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.”
The new course 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.