Norman to re-do British Columbia design

Within the next year or so, Greg Norman plans to transform a dormant golf course in southern British Columbia into a venue capable of hosting world-class golf tournaments.

Starting this month, Norman plans to completely redesign and rebuild Ponderosa Golf Club in Peachland, a small town that’s just southwest of Kelowna. The 18-hole course has plenty of potential visual drama – it’s located on the southeastern slope of Pincushion Mountain and offers views of Lake Okanagan. But it’s been closed since 2006, when a fire destroyed its clubhouse.

The course is part of a spread that Norman describes as “a magnificent site.”

“It’s like Napa Valley meets Lake Tahoe,” he said in a press release.

Alfred Tate (who formerly served as the club’s general manager) and Scott Dawson co-designed the Ponderosa track, with it opening in 1980. Norman plans to stretch it to 7,114 yards and make it far more challenging.

Treegroup Developments Corporation bought the course in 2007. On 425 adjacent acres, it plans to build 2,200 single-family houses, townhouses, villas, and condos, along with a village center, a hotel, an outdoor theater, a winery, an ice rink, a tennis center and hiking trails.

Treegroup had planned to get started on the golf course last year, but it didn’t think it could sell the houses.

And in case you’re wondering, Norman is a hands-on designer.

“Because each design bears my name,” he said in the release. “I personally make it my mission to get involved with every step of the golf course design process, from walking the virgin site to planning and construction to opening day.”

The redesigned course, along with a golf academy and a new clubhouse, should open sometime in 2011, about the time when the community’s first residents are expected to move into their houses.

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