It doesn't have the beauty of Pebble Beach nor the history of St. Andrews but it should see just as much action.
Lower Site Golf Links is a four-hole golf course, free to the public, that recently opened at the Brainerd High School lower site.
The course was built as a practice facility for Warriors' high school golf teams, community education programs and the public. It will also help the Brainerd athletic department by saving on transportation costs.
Instead of busing golfers to Pine Meadows or other area courses, Warriors golfers may now practice their swing in their backyard.
The venture took eight years of planning and financial support. Brainerd attorney Glen Gustafson, leader of the project, said he received assistance with planning and financial support.
"Brian Thuringer of Madden's provided a very sizable initial fund for us," Gustafson said. "That was a springboard for the committee to go out into the community and raise funds for this.
"We raised about $70,000. The cost was $56,000 so we are in the process of spending some of the rest by placing a fountain in the pond, tee box signs and other things to help the course."
To ensure low maintenance and longevity, the tees and greens have an artificial surface, yet they hold shots like a grass green.
"You hit shots into these greens and they settle right in," said Gustafson. "It's not like bouncing on concrete at all. It has a nice putting surface as well."
After the site for the greens and tees was determined, six inches of top soil was removed and replaced with Class 5 gravel. Golf Landscapes then put down a mixture of clay and lime that absorbs water quickly and put down artificial grass with long thread. The artificial grass is then filled with sand up to the tops of the strands to create a cushion effect.
The maintenance cost to the Brainerd School District is minimal. A simple sweeping of the greens and tees is all that is necessary.
The four holes will benefit Warriors boys' and girls' golf programs as well as physical education classes. It also will give area residents a chance to practice their game at no cost.
"It's going to serve a lot of needs for us," Brainerd activities director Todd Selk said. "Our varsity golf teams will use it until (area) courses open and then our junior high golf teams will use it. Our physical education and community education programs will get the chance to use the facility. After the school season the community can use it at their leisure. It's good for the school as well the community.
"It's a tremendous facility. We think it has to be unique. There aren't many of these in the state where you have golf holes on your school site. It's a great contribution by a number of community members."
For safety purposes, high school athletics have priority on the property. With football, soccer and cross country teams practicing for their fall seasons the public is asked to wait until teams are finished with workouts before playing the course.
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