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Fashioning a great new course out of a coal mine

Who looks at an old coal mine and thinks, ” Hey, that would be a great place for a golf course”?

Next year, you’ll get to see for yourself when Coal Creek, just south of Tofield, opens its doors. “You will be blown

away,” said Derek Gibson, the former head pro

at the Royal Mayfair after taking a look at the historic Dodds Coal Mine site, which

is magically being transformed into a golf

course by Puddicombe Golf Design and Construction.

“It is absolutely amazing.”

“We’ve kept a lot of the old tailings — the natural, inorganic residue of coal mining — the open-pit mine quarries, existing ridges, wetlands and natural features and what was dug out became lakes and ponds,” said Grant Puddicombe. “Even the bunkers will be filled by black sand, which will look like coal.”

Puddicombe said more than 1-1/2-million cubic yards of material had to be moved to reshape the property, which has been used as a coal mine since 1918.

Nine of the 18 championship golf course holes are projected to open in June, with the other nine possibly opening in the fall.

“The golf course will be of a very high standard and will be of sufficient quality to handle any professional tournament although the prime target will be for area residents,” Puddicombe said.

Six of the holes will wind through rugged old hills, bush and ponds. Another six will dip into the quarries of steep hills and lakes. The other six holes will resemble an open prairie-links course.

At the same time, Puddicombe Golf Design and Construction are finishing the back nine of Whitetail Crossing Golf Club, located in Mundare. Puddicombe Golf and Edmonton businessman Laurent LeBlanc have partnered together to own, operate and develop the course, which will stretch from 5,400 to 7,100 yards.

A prairie-links course that makes extensive use of the existing wetlands and natural bush areas, Puddicombe said the course, the centrepiece of a 600-lot residential subdivision, “will be a nice, user-friendly course. It has a rural feel to it and is not overly demanding.”

cstock@thejournal.canwest.com

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