Thursday, May 10, 2001

Fairfield to add 9-hole course

Meadow Links-style facility set to open next spring

By Carey Hoffman
Enquirer contributor

        Hit your early 30s, and your biological clock may need addressing.The same holds true for the Fairfield Golf Course. After years of evolution and maturation, one of the area's more popular municipal golf operations is expecting next spring.

        That's when the wide expanse of dirt adjoining the current course at the corner of Resor and Winton roads is expected to blossom as a 1,900-yard, par-31, nine-hole course. Comparable to the popular Meadow Links facility just 2 miles to the south, the course will give a Fairfield alternative for beginners, juniors, seniors and people who just don't have four hours to invest in golfing.

        “It's the way of the future,” said Jim Slominski, Fairfield's head pro since the original course opened in 1968. Slominski politely adds that Fairfield's midlength concept actually predates the Hamilton County Park District's plans for Meadow Links, but logistical hurdles kept holding Fairfield back.

        Land swaps had to be worked out with the school district. More importantly, the site had to meet strict specifications as a retention dam to protect old Fairfield from the kind of flooding that occurred in 1977.

        Three different layouts were drawn up along the way by Slominski's son, Steve, when he interned with the Hurdzan-Fry Golf Course Design group. The final plans are a Hurdzan-Fry design.

        Grading and shaping are taking place, with seeding expected later in the summer. The layout will focus around a large central retention area, with several holes along or crossing the water. The course will have four par-4s and five par-3s.

        Because of the dual nature as a dam project, more than 1million cubic yards of dirt have to be moved.

        “Junior programs have become so big for us,” Fairfield assistant pro Dave Hartman said. “We're going to be able to do so much more with this. We'll be able to have our own (junior) leagues, instead of sending them to Meadow Links.”

        The new nine should relieve some of the demand for Fairfield's 18-hole course, which hosts about 55,000 rounds a year and has a full docket of 35 leagues. For a tight layout covering a mere 119 acres, a full golf course can put golfers into each other's line of fire.

        In the name of safety and playability, Fairfield has been under frequent revision since it opened as a private course known as Pleasant Run in 1968 (back when Fairfield was so rural, John Gray Road in front of the course was still unpaved).

        The original course had no bunkers. Today, Fairfield has about 30, all of which were redone this spring. That's not an overwhelming number, but it doesn't have to be, considering how the one-two punch of trees and water make Fairfield a tight trip. “It's a much more demanding course today,” Slominski said.

        The city of Fairfield bought the course in 1978.

        Early in the '90s, the largest of Fairfield's six water hazards was redone to improve holes 3 and 4 and to keep balls off Winton Road, which was just left of the landing area from the No.3 tee.

        Another major improvement for safety came in 1998. The eighth tee was raised 15 feet to eliminate a blind tee shot - and make golfers visible in the adjacent No.9 fairway.

        New mounding and bunkers guarding the 15th green were added at that time, as well.

        Another improvement is expected in the next few years. The city has acquired about 10 acres where a new par-3 setup for the No.2 hole will go in, a back tee will add 40 yards to the par-5 No.3, and the par-3 No.5 will be lengthened to almost 200 yards from the back tees.

        “We've got a lot we'd like to do, but right now the main thing is to get our nine-hole course online,” Slominski said.


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