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Golf: Sorenstam, Palmer to redesign Lake Elmo golf course

LAKE ELMO -- Annika Sorenstam mingled throughout the clubhouse at Tartan Park Golf Course in Lake Elmo on Tuesday morning. She was unassuming in stature to the point where many residents actually had no idea they were talking to one of the greate...

LAKE ELMO - Annika Sorenstam mingled throughout the clubhouse at Tartan Park Golf Course in Lake Elmo on Tuesday morning. She was unassuming in stature to the point where many residents actually had no idea they were talking to one of the greatest female golfers ever.
Sorenstam, decked out in Callaway like so many times throughout her illustrious career, was in town because she, along with legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, will help redesign Tartan Park Golf Course.
Hollis Cavner, the CEO of ProLinks Sports, and his group, HC Golf Course Development, LLC, recently purchased Tartan Park Golf Course and the nearly 500 acres of surrounding land from 3M with the goal of building a superior course.
Sorenstam and Palmer will help lead that charge.
“It has so much potential,” Sorenstam said. “You don’t always see that. So to be able to create something is very, very special.”
Lake Elmo officials were glad the property will remain a golf course.
“We were very nervous throughout the process,” Mayor Mike Pearson said. “It’s been a bit of a journey and we’re glad to see it culminate in this.”
Sorenstam, who recorded an astonishing 72 wins on the LPGA Tour in her career, including 10 majors, retired in 2008 and has since shifted her attention to growing the sport.
Cavner also has an acute focus on growing the game as a whole.
“It’s not going to be a record revenue producer,” Cavner said of Tartan Park, which is expected to open next summer. “We know that going in. We are comfortable with that.”
Sorenstam has built courses across the world since she retired. This, however, will be her first course in the United States.
She said the fact that’s she’s played at Tartan Park drew her to this particular project.
“I’ve played in the Pro-Am here for the 3M Championship,” she said. “It reminds me a little bit of home - I’m from Sweden - so a similar topography. Then also to be able to design a course and work with people that have the same philosophy as me was huge for me. Finally to be able to work with Arnold Palmer is a dream come true. It’s going to be terrific.”
Sorenstam will design nine holes and Palmer will design nine holes as the current 27-hole course moves to a new 18-hole layout.
“He has built courses around the world and I look forward to learning from him,” she said. “I’m just starting my journey as a designer. To learn from him is going to be tremendous.”
Sorenstam, who has played so many courses over the course of her career, mentioned that her approach to designing a course is much different than playing it.
“You have to go out there. You have to feel it. You have to visualize,” she said. “When I played I saw things very differently. It was about the tees and the fairways and the greens - the strategy of the game. Now it’s the bigger picture of each hole.”
“I want to create an experience,” Sorenstam added. “I want people to come out here and have a good time and want to come back and build memories along the way. You really have to find that balance where it’s a challenge and still fun.”
With the course still more than a year away from completion, Sorenstam couldn’t help think about playing on the finished product.
She’s played on the other courses she’s designed and imagines the feeling will be similar when Tartan Park is complete.
“It’s fun because I’ve seen it from the dirt stage to the development stage to the final stage,” she said. “You start with an empty canvas and build something. And hopefully when it’s finished we’ll be proud of what we see.”

Related Topics: GOLF
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