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Dads still chasing Lindon links dream

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LINDON — Rick Holmes and his partners haven't given up on the idea of putting a nine-hole golf course over the old Lindon landfill.

They are as serious about creating a place where young golfers can practice without feeling they're in the way.

It's just taking much longer than they planned to raise the money. In August, they plan to blitz those who may be interested in sponsoring the project with letters and verbal pleas.

"Nineteen months ago, we signed a contract (with the North Utah County District Landfill board) to lease the land for $3,500 a year. We hoped someone would recognize this as a labor of love and offer to help us with the costs, which we estimate will come to $1.5 million," said Holmes.

"Our main hangup now is funding. That's kind of where we are. We aren't millionaires. We're just fathers of kids who want to play this game."

Holmes and his partners, Ryan Liddiard and Kevin Santiago, want to build on and north of the capped landfill at 2000 West and 200 South in Lindon. The parcel is 50 acres.

"We hate to give up. We think it's a useful project, but it isn't fair to hold onto the option forever," Holmes said.

Stewart Cowley, landfill district director, said he thinks a golf course is the best use for the giant hump of garbage that's been accumulated on the site for more than 50 years.

Cowley said there are buyers interested in the land, which was idled in 1993 and capped with a clay liner in 1994. He said there are no methane gas emissions and no leaks or cracks but the board would prefer not to have buildings on it.

"A golf course is outdoors. It can be a little bit fluid so we can continue to add compost and do some of the things we need to do," Cowley said. "This is one of the most common uses for retired landfills."

"This golf course would always be evolving," Holmes said.

Building a golf course over the man-made mountain will have some special challenges, such as taking care not to penetrate the clay cap and designing a sophisticated sprinkling system that can pump water from below to the top of the hill. More topsoil would have to be hauled in even though there's already a 3-4 foot crown, and trees would have to be strategically situated so roots do not grow into the cap.

However, Holmes estimated the challenges are surmountable and the greens could be seeded and growing within 18 months.

"It could be beautiful. People have no idea what the view is like from the top," Holmes said.

Holmes, Santiago and Liddiard are hoping to set up the "Garden Island Golf Course Learning Center" as an affordable kid-friendly facility for youngsters who love the game and need daily access to a course.

Currently, only the East Bay golf course in Provo offers a measurable discount for youth, Holmes said, and then golfers playing behind a group of youngsters tend to become impatient with their progress.

"Tiger Woods has brought on a phenomenon," Holmes said. "There's lots of kids who want to play, but they're squeezed out."

Liddiard, who is a member of the Professional Golf Association, would probably be the course pro. He said not only would the Garden Island course offer cheaper green fees for kids but it would provide teaching centers, practice areas and youth tournaments.

"We all have kids interested in this game," Santiago said. "That's why we're doing this. Our vision is one of providing a place for low-cost family recreation."

E-MAIL: haddoc@desnews.com