Newly planted hole number 18 looking towards the green at the end of the fairway on the back nine at Millsite.
Watching the new grass grow on the back nine has become a past-time for interested golfers at the Millsite golf course up Ferron Canyon. Golf pro at Millsite, Jordan Leonard, said "The back nine has been planted and the grass is starting to grow. We have had to reseed some areas because of rain storms but are excited to see how fast it's coming in. The greens have been planted with bent grass and the fairways with Kentucky blue grass which is the same as the front nine. However, the grass on the back nine has been engineered to be more adaptable to the desert environment and climate. We will also overseed the front nine with bent grass on the greens, which will make them nice and puttable.
"The back nine is scheduled to open in Spring 2011, but we do hope to play some rounds in November of this year. On the back nine there are three par threes, two par fives, and four par fours for a 35 par course. The front nine is par 36 so combined we will have a par 71 course when complete.
"We have worked closely with the golf course designer to ensure the back nine looks like it was constructed at the same time as the front nine and have kept the same tendencies on the back nine as there are on the front nine. It will all blend together to make a complete course. On many of the back nine holes the men will be hitting over native ground to landing areas. The ladies will only hit over native areas on one of the par threes. This isn't much different than on hole two of the course now, where the men drive over the spillway.
"On the back nine there are four holes which will be easier than the front nine. There are three holes comparable to the front nine and there are two holes more difficult than any we have on the front nine right now, but that are absolutely breathtaking.
"The sprinklers are all functioning well and we are tweaking them to ensure efficiency and accuracy. We have ordered some pure, beautiful white sand for the bunkers as there is a bunker on each hole on the back nine. There is a beautiful par three similar to the one at Palisades where you hit over a gorge. The cart paths will be gravel to start with but we hope to pave them as more funding becomes available in the future. We have also received 23 new carts.
"Our local golfers are itching to get out there and play now that they can see the grass coming through and having another nine holes will really benefit them. When we have out of town tournaments, we won't have to shut down the course for as long, if at all. The pace of play will greatly improve, and we hope to keep the course full.
"There is a lot of excitement for the new back nine. Not only from our locals, but we have some people from Salt Lake who are purchasing season passes for next year already and the Price residents are also interested. We have had calls from people all over the state asking when we are going to open. The word is out about our expansion and people all over are excited.
"We have stayed really busy this year, in spite of the construction, and the support of the local community has been unreal. We have actually been able to meet our budget even though we've been under construction.
"Another added bonus at the course is the Millsite Snack Shack, which opened last summer. They are open Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Their food is delicious so we encourage you to come up and try the restaurant even if you aren't a golfer.
"We have had several tournaments so far this season. We had the Gunnison Correctional Facility Employees, power plant workers, Millsite Mens Association, Birds and Birdies, Senior 200 scramble (where the ages of the four players had to exceed 200 when combined), the Miss Emery fundraiser, Emery Telcom, the Little People of America fundraiser, and the San Rafael Junior High golf field day. We have the Emery County Fair golf tournament coming up on Aug. 14 and the Peach Days golf tournament on Sept. 11, so give us a call at 384-2887 to sign up your team. We also have a night golf tournament with glow balls on Aug. 6. It is a four person scramble beginning at 9:30 p.m. It costs $45 per person and extra glow balls are $5 each. This is a really fun tournament and you usually don't lose your ball, because they are easy to find.
"We do want to have an opening event. A preview four-person scramble for the locals is being planned, but is contingent on the weather and if the grass grows and is well established on the back nine. We will have a ribbon cutting and maybe a turkey tournament in November where we will golf 18 holes, have dinner, and award prizes. With the completion of the back nine we can have as many as 30 teams or more in our tournaments.
"We will also have a grand opening for the back nine and invite everyone out next spring 2011.
"The maintenace crew has done a great job keeping the golf course playable during this construction period and we appreciate the community for supporting the course and allowing for the expansion. We are grateful to all who worked on the course and have helped make the back nine a reality. We've waited a long time for this," said Leonard.