Fred Funk was in a familiar position Monday afternoon — in front of a crowd — yet, for a different reason.
Funk, a longtime PGA Tour pro, beamed as he joined Water Valley developer Martin Lind in describing a new golf course for Windsor — RainDance — which Funk will design.
RainDance National Golf Club, located about three miles west of Lind’s prize jewel — Pelican Lakes/Pelican Falls — will be Funk’s first course as a designer. Veteran golf course designer Harrison Minchew will be the architect of the new course, which won’t be open for a few years.
“You have an unbelievable piece of land,” Funk told a crowd of more than 100. “You don’t know what you have up there. It’s an incredible canvas for a golf course.”
Funk’s longtime caddie on the PGA Tour, Mark Long, will also be involved in the design.
“Mark and I talked for years about designing a golf course,” Funk said. “We’ve always had this visual. We’d play a course and finish a hole and say ‘What the hell was that guy thinking’ figuring a hole could have been a great hole.
“There’s a lot of new golf designers … they just go crazy on the greens, have deep bunkers and they’re pounding the greens,” Funk continued. “They’re unplayable. My wisdom is not to do what the modern guys are doing. I’m going to make a golf course that’s enjoyable. It will be a challenge for good players and enjoyable for the others.”
RainDance’s addition will increase the number of holes operated by Water Valley Land Co. from 27 to 45.
After touring the terrain for RainDance on Monday morning, Lind and the trio of Funk, Minchew and Long were even more excited about its potential.
“With the kind of land we have, there will be some anxiety, but it’s a very beautiful piece of land,” said Funk, who later hit several drives off a newly-constructed No. 1 tee box at Pelican Lakes.
“With that land, we’re going to make a great golf course out of it,” Funk added.
The first tee will hit directly toward Longs Peak, a point that Lind made sure of Monday morning.
“I said we’re looking at going almost directly toward Longs Peak and Martin told me ‘No, we will go right at Longs Peak,’ so we all said ‘Yes, sir,’” Funk joked. “Then there’ll be hole No. 4 ... it gives me goosebumps thinking about what we’re creating.” There will be elevation drops of 300 feet on the course, which will also feature natural erosion ditches.
“Martin really knows what’s up there,” Funk added.
Minchew, who was the senior architect for Arnold Palmer Design from 1982-2007, is equally excited to play a major role in RainDance.
“I’ve done over 200 golf courses, and I think RainDance will be in the top five,” Minchew said. “The fact that it will be just a golf course is amazing.”
There will be no houses built around RainDance, but it will be the centerpiece of the future master-planned RainDance community.
Minchew went on to explain that because of the variation of tee boxes planned, the average golfer will have the opportunity to hit most greens on the par-4 holes in regulation.
The course will feature two holes that will stretch out to 600 yards from the championship tees.
Funk went on to explain that his goal is for “when you walk 18 holes and finish, you turn around and say you want to go play it again. What I see is a world-class golf course coming out of Mother Nature out there.”