Will the city's proposed golf course become one of the top 100 courses in the nation?
That's one of the questions North Salt Lake Council members asked architect Keith Foster Tuesday when the parties met for the first time during a council meeting."Our goal is to create one of the top 100 courses in the country," Foster said, stressing that there are no guarantees on that kind of success. Foster, from Phoenix, has previously designed 20 courses, two of which are currently ranked among the top 100 in the nation.
The proposed North Salt Lake course will have three distinct looks with some great topography and variety, according to Foster. The first nine holes will sit in a bowl - a former gravel quarry - with the remaining nine holes expanding outward. Foster believes the topography will create a premier course.
He said he has tried to develop the course to blend in with the surrounding environment and that it will have wide quarters to buffer the area between housing and the course. He also said he hopes to create "windows" where passers-by can see into the course and yet still preserve some privacy for the golfers themselves.
"We intend to grass the entire golf course - wall to wall," Foster said.
Although the city has yet to sign an official agreement with Sky Properties of Bountiful, key development firm for the course, some preliminary grading work on the area has been done.
The course will be similar to the Wing Point golf course near the Salt Lake International Airport, but officials stressed that North Salt Lake City's course will not be of the "destination" type.
Councilman Bryon Bervan expressed concern about whether the golf course can pay for itself during its first two years. Although he and the rest of the council are convinced that it will more than pay for itself in the long run, Bervan is not sure about those first several years and is concerned about the possible financial risk to the city.
"We don't want to sell the golf course to the public, believing that it will start out with a great cash flow," he said.
Council members also expressed concern about the possibility of uncovering springs while building the course. The developers maintain that they can incorporate the water into the existing design of the course.
The Utah Golf Association is still interested in renting a portion of the golf course's clubhouse and eventually in establishing its own office and even a Utah Golf Hall of Fame there.
The City Council will meet with developers on June 11 in executive session to hash out finer details.
Officials in nearby West Bountiful City also announced plans Tuesday night to expand that city's existing nine-hole course to 18 holes within two years.