The proper color is returning to the course at the old Minot Country Club.
The course and grounds suffered severe damage during the flood of 2011. When floodwater finally receded, the beautiful green fairways had given way to layers of silt. High water killed all the grass it covered - fairways, greens and tee boxes. Green had given way to dull gray and brown.
Shrubs and trees, some of them aging giants that contributed to the unique personality of the course, were killed, too. More than 550 of them have already been removed. Some will eventually be replaced. Others will not. Many of the trees had become so large that they actually obstructed some player's views and changed the way some shots were played. The removal of those trees is expected to make portions of the course more playable.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN • Hole No. 4 at what was formerly the Minot Country Club is among the portions of the course coming back to life as new grass continues to emerge. The course suffered severe damage during the 2011 flood.
Sale of the Minot Country Club was approved at a meeting of stockholders in late June. A new group of private investors purchased the Minot Country Club under the new name of "28 Club." According to a release issued by the Minot Country Club's board of directors, the sale included the land, buildings and golf carts. While the purchase price was not revealed, it is known an independent valuation listed the flooded property worth $800,000.
Bruce Ruppert, long-time greenskeeper for the Minot Country Club, has been busy bringing the devastated course back to life. A new sprinkler system has been installed, one of the first steps necessary to ensure the growth of new grass. To date it has taken 42,000 pounds of grass seed to rejuvenate the course. It has been a huge undertaking.
"I've never done a whole course at one time before," said Ruppert. "But it's what we prefer to do."
Fairway grass is a mixture of 60 percent rye and 40 percent Kentucky bluegrass. The greens are being seeded with a relatively new variety of bentgrass that is expected to provide a combination of excellent play and durability. On Wednesday, for the first time since the 2011 flood, Ruppert was operating a lawnmower at the course.
"It is good to be on the mower again," Ruppert said.
If all goes well and growth at the course continues next spring, play could begin at the "new" old course as early as next June. If that occurs, it will mark a milestone transformation for one of the most notable and recognizable facilities in the history of Minot.
When the "28 Club" does open for play, the aging clubhouse will be gone. The stately structure was ravaged by flood water and is scheduled for demolition. The nearby and much smaller pro shop was damaged, too, but it is expected to undergo a renovation so that it can serve the needs of golfers utilizing the layout.
Sections of the earthen dike protecting the course from the Souris River were also damaged during the 2011 flood. Those areas are expected to be corrected. Initial proposed flood control plans requested by the State Water Commission call for a large dike to be constructed across a portion of the course. However, it is not known when, or if, that plan will be acted upon.
According to the MCC Board of Directors, they intend to use proceeds from the sale of the old club toward the construction of a new Minot Country Club with "full country club amenities, such as a club house and swimming pool" in southeast Minot. No construction has begun.