Osgood good to go
Although nine-hole municipals have a history of making money for the Fargo Parks District, Friday's opening of Osgood Golf Course is not going to make up for financial losses caused by recent flooding at Edgewood, El Zagal and, to a lesser degree...
Although nine-hole municipals have a history of making money for the Fargo Parks District, Friday's opening of Osgood Golf Course is not going to make up for financial losses caused by recent flooding at Edgewood, El Zagal and, to a lesser degree, Rose Creek.
But any opening is better than another closing, not to mention that the $2.8 million Osgood - located in the southwest reaches of the sprawling city - stands to gain invaluable exposure due to the plight of competitors and colleagues alike.
Edgewood season-ticket holders, for example, will be allowed to play the new course at least through the end of the month - assuming they're willing to drive 10 miles further south to do so.
"What it does marketing-wise is it forces people to play it that may not have played it," Fargo Park District Executive Director Roger Gress said, "and it opens up a new avenue for our customers because it is so dramatically different (than other area courses)."
That much is obvious during the drive before the drive.
The road that leads to the Osgood clubhouse, aptly named Clubhouse Drive, is lined with tall weeds - native grasses to those in the golf biz - giving the impression that the course resembles an unkempt field or a U.S. Open site. There is almost no manicured grass and, thankfully, zero water in sight.
Fargo has received nearly seven inches of rain in June. Osgood was designed to handle that much water in a single shower thanks to a series of connected detaining ponds, wetland areas that are able to take on overflow and the Sheyenne Diversion, which has kept the nearby Sheyenne River within its banks.
The extent of the damage from this month's moisture, which led to weekend closures for several area courses: a couple soggy pot bunkers, lingering water in a low-lying and out-of-play spot on No. 2 and mud on the edge of some of the gravel cart paths.
"I feel for my counterparts at the other courses," said Osgood superintendent Victor Heitkamp, who brought his grounds crew to Edgewood last week to help fight the then-rising Red River. "I had my own battle this year trying to get the course ready and to flood on top of it, I didn't need that."
Ditto for Osgood's Lisa Schwinden, like Heitkamp, an Edgewood transplant. The 25-year-old former Fargo Shanley High School and University of Portland standout is one of four women in a three-state area to hold the title of head golf professional. She's been doing everything from stocking the pro shop to filming commercials to training employees Tuesday morning in the yet-unfinished clubhouse. The parking lot, restaurant and three practice holes need work, too.
As for the main nine holes, which feature five sets of tees, most of the ruggedness is by design. Bunkers blend into a large pond on No. 7. Native grasses beyond the wide rough and wider ninth fairway are nearly four feet tall. But, according to Heitkamp, the greens and tee boxes are "excellent" and have been ready for play since last fall.
And if the number of inquisitive phone calls is any indication - the course isn't accepting tee times until Thursday - Osgood will receive plenty of attention even in an abbreviated season.
"I think come Friday the accomplishment will speak for itself," Heitkamp said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Terry Vandrovec at (701) 241-5548