Coon Rapids plans to upgrade golf course

Proposed upgrades to the city of Coon Rapids’ Bunker Hill Golf Course operation have been given the green light by the Coon Rapids City Council.

Expansion plans for the Bunker Hills Golf Course practice putting green and driving range, as well as creation of learning center at the far end of the driving range have been given the green light by the Coon Rapids City Council.

Expansion plans for the Bunker Hills Golf Course practice putting green and driving range, as well as creation of learning center at the far end of the driving range have been given the green light by the Coon Rapids City Council.

The council has approved the hiring of Herfort Nordby Golf Course Architects, LLC to design the expansion/renovation of the driving range/practice green at Bunker Hills as well as creation of a learning center for professional golf instruction.

The cost of the contract with Herfort Nordby, which includes preparation of preliminary and final plans and cost estimates, will be $5,750 and will be taken from the golf fund balance.

According to Golf Director Tim Anderson, Bunker Hills has a driving range teeing ground and practice green that were designed and built for an 18-hole course.

But since then the course has expanded to 27 championship holes plus a nine-hole executive course.

“The high level of activity on these practice areas created by a very busy 36-hole complex presents a substandard product that does not meet with the high standard expected for the facility,” Anderson wrote in a report to the council.

Expansion and renovation of the general practice area will provide for more teeing ground and additional practice opportunities, he said.

“The city of Coon Rapids will benefit from additional driving range revenues as well as a practice facility that matches the quality of the golf course and clubhouse,” Anderson wrote.

There are space limitation on expansion of the driving range/practice green because of the location of golf course holes and the parking lot.

But the plan would likely be to move some current blacktop areas to free up more green space, he said.

In addition, Anderson wants to construct a learning center at the course, which he told council “could place Bunker Hills Golf Club at the top of the list for quality instruction in the state of Minnesota.”

“It would benefit the city of Coon Rapids by creating a regional destination for golf instruction and growth of game programming,” he said.

As well, the city would benefit from expanded revenue with the instructional activities, according to Anderson.

The learning center, which would include a building, would be located at the north end of the driving range in a wooded area that is part of the golf course property that is leased by the city from Anoka County, which operates Bunker Hills Regional Park, Anderson said.

Construction would include some partial excavation for a short-game learning area, while the building would be large enough to accommodate two separate lessons at one time, he said.

Preliminary estimates to renovate and expand the driving range and practice green is between $204,000 and $262,000, while the learning center construction would cost between $165,000 and $225,000, Anderson wrote in his report to the council.

Under Anderson’s recommendation, both projects would be financed by internal city loans, which would be paid back from additional revenues generated by the new facilities.

The projects would be built in 2013 with the plans to be completed by the end of this year, Anderson said.

Staff has met informally with Herfort Nordby, which has worked on many similar projects, he said.

According to Anderson, golf course staff are currently in discussions with the Minnesota Professional Golfers Association (MPGA), which has its office at the Bunker Hills Clubhouse, in hopes that it might pay half the architect’s cost.

Twin Cities-based Herfort Nordby has been in business for 22 years, working on golf course design projects in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

Bunker Hills opened with 18 championship holes in 1968 with the executive nine added in 1974 and nine more championships in 1989. David Gill was the architect for the original 18 holes and the executive nine, while Joel Goldstrand designed the additional nine championship holes.

Par for all three championship nine holes is 36, while par is 32 on the executive nine. The course are 75 bunkers and seven water hazards, which come into play on 10 holes.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com


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