After nearly a two-year wait, Minot's young golfers will soon be returning to the Jack Hoeven Wee Links golf course. The youth layout was destroyed in the 2011 flood, leaving Minot's youngest golfers without a suitable place to play.
Renovated now, the Wee Links will open for play at 10 a.m. Saturday. An official grand opening will be held June 1, complete with a cookout featuring hot dogs and hamburgers.
"We're excited, very pumped up!" said Steve Kottsick, Souris Valley Golf Course professional.
The Wee Links is located immediately north of the Souris Valley Golf Course, separated primarily by the Souris River. Kottsick has been instrumental in promoting youth golf, including the relatively new First Tee program. Wee Links offers a perfect place for youngsters to play a course suited to their game and allows them to play with others of similar age.
"The adults have found places to play, but the kids in this community have had to wait two long years," said Kottsick.
The 2011 flood completely covered Wee Links. When flood waters receded it revealed a course covered with layers of silt. All of the grass was dead. Sand traps were washed away and the clubhouse was damaged from several feet of muddy, moving water. Making the course playable again would be a long process.
"The irrigation pipes were okay, but the pump wasn't," said Kottsick. "Everything had to be scraped off the course and it was entirely re-seeded."
Like many other flooded structures in Minot, the Wee Links clubhouse was in need of extensive work. It has been carefully renovated. A re-designed and impressive interior is now ready to greet young players.
"They did a really good job on that," noted Kottsick.
The yardage at Wee Links falls well within the capabilities of young golfers. A putting green is also available. So too is club rentals.
The course is not limited to young golfers. Parents are encouraged to accompany their children on the course. In past years professional golfers participating in the annual pro-am event at the Minot Country Club have conducted mini-clinics at Wee Links.