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Colbert Hills Golf Course

Manhattan, Kan.

 

History of Colbert Hills Golf Course

Turning a vision into reality.

 

 

Colbert and Brauer looking at layout plans of golf course

File photo

Jim Colbert and Jeff Brauer, president of GolfScapes Inc, course architects, look at their plans to bring Colbert's vision to life.

 

Success breeds success.

Like many Kansas State University graduates across the nation, Jim Colbert marveled at the turn around and continued success of the once-beleaguered K-State football program under coach Bill Snyder. He was in awe of the upgraded facilities.

While attending a football game in 1994, the leading money winner of the Senior PGA TOUR in 1995 and 1996 was struck with an idea: Why couldn't the same be done for the Wildcat women's and men's golf programs? Snyder had proven things could get done. With adequate facilities, the Wildcat golf teams could become one of the nation's elite programs as well.

"We have the opportunity to make something very special happen in Manhattan, Kansas -- something that will have a lasting impact on the world of golf and will enhance the golf program at the university where I began my career," Colbert said.

Situated on 315 acres, the course extends 7,525 yards from the back tees and includes a temporary clubhouse, state-of-the art driving range and enough acreage for a nine-hole teaching course, as well as a host of research and academic opportunities for K-State researchers and students.

"Colbert Hills represents a first-class recreational and educational venture which will provide unique research and academic opportunities for K-State researchers and students," said Bob Krause, K-State's vice president for institutional advancement.

Although designed with golfers wanting to play on a championship course in mind, those with an attachment to K-State will not be forgotten. Special emphasis is placed in marketing the course to K-State, and discount fees are available to faculty, students, staff and members of the alumni association.

The course serves as a centerpiece for development of 1,040 acres of land northwest of Manhattan. Although long-range development plans include an estimated 700 homes and other commercial development on the properties adjacent to the golf course, Colbert has stressed the major theme of Colbert Hills will remain athletics and academics.

Colbert Hills serves as the home course for the K-State women's and men's golf teams. Course-generated revenues will be dedicated to endowing scholarships for the golf teams, as well as general athletic scholarships at the university.

Mixing in academics

To accomplish Colbert's objective of blending athletics and academics, Colbert Hills was built through a partnership involving K-State, PGA TOUR GOLF COURSE Properties Inc. and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

"Colbert Hills represents a unique partnership between Kansas State University, the PGA TOUR and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America -- one which will provide an outstanding golf experience for the university and youth golf academy," said Vernon Kelly, president of PGA TOUR GOLF COURSE Properties.

"The PGA TOUR is proud of the commitment and effort of SENIOR PGA TOUR member Jim Colbert to make Colbert Hills a reality.

Colbert Hills has become the first PGA TOUR collegiate liscensed facility.

In conjunction with building the golf course, Krause had a vision of re-vamping the turf management curriculum. With a world-class golf course, the university will restructure the turf program, making it one of the best in the world. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, located in Lawrence, was approached to provide the necessary and visionary insight into the turfgrass profession and recommend changes in the existing programs. Today, K-State offers a specialized degree in turf management and has seperated itself from all other turf programs in the nation by expanding its curriculum to include all aspects of the profession, including business administration and hospitality. Graduates are now effectively prepared in the overall management of golf facilities.

"GCSAA is pleased to join Jim Colbert, the PGA TOUR and Kansas State University in this endeavor that will benefit all who enjoy the game of golf," said GCSAA Chief Executive Officer Stephen F. Mona, CAE. "The positive impact of this project will be far reaching -- a golf management program to train tomorrow's leaders, a research facility to aid the golf industry and a first-class facility for golf enthusiasts to enjoy a game that is growing faster than any sport in America."

Colbert Hills also serves as a living laboratory for K-State researchers to scientifically gauge the environmental impact of the golf course and related development under playing conditions. Contract research with golf industry partners would provide basic information necessary for technology application and product development. The research would be similar to that done at the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, located south of Manhattan. In addition to university funding, researchers are scouring several potential funding sources for this study. K-State scientists are currently conducting research on the proposed site to catalogue the plants and animals there now, as well as the soil and water condition.

 

August 2002