Construction of the new $3.3-million, 18-hole golf course at Couchiching is on pace to provide a preview for area golfers later this summer.
“We’re shooting to open a driving range and practice areas by Aug. 15,” project manager Shane Jourdain said.
So far, 95 percent of the front nine have been rough graded and shaped with its irrigation system nearly complete. Jourdain added the back nine is “80 to 85 percent rough graded and shaped.”
“All we have left to do is finish up shaping and then we’re going to be starting sand-capping the fairways and seeding for grass,” he noted.
“We should have it fully seeded by the end of September.”
A layout for the new pro shop is still on the drawing board.
Construction of the 120-acre course, which straddles Frog Creek, began in March, 2001. The target opening date for the front nine is now June 1, 2003, with the back nine welcoming golfers a month later.
“It’s been going really well,” said Jourdain. “We’ve had some bad weather to begin with, but it’s seemed to subside and we’ve been going full force since.”
He noted John O’Brien of Sault Ste. Marie was hired as superintendent on May 13 and currently is overseeing construction, specifically the course’s seeding program and maintenance.
In related news, Couchiching also is waiting to hear back from the federal Department of Fisheries and Ocean on its proposal to build a bridge over Frog Creek.
The 120-foot-long bridge has met Coast Guard requirements as long as it’s a minimum three metres above high water.
“The plans are set. We’ve met those requirements and just waiting for the DFO to make their call in the next two weeks,” said Jourdain.