Edgewood GC in Fargo to Get Remodel

Following approval last year by the Fargo (N.D.) Park District, three holes prone to flooding on Edgewood Golf Course, one of five municipal facilities owned and operated by the district, will be redesigned to protect key playing areas from perennial water damage.

Established in 1925, Edgewood, ranked annually on Golf Digest's "Best Places to Play" list, is the only tree-lined public course in the Fargo metro area. Located on the north side of town, the layout is nearly encircled by the Red River, which is susceptible to flooding, especially in the spring.

Duininck Golf, a golf course construction firm headquartered in Prinsburg, Minn. 150 miles south of Fargo, has been hired to rebuild the holes as part of the city's flood mitigation project.

The company is no stranger to the region. In March 2009, Duininck, Inc., the golf division's parent company, provided relief assistance to the cities of Fargo and Moorhead, Minn. as the spring-thaw runoff engorged the waters of the Red River, making national headlines. Company crews joined area volunteers and National Guard troops to build emergency dikes and flood levees along the banks of the swollen waterway.

After the floods receded, Duininck Golf crews restored damaged areas at Fargo Country Club, specifically in areas where earthen dams had been constructed throughout the course. In addition, the company rebuilt the club's par-3 course, blending mounding and an earthen dike into the design.

"Even in years when flooding in the Fargo area doesn't break records, as is did in 2009, there are areas of the Edgewood course that are chronically prone to flooding," said company principal Judd Duininck, adding that designated work areas will be impacted by high river levels in the weeks ahead. "The revamped design of three holes on the front nine is intended to protect vulnerable areas on the course from spring water intrusion as well as flooding that often results from summer thunderstorms."

Phelps Atkinson Golf Course Design, a Colorado-based architecture firm, has sketched a plan that will significantly alter Edgewood's second, third and fourth holes:

No. 2, currently a short par-5, will be rerouted and converted to a 404-yard par-4, with a new set of tee boxes and a new green set on higher ground.

No. 3, a short par-4 at present, will be changed to a 202-yard par-3 with a new raised green and new tees built near the course entryway.

No. 4, previously a short par three, will be recast as a 495-yard straightaway par-5 paralleling the river.

Senior design associate Kevin Atkinson detailed the various geotechnical issues facing his firm. "We're trying to raise portions of the course to minimum flood standards," he said. "The key is to selectively raise tees, greens and fairways so that they're minimally impacted by flood waters. Keeping the grass alive and out of the main path of the water will enable the course to reopen more quickly. Following a flood, the superintendent would be left with a cleanup, not a re-grassing project."

Mark Lindberg, Edgewood's superintendent, said getting greens and tees out of the flood plain is essential, but added that he is more concerned about the effects of summer floods. "When standing water heats up after a summer downpour it kills the grass and also kills our revenues," he explained. "We can't sell a 15-hole golf course."

The most closely watched hole at Edgewood will be the new par-5 fourth. According to Duininck, "The new No. 4 lays along the banks of the Red River. Through careful engineering, the entire fairway will be raised up. The challenge for us will be to stabilize the material beside the river. Because of the instability of existing soils, only a limited amount of fill can be placed in the embankment area."

Construction on Edgewood's three front-nine holes was slated to begin in late April, with a mid-September 2010 reopening forecast depending on weather conditions.

For additional information about Edgewood Golf Course, visit http://fargogolf.net/edgewood.html. For more information about Duininck Golf, visit www.duininckgolf.com. For more details about Phelps Atkinson Golf Course Design, visit www.phelpsgolfdesign.com.