Jimmy Blair remains one of Utah’s most storied golf legends.

That he’s still has the competitive spirit of a Jordan Speith on a golf course isn’t a surprise. Neither is the fact he’s still putting a shovel to dirt and fixing courses.

He’s had his hand in competitions, trophies, victories, golf course design, course management and development. He was an All-American college golfer at BYU before dominating the Intermountain Region circuit, and even as a senior, he’s competed on the national level many times. His son Zac, now playing on the PGA Tour in the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic, also became one of the most successful amateur golfers in this state the past decade.

Now Blair is in the middle of doing a face-lift on Bloomington Country Club, work that includes refurbishing the clubhouse, cleaning up fairways and boundary rough, making new tee boxes and grooming the course in an upgraded private country club way. His management group also has a stake at nearby SunRiver Golf Club in Bloomington.

He’s a regular golf mechanic.

Last fall I had the chance to play a round with Jimmy at Riverside. The guy’s swing is automatic, his iron play superb, his short game enviable. The most impressive thing was how he just bore down on birdie putts. He made five of them that day, from all kinds of lengths. It was like magic watching him make these remarkable strokes on the green.

I called up a column by former Deseret News sports editor Lee Benson from summer of 1992 when Jimmy and his partners built Mulligans, a miniature golf/driving range facility out of a swamp by the Jordan River in South Jordan, a version of an earlier venture in Ogden. Benson labeled him the “Butch Cassidy of Western Golf” after then-37-year-old Jimmy dominated play in tourneys in Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and North and South Dakota.

“I am the Pete Dye of miniature golf,” Jimmy said at the time. Well, after managing Jeremy Ranch near Park City, taking on multiple other projects, this Bloomington Country Club deal and his remarkable transition work at SunRiver is big boy stuff.

Now at 61, Blair is in his prime as a golf baron, one of Utah’s treasures.

Blair and his partner at SunRiver, Darcy Stewart, have big plans for Bloomington, which has fought rumors the past year or so that it would be torn up and turned into a housing development.

That’s blasphemy for a Blair.

“The course renovation that began this spring will take six or seven months,” said Jimmy of the Bloomington project. “Next year we’ll do the swimming pool and a year after that the tennis court. It’s going to be a moderate project and it will be nice.”

Blair said his Bloomington design will make the course more competitive, tighter.

“There are currently 40 bunkers and we’ll end up with about 70. We’ll redo four or five greens. It will probably go to a par 71. We’ll make 18 more tee boxes to make it both longer and shorter to better fit our demographics. I think it will be very successful.”

Blair said he believes he understands golf in St. George and the type of folks who are migrating there, looking for homes and enjoying golf opportunities. “We were successful at SunRiver and we’re looking forward to doing the same at Bloomington.”

Blair said there might be one or two temporary greens for a while at Bloomington as construction gets underway. “Five greens get built in different locations. Greens 8, 11, 16, 17 and 18 will be changed a little bit so we can get some condos in. No. 18 will be a beautiful hole. The nice thing about it is you will still be able to walk this course, which is popular, but it will also be more challenging and a test.”

Blair said the redo will be similar to what was accomplished at Salt Lake Country Club.

“It will be very inviting.”

Jimmy Blair.

Zac Blair.

You can’t create guys like this, they just are.

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“It’s a good play for us,” Jimmy said.

It always has been.

EMAIL: dharmon@deseretnews.com.

TWITTER: Harmonwrites

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