Fargo Country Club: $1.3M flood protection project nears final completion

All was quiet, even the wind, Monday morning on the second fairway at the Fargo Country Club. The fact a deer was running on the recently planted grass added to the serenity of it all.

Checking out the alternate hole
Mark Johnson points out the new alternate hole at the Fargo Country Club. Photo by David Samson / The Forum

All was quiet, even the wind, Monday morning on the second fairway at the Fargo Country Club. The fact a deer was running on the recently planted grass added to the serenity of it all.

That pretty much sums up the state of the golf course these days: after two years of floods and course renovations, things are quieting down.In a few weeks, it will be business as usual thanks to a $1.3 million project that was prompted by the forces of the Red River.

Fairways on Nos. 1 and 2 were raised by as much as six feet, a water hazard was constructed on No. 3, an alternate hole was built adjacent to No. 11 and the par 3 course was rebuilt.

The project also included some new tee boxes, a new irrigation pond on the alternate hole and a new pump station that irrigates the course.

The purpose is to give the club flexibility in the case of a major flood.


"There's only 'x' amount of soil we could move," said Aaron Porter, the course superintendent, referring to permits and engineering specifications.

"Otherwise we would build everything to 40 feet."

The entire front nine is now playable to a flood stage level of 30 feet, up from 24 feet. The backside is lower, but now there is a plan if holes 14 through 18 get damaged.

A new tee box on No. 6 will change the par 4 hole to a par 5 giving the front side a par 37. The sequence on the par 33 back side will be as follows:

The first four holes will be on the par 3 course including one hole that has an alternate tee that will make it a par 4. From there, golfers will play current Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 13 and finish on the alternate hole, which is no slouch.

"We hope it never happens but it's nice to have a course play at a par 70," said club professional Mark Johnson.

The alternate hole was carved out of space between No. 11 and Riverside Cemetery. About 250 trees were removed although still remaining is a large row of intimidating century old cottonwoods. Porter said only 20 large cottonwoods were removed.

Johnson said it will be maintained just as nice as the other 18. The hole has five tee boxes and will be used for group lessons or junior play.


The club's master plan, which would top the entire project at about $2 million, includes replacing sand in more bunkers and installing concrete cart paths. Therein also lays the beauty of the alternate hole: if crews need a week or two to replace the bunkers on, say, No. 3, the course can still play 18 holes.

Plus, the alternate hole is being used as a testing ground of sorts with bent grass fairways. Porter wants to see what the membership thinks of it.

The upgrades were designed by Hurdzan-Fry Environmental Golf Design of Columbus, Ohio, the same firm that did Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora, N.D. Among other highlights:

  • The old severe sloped fairway on No. 1 was leveled off and the fairway was shifted to the right. The bunkers were also moved.
  • Besides five more bunkers, hole No. 2 was also shifted to the right with 67 trees being removed between the cart path and the old fairway. Still, plenty of trees remain on the right and there's trouble on the left if you find yourself down at the old course elevation. "If you go left, you will not be able to see the green because you'll be six feet lower," Johnson said.

  • No. 3, formerly one of the easier holes, now requires solid shot making thanks to the large pond. From the new back tee to the furthest water point, it's about a 270-yard carry. Otherwise, on the amateur tee, 180 yards should keep you safe.
  • The entire course will be re-rated later this summer, Johnson said. The par 3 will also get a rating.

    It's all in the name of flexibility.


    Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

    Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
    Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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