Located a couple of miles outside the state capital Bismark, the course at Hawktree Golf Club burst onto the golf scene at the end of the 1990s, quickly vying with The Links of North Dakota at Red Mike Resort as the number one course in the Roughrider State.
Jim Engh was the architect behind the contemporary design at Hawktree, weaving eight of the fairways in and around Burnt Creek with another three holes constructed around three man made lakes.
Elevation changes in the routing – such as at the par three 3rd and the par five 18th – offer some wonderful panoramic views of the local landscape but the abiding feature here is one rarely found on a golf course – black sand!
Actually, the bunkers are filled with black coal slag (a neat way of solving the problem of losing sand when storms blow through the mid West states) and they give the course its own rather distinctive stamp in a golfing world where most modern courses are constructed with snowy white sand traps – hat’s off to Jim Engh for daring to be different!
Architect Jim Engh commented as follows:
“Originally, the clients wanted to use an expensive
white bunker sand. I suggested that with the North Dakota winds and prairie,
the white sand would be brown in very short order. The discussions continued
for months, then one day, while meeting with the greens superintendent at his
shop, I noticed a coffee can full of a material that appeared to be black sand.
As it turned out, this was the remains of the coal that was burned at a nearby
power plant. Typically, it was used to sandblast stripes from highways. After
some convincing with the clients and a test bunker, the decision was made to
use the alternative substance.”