There is no better time to be a golfer in the Sioux Empire– at least in the last 30 or so years.
The golf landscape has evolved drastically in Sioux Falls and its surrounding area over the past 18-months. Improvements to the course designs themselves were evident, as well as drastic infrastructure changes for the city’s golf.
Elmwood Golf Course, Sioux Falls’ northern most golf facility (and as most refer to it, “the one by the airport”) joined in on the chaos. Their 3-year renovation schedule broke ground last year.
Due to expansion needs from the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, Elmwood was forced to make extensive alterations to their course. A plan was developed for the enrichment of Elmwood, a plan which was slated for 2013 and expected to run through 2016.
“Since the airport changes needed to be made, our goal was not only making Elmwood as good as it was, but in making it better than ever,” said Tom Jansa, the President of Dakota Golf Management.
Dakota Golf Management (DGM) is the management organization which operates Elmwood and the other of the city owned courses, Prairie Green Golf Course and Kuehn Park Golf Course. The 2015 season will commemorate the 20th anniversary for Dakota Golf Management.
East Course Completion
In the fall of 2014, the first phase was completed. Elmwood’s East Course was fully-upgraded and re-introduced to the golfing public. The course’s modifications, although only experienced by a few lucky individuals in the fall of 2014, are expected to put the nine holes on par with the rest of the facility at Elmwood.
“The East Course was fully upgraded from tee-to-green,” stated Jansa, who is thrilled to see the Nine’s facelift. “Some of the routing and layout will stay the same and golfers may recognize a few spots, but structurally it is much improved.”
“We’ve added drainage and added topography,” said Jansa. “Along with brand new, large, perfectly level tee boxes, conditions on the East Course are going to be on the same level as the other two nines.”
The added drainage is designed to help the course handle the elements better, while the topography will give golfers an entirely new look at the course. The East Nine will be part of the 18-hole course at Elmwood as the North Nine (Back) and West Nine (Front) experience their restorations. Once all 27 holes are open in 2017, Elmwood will revert to operating as it did before the renovation, with the Championship Course (West and North) and a separate East Course.
In closing the North Nine, also referred to as the course’s back nine, Elmwood moves forward with their 2014-2015 itinerary. The North Nine sits in close proximity to the airport, so some trees were removed as well as the re-routing of a few holes. Tom Jansa further explained the changes for the North Nine:
“We’ve added some cart paths and completely redid the irrigation work on the North Nine. When we closed on October 1, we broke ground. With some fantastic fall weather, we were able to accomplish a lot of the changes we needed to implement before winter arrived. We completed a great deal of the irrigation and drainage and even started working on the junior course.”
The North Nine will be closed all summer as the construction concludes and the turf grows in, but the plan is the same as was executed for the East Course in 2014 with the new North Nine opening in September.
The driving range has been re-done!
Some of the most obvious changes will be the large mounds and added topography to the driving range. With a new, visually appealing range, golfers will be given entirely new vantage points and targets when working on their golf games.
A bigger, better teeing area is another driving range highlight for golfers to use, as well as a re-seeded hitting area. Behind the hitting area is a slate to be used during inclement weather or unsuitable conditions. Overall, the driving range’s remodel will be an excellent upgrade to the 27-hole facility.
One of the most noted improvements at Elmwood will be the turf changes. When Elmwood was built in the 1960s, it didn’t have the luxury of the modern-day technological advances in turf. The new grass will match the grass seen at Prairie Green Golf Course, a low-mow bluegrass.
The low-mow bluegrass will be much more sturdy and playable for golfers, as well as being more durable for the grounds crew. For anyone who has played Prairie Green, they are familiar with the type of grass Elmwood is looking to achieve. A much improved turf with improved irrigation bodes well for course conditions!
Along with the low-mow bluegrass, the greens were all re-planted, with plans of featuring pure, consistent bent grass greens.
And in news that will please all of the loyal patrons of Elmwood Golf Course, the Kiwanis/Russell road construction is finally complete. Two long years of battling construction will now be alleviated and entering the Elmwood parking lot on a warm summer’s day will be easier than ever!
Elmwood’s 2015 Programs
Elmwood also released their 2015 programs and season pass information. If you’re looking to play golf at Elmwood this year, feel free to check out their plans for 2015 below!
Future Plans, 2015 and on….
The plans moving forward for Elmwood are to continue to complete one course per season until all 27 holes have been renovated.
As the North Nine remains closed and re-opens in 2015, the West Nine will then close in the fall of 2015 and remain closed through the fall of 2016.
By the year 2017, all three courses will be renovated, upgraded, improved and comply with all airport directives. It is a date the team at Elmwood is looking forward to greatly.
Along with the golf course changes, some provisional plans have been laid out regarding a golf-themed hotel at the backside of the Elmwood driving range. The hotel will be part of the sports and entertainment district created by the city and will be “premier center friendly.” This is a project which DGM will be sure to inform their clientele of, as it would be beneficial to the golf course.
Elmwood is one year closer to being completed. The team at Dakota Golf Management is thrilled to see the changes made and are even more excited to get out and enjoy the improvements!
Tom Jansa and his entire team wanted to extend a thank you to all of Elmwood’s golfers.
“It’s fun, but its tough to see [all the changes],” said Jansa. “It’s always going to be painful to disrupt our way of business, but I am confident in the changes and excited to see the final product. The loyalty of our customers is excellent and its been reassuring they’ve stood behind us throughout this process.”
And to the Elmwood faithful, you’re one year closer to 2017.