The revitalization of all 18 holes at the North Battleford Golf & Country Club (NBGCC) is a “long range plan” but the metaphoric tee shot has been launched.
Six years ago the golf club underwent a one-million-dollar irrigation upgrade project that was paid for through fundraising and a positive relationship with the city of North Battleford. The course is beginning to redesign all 18 holes, this past season work began on hole four. Director of Golf Dana Johnson said the NBGCC members voted to begin on the troubled par-four.
“We’ve had a hard time getting the grass established on the fairway to make it short and simple,” Johnson told Golf Saskatchewan. “What also contributed to the problem is a 24” watermain that has broke four or five times in two years. This hole has been a problem the last quite a few years.”
Work on the hole was stalled due to the weather across Western Saskatchewan this past season. Johnson said the hole is fun to play leading to the members approving the upgrades first.
“It’s a more modern hole with a slight dogleg uphill and the green is a new modern style green but it’s a risk-reward, par four,” he said. “You can try to drive the green but there are two bunkers facing you. You have to challenge the bunkers and to the left there is a roll out area that collects balls.”
If golfers choose to lay up and sit at 200 yards from the 325-yard tee box a couple fairway bunkers also come into play. Johnson said two holes will be developed on four, potentially in the future the NBGCC will design a new driving range or a smaller scale practice range. Funding programs are in place, but Johnson admits the revenue is slow going.
“The challenges are now, with this new long range plan we’re going to start with hole four and do as much as we can and pay it off as we can. We with then decide what’s next and pay it off as we can,” he said.
If the weather cooperates hole four should be ready for play in the fall of 2019.
Aside from course renovations, Johnson continues to build junior golf in the North Battleford region every year. The NBGCC offers free lessons to upwards of 110 kids per week in the early summer months. Working closely with the Boys and Girls Club of North Battleford, Johnson said giving back goes beyond the benefits of the course.
“The Boys and Girls club do a great job with the different programs offered for kids, and we thought we could offer golf to their current programs being offered. They do a great job, but we felt by offering golf lessons, the kids had an opportunity to learn a new sport. We enjoy having the kids during the lessons and have many laughs with the kids during the time at the golf course.”