Moorhead Country Club is in the midst of a two-year renovation project

MOORHEAD - The Moorhead Country Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary. As a birthday present, its back nine holes are getting a total overhaul thanks to a city flood mitigation project.

Moorhead Country Club
Work continues on the renovation of the back nine holes for flood mitigation at the Moorhead Country Club. David Samson / The Forum

MOORHEAD - The Moorhead Country Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary. As a birthday present, its back nine holes are getting a total overhaul thanks to a city flood mitigation project.

Construction is already underway on the two-year ordeal that was an exercise in cooperation between the club, course architect Joel Goldstrand and local government officials. Even more harmonious to club professional Larry Murphy: the course will have minimal disruptions from beginning to end.

"Maybe a little noise more than anything," Murphy said.

At a cost of $2.5 million, it will be funded through two sources: a flood damage reduction grant from the Minnesota DNR and city funds. The exact combination, said Moorhead city engineer Bob Zimmerman, has yet to be decided.

"There are a lot of details when you start working on a course," Zimmerman said. "There are a lot of issues sorting out who should direct what work. It's been difficult, but rewarding when coming to a consensus."


Goldstrand, from Minneapolis, is no stranger to area courses having his footprint with the likes of Meadows and Village Green in Moorhead, as well as Lakeside in Perham, Minn., and Wildflower near Detroit Lakes, Minn. Incorporating a levy into the design was something different in his line of work, however.

"It ended up being a little tricky," he said, "because we had to make sure everything that needed to be done with the golf course fit in with the levy and everything that needed to be done with the levy fit in with the golf course."

Goldstrand said there were adjustments made in both instances, but all sides say they are happy with the results to date. Zimmerman said the levy was the best alternative because it was more cost-effective than buying out all the properties inside it.

Water hazards on the back nine holes will double as water retention for the city. Zimmerman said if the river is high and gravity will no longer take water to the river, it can be stored in the ponds.

Detailed drawings of the new holes were not available, but here is the gist of the project:

1)New tee boxes on No. 10 will be placed on part of the levy and will be moved back and to the north, which will soften the dogleg left. The green will also be part of the levy at about a flood stage of 44 feet.

2)No. 11 will eventually go away in the spring of 2014.

3)Tee box for current No. 12, which will eventually be No. 11, will be moved north near the current No. 11 green. The ravine will be cleaned out and trees will be removed, giving players a better angle at the fairway on the levy with the tee shot.


4)Holes 12 through 16 will be reconfigured, taking advantage of unused space near a chipping practice area. The highlight will be an island green on No. 16, with an elevated tee box about 14 feet higher than the green.

"It will be the best short par 3 in town," said Jason Spitzner, course superintendent. "It's short, we want tons of birdies and there's nothing wrong with that. But when the wind is blowing, it could be a train wreck."

5)The back-to-back up-and-down par 5s on the south side of the course will be removed giving the layout a more balanced look.

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

Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found


Kolpack is the host of the WDAY Golf Show Saturdays from 8-9 a.m. on 970-AM.

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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