River City Links could open by spring 2007.
Work is officially under way on Fort Wayne's first natural-grass putting course.
River City Links will sit on two acres in east-central Fort Wayne, nestled into Tecumseh and Herbert streets along the Maumee River. Course designer Mark Slater and Mayor Graham Richard broke ground Tuesday on the 18-hole course.
Construction will take 30 to 45 days, and another 10 weeks will be needed to grow the grass, Slater said. The course, which will cost about $8 to play, could open as soon as spring 2007.
"This is more about family entertainment," he said.
It will have bent-grass greens, fringes and a pond. Only putters (no wedges) will be allowed. Slater said he imagines the course will be suited for players ages 8 and older. A building is being renovated into a clubhouse, which will serve food. Slater also has considered applying for a beer and wine license at some point.
Slater, a Fort Wayne native, has a degree from Michigan State University in crop and soil sciences with an emphasis in turf grass management. He served as general contractor and designer for Cherry Hill Golf Club in the late 1990s, and said for years he considered the idea of a putting course in Fort Wayne but couldn't find the right spot for it.
The land for River City Links is in a floodway, but Slater has obtained the necessary state approvals to move forward. Slater will lease the land from David Anglin, who owns most of the property in the area. It also is home to the River City beach volleyball complex.
Natural-grass putting courses have become popular in tourist towns and golf resorts nationwide.