A very tight window of golfing will be available for the full layout of Elmwood Golf Course until the final stage begins. The renovation of the North Nine is complete.

Changes were necessary as the adjacent Sioux Falls Regional Airport needed to comply with safety regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration. Expansion of the runway safety area necessitated a new fence and some trees that were too tall for the flight path had to come out.

Tom Jansa of Dakota Golf Management says the chance to improve the course during the construction phase allows Elmwood to be prepared for a bright future. “This particular layout has been here for about 50 years. We’ve piecemealed irrigation and done a cart path here or there. It’s nice to have it all done at the same time and it really sets Elmwood on a sustainability path for another 50 to 70 years.”

As golfers take to the North Nine, Jansa says there will be a fair amount of similarity to the previous layout. “Most of the course is relatively unchanged. At least half of the holes were re-constructed with new features. The new holes that were built were in the style of Elmwood. Everything that we did was predicated on trying to re-create the Elmwood experience under the circumstances of trying to help the airport out.”

The official ribbon cutting came almost a week after the scheduled announcement was postponed after the course sustained heavy rains. Jansa says the course was ready for play by the afternoon last Friday. “It sounds strange to say we had ONLY 2.7 inches of rain. We rehabilitated the sand traps and pumped out some standing water and we’ve been going strong ever since.”

More updates are coming soon. Phase 3 construction will begin on Tuesday, September 8, on the West Nine, including the construction of the other half of the new junior course. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in September 2016, when Elmwood will resume normal operations as a 27-hole facility.