Devastating floods destroyed the course at Minot Country Club in 2011 so members decided to relocate, hiring architect Jim Engh to create a brand new 18-layout in another part of town. This new track opened to much acclaim in 2015.
The original layout, built in 1928 by Tom Vardon, was virtually wiped out when the Souris River flooded, leaving the club with virtually no choice other than to move to pastures new in higher ground, bringing in OB Sports Golf Management for pre-opening consultation then ongoing management of the club.
Incredibly, a number of club diehards decided to rebuild the old course and it eventually reopened as a semi-private facility called Vardon Golf Club, with a Federal Emergency Management Agency dike protection program in place to protect the property.
Most of Minot’s financing for what became a $12.5 million project was raised from the local business community, five banks, two foundations and a number of private donors. Not only that, two hundred members continued to pay their monthly subscriptions despite not having a club or course to play for nearly four years.
“It was a leap of faith,” said club president Mark Hildahl. “We escrowed the money. They knew we were going to knock this out. Meanwhile, most of us would drive to Bismarck and pay to play Hawktree.”
Minot's new course, which officially opened in June 2015, has been described as “an ocular feast defined by idiosyncratic bounces, pot bunkers and quirky greens with surrounds that can both feed and defend a putting surface” but fairways have been kept wide, with mounded shoulders representing the little earthmoving that was undertaken.
The layout sits on extreme terrain which allows the wild topographic slopes to lend themselves to blind shots, uneven lies and difficult stances – at the same time providing the opportunity to hit booming drives from elevated tees and putt creatively on highly contoured greens.
Speaking to KX News, course architect Jim Engh said: “It’s a very unique and different kind of golf course. It’s more of an emotional experience, more of a ride, more of a fun element of the day rather than just going out and knocking a ball around a park.
We really liked what we had with the lay of the land. There are many key shots that you hit from above to the green down below. And because of that famous North Dakota wind, we made most of the fairways very, very large.”
I played here last year. Great new addition to courses in North Dakota.
If you have four days play Bully Pulpit, Links of ND, Minot Country Club and Hawktree. I do not think you can find four courses any better.
Great routing. Architect used every piece of land he had available. Great elevation changes. Green on some holes have the bowl effect. back to back par 5's on both sides. 2 and 3 on front and 17 and 18 on back. All of them are great holes water comes into play on all of them. Then lets not forgot 14 is another great Par 5.
If you like par threes, then the start of the back nine is up your alley. 3 of first 4 are par 3's. 7 and 10 play over 200 yards.
Has some great Par 4's Hole 1 is great hole to start down hill over water and back up hill. Hole 4 is up hill par 4.
Hole 8 is down hill Par 4 and then on 9 up hill towards clubhouse.
It is great use of the land. When you finish playing you will rank this as one of your favorites if not favorite.