Work begins on the back nine at Millsite. This bulldozer works on hole 10.
Play will continue on the front nine through the construction period.
A long awaited event came to the Millsite Golf Course in Ferron this week as ground was broken on the back nine holes of the course. It has been the wish of the course since it opened the front nine to be able to expand the course to 18 holes. Although play on the back nine is still far in the future, estimates are fall of 2010, players are excited that the work has begun.
Millsite Course Golf Pro Jordan Leonard said, "Play will continue at Millsite even though we are under construction. This is a project we have looked forward to for a long time."
There is still a hold up with the Bureau of Land Management as the patent for the project is still pending on the other side of the road where some of the new holes will be located. So while the patent is being processed, work has started on the holes which will be constructed adjacent to existing holes on the course already within the disturbed area on the course for which a patent already exists. Directly below the club house construction has started on a new hole number one and between holes eight and nine construction has begun on a new hole which will become hole 10.
Kris Abegglen, is the designer for the Millsite expansion project.
A request for additional funds was submitted to the CIB for inclusion on their April 2 agenda. The biggest jump in cost was due to the pumps needed for the project. The cost went from $60,000 to $120,000, and the cost of the three phase power which is needed to run those pumps has also increased. An extra $54,000 was added to the final cost of the project due to unexpected costs from the BLM. During the process, the BLM informed the committee there may be cactus in one area of the expansion. This created the situation where an environmental assessment was needed, and then some redesign work was required. Other costs have also risen during the planning stages.
Abegglen said, "Nielson's Construction has done a great job for this project. They worked with everyone involved during a meeting for the revisions. Everyone involved cut as much as possible without losing the quality of the course. We went through a very thorough process."
Brian Barton from Jones and DeMille Engineering explained the changes that have occurred as the golf course expansion has tried to go forward. "A large portion of the requested lease property near Millsite Reservoir was deemed to have the same soil as land on the other side of the lake where a potentially endangered cactus was found. The Bureau of Land Management felt there was a possibility of those same cactus growing on that parcel. These cactus grow entirely underground and are usually not visible, but for three weeks in April, their flowers project above ground level. We would have been required to wait until after the bloom in the spring for the cactus survey to be made," said Barton.
He went on to explain that due to time line considerations concerning the construction deadlines, they could not wait. The decision was made to abandon the plan to utilize the lake side parcel of land, and reorganize the existing nine holes and reduce the number of holes from the back nine to be near the lake, to one. This one hole will not be built on the parcel in question.
The new plan is to build only hole number one on the west side of the existing course near the clubhouse. Making this hole number one would allow for the existing hole number one to become hole number nine on the front nine. Hole number 10 will be constructed between the existing number eight and nine and the existing number nine will become hole number 11.
Holes number 12 and 13 will be constructed to the west of the existing parking lot, with holes number 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 to be constructed on the south side of the canyon road. To conserve on the construction costs, these holes will not have complete fairways with lawn planted. They will have tee boxes which players will hit across some portion of the desert landscape to a grassed in landing area, leading up to the green.
Par on the proposed nine hole expansion will be 35 and will utilize three par threes, two par fives, and four par fours. Length of the back nine will be 2,931 from the back tees.
Abegglen, course designer, said, "We have remodeled to fit the area we have left while retaining the views and making some great holes. This new plan utilizes the area most efficiently. We have to do this within the budget and the new holes fit naturally in the area. We are making some improvements on the existing nine. Construction on the remodel and the new nine will allow play to continue with minimal interruption."
The golf course is operating on an existing permit which encompasses most of the expansion project as well. A small portion of the new nine is outside the existing permit boundaries. A permit is required to do work on that parcel of land. In the beginning of the expansion process, the BLM assured the golf course committee the permit would not be a problem. Now, three years later, the permit has not been issued and is still pending signature from the BLM.