“Ambitious” plan to renovate Lakeview golf course in Mitchell goes into effect

by | Sep 22, 2021 | Golf Courses

The goal is to find the golf course sweet spot that much of the golf industry is balancing: how to make the course playable for golfers of all ages while still challenging to draw competitive tournaments and offer a test for seasoned golfers.

This means that Lakeview wants to build new front tees on every hole on the course. A study by the Golf and Cemetery Board and Minnesota-based Norby Golf Course Design consultant Kevin Norby found that Mitchell has one of the longest golf courses in the state of South Dakota. He currently plays at 5,688 yards, but the addition of new tees would create a 4,690 yard course for beginners and less experienced players alike.

The master plan was presented Monday by Mitchell Golf and Cemetery Director Jason Gunnare to Mitchell City Council, who did not have to vote on the presentation, which was informative in nature. The plan has eight phases of varying costs, and when all phases are complete, the estimated cost has been estimated at $ 3.55 million. The plan will guide the golf course’s capital requirements over the next 10 years, Gunnare said.

Norby has been involved in a number of South Dakota projects including renovations to Elmwood Golf Course and Bakker Crossing Golf Course, both in Sioux Falls, as well as master planning for the Brookings Country Club.

“We want to make the course more playable for all levels and make it more challenging for the better golfers,” said Gunnare. “The red teas were known as women’s teas in the past, but it is important that they are better adapted to the skill level.”

Among the most ambitious long-term goals: redeveloping the driving range with new hitting stations and targets, creating a 3-hole short course loop that could possibly one day expand to 11 holes, and building a stand-alone 32,000-square-foot Himalayan putting course on the site of the former lawn bowling facility.

The goal, Gunnare said Monday, is to continue the momentum the golf course and game of golf have experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic, while socially distant outdoor sports have seen a renaissance of old and new players. Lakeview has nearly 600 members this year, he said. The short course and putting course – with large mounds and bumps with holes that could be changed year-round – would allow additional golfers to play at night and on weekends without teeing off.

“The golf course wants to encourage new golfers,” said Gunnare. “We had a very good year and we would like to continue that. One of the benefits of COVID is that we’ve seen a surge in new golfers and people who haven’t played in a long time are returning to the game. “

These projects are the most expensive at $ 745,000 for the renovation of the driving range and three-hole short course and $ 678,000 for the putting course and eight additional short holes.

As for the other long-term changes to the plan for Lakeview in Phases 2-4:

  • Removing and relocating many cart paths to widen fairways and add bunkers and thin out the unhealthy and undesirable trees.

  • Realign the 11th par 4 hole and move the green complex south to where the current 12th tee box is.

  • Remove the current par-3 12th hole, which is uphill at a height of 150-170 meters, and build a new par-4 12th hole, which is played from 310 to 365 meters.

  • Build a new pond north of the current 13th hole for drainage purposes, which would be reconstructed.

  • Build a new par-3 14th hole approximately 160 yards long and replace the removed par-3 by removing the 12th hole. The change would also mean that the par 5 15th hole would be shortened to a par 4 of 385 to 455 yards and the par 71 of the course would be instead of the current 72.

Phases 5 and 6 would include relocating the # 7 green to protect it from the nearby 8th hole and rebuild the green at # 8. Gunnare said the first five phases of the project were a top priority.

“The city needs a certain commitment, not to spend a certain amount, but to agree to the direction in which we are going. … There has to be a direction so that we know where we have to go. “

City council members generally supported the master plan.

“There are some ambitious ideas in the plan, but if we don’t implement the plan and publish it, we will never make progress,” said Councilor Steve Rice. “There are some exciting things that can be done out there to improve playability and the pace of the game.”

“I like a lot about this plan. … If we don’t invest in the gem we have it will just be another golf course, ”said Councilor Jeff Smith.

Gunnare said the goal will be to do the first phase in 2022 with tree work and cut-off boxes, although the scope of the action will depend on the city’s budgeting process. He said that some of the work could be done during the winter season and the goal is to keep the square open during the renovations.