

The Fargo Park District has approved the change with a final approval needed from the city commission. By redesigning the course, Fargo Parks executive director Roger Gress said the project will save the city $2 to $3 million because it will not have to construct floodwalls.

Gress said the city will cover the $2.5 million price tag, which would include a new clubhouse estimated at $300,000. It would include a patio and concessions.

“I would say it will be dramatically different in terms of what we can offer and how it will look,” Gress said.

It will offer more flexibility, especially for youth. Included in the design is a driving range and room for SNAG (Starting New at Golf) equipment designed for beginning youth golfers. Gill Design Inc. out of River Falls, Wis., is the lead course architect.

The layout will be tighter because of the space required for the levees, which will be at a flood stage of 44 feet. Gress said it’s possible work on the west levee near the Shrine Temple could begin this fall.

Because the east levee won’t change, the course will still flood at 33 feet. But it will be graded so the lowest part of the course, the northeast corner, will make it much faster to pump water out, Gress said.

The course would be shut down for about a year for construction.

“It will really be a nice change for Fargo and the community if everything goes forward as proposed,” Gress said.

Also, Gress said levee work at Mickelson Field complex is expected to resume this month with the end result being a four-diamond fastpitch softball and youth baseball facility. The plan calls for a new chalet to be built that can be used for sledding in the winter, much like Dike West near Island Park.

The current fields remaining, which are starting to weed over, will all be torn up, re-graded and re-seeded, Gress said with the hope of them being ready by June or July next year.

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.