Kolpack: West Fargo’s shot at a public golf course dwindling

Attempts to build an 18-hole layout over the years have failed, and now city is running out of room

West Fargo is one of the fastest growing cities in North Dakota.
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The rebirth of the golf industry came as a surprise, sort of in the same way the COVID-19 pandemic hit America in March, 2020. Most people point to the virus as the instigator in the renewed popularity of golf, which for the previous couple of decades was flat at best.

Outside was the safest place to be. The three public golf courses in Fargo that offer full-length holes have had full tee sheets. At Osgood, it took 100-degree humid heat to create a few openings a couple Sundays ago. Edgewood and Rose Creek: full.

Same in Moorhead with Meadows and Village Green. Maple River Golf Club in Mapleton, N.D., has for the last few years enjoyed a renewed vigor.

Meanwhile, it’s crickets at one of the fastest growing and vibrant cities in North Dakota. West Fargo has no public golf course, which can be taken one of two ways from the other three cities that do have them. The West Fargo residents are freeloading off the Fargo and Moorhead parks systems or those golf courses are full in part because of the growth of West Fargo.


I’m not touching that argument, but certainly Osgood and Maple River benefit.

What is certain is West Fargo’s chance at a public golf course came and went. What was your favorite Westport Beach moment?

At one point toward the end of 2008 and the start of 2009, West Fargo city leaders approved an agreement between Westport Beach Development Corp. and the city to build an 18-hole layout on the south side.

It would have been similar to the Rose Creek development, where the Hector family donated the land for the course with the idea of starting a housing development around it. The City of West Fargo even approved a $500,000 contract with Lehman Design Group to design the course.

Too many people didn’t want it, apparently.

That’s too bad.

At this rate of population growth — not next year, not in five years and maybe not in 10, who knows — the Fargo and Moorhead public courses will be so jammed that prices will rise on simple supply and demand. The people will be hoping for an online tee time like winning a lottery.

Maybe by then Kindred will be big enough to enter the public golf conversation. West Fargo is no more. A committee was put together in 1990 to consider a course around Charleswood. General discussion renewed around 2000.


Mayor Bernie Dardis said this week he has hardly heard a word in the four years he’s been an elected official. Plus there is no space remaining to the south. The property in that part of the city has all been plotted.

“That is all planned as residential,” Dardis said.

The only hope is to the northwest, where the city is in the process of decommissioning its wastewater lagoons as part of a sewage contract with the City of Fargo, once the Fargo treatment plant expansion is finished.

“We have a broad-range plan for the land utilization that might be implemented up there,” Dardis said. “Nothing hard and fast.”

Nothing about a golf course, either. I suppose you can put a course anywhere, but northwest West Fargo near an industrial park hardly has a golf feel to it, especially if real estate is going to be part of the deal.

West Fargo is killing it in so many ways. But there's something about a golf course that helps complete a city. It's not something you do because it financially makes sense, but it's another piece to a city's comprehensive puzzle.

Mandan for years fed off of Bismarck's two 18-hole public courses. Then in 1992 it opened Prairie West Golf Club, a very nice course that the city is proud to tout.

West Fargo had its chance to tout something. And blew it.

Related Topics: GOLFWEST FARGO
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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