Palmer, federal environmental official open golf course

Tuesday, June 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEBRASKA CITY, Neb. (AP) _ A golf course built in southeast Nebraska is getting big-time attention because of its environmentally-friendly design.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christie Todd Whitman, planned to play nine holes Tuesday at the grand opening of the ArborLinks Home Course, built in this town famous for Arbor Day, the tree-planting holiday founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872.

The 18-hole course features narrow fairways and wild roughs and minimizes manicured areas outside the field of play.

Palmer, who won four Masters in the 1950s and 1960s, has endorsed the course's objectives, and his company, Palmer Course Design, provided the design expertise.

About an hour's drive south of Omaha, the course was built in cooperation with the National Arbor Day Foundation, which runs orchards and has a conference center nearby. The foundation is dedicated to preserving trees and has 1 million members nationwide.

The course was the brainchild of its builder, Bill Kubly, chief executive officer of Lincoln-based golf course company Landscapes Unlimited. It advances an idea that has grown steadily in the golf community over the last 10 years: Build courses that complement the lay of the land and minimize the use of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation.

Palmer, Kubly and the Arbor Day Foundation built the course in hopes of holding conferences on environmentally golf courses. Palmer and Whitman were to help open the first conference Tuesday.

The conference was bringing together top names in golf design and construction to the town of 7,220, as well as federal environmental officials to discuss how golf and the environment can exist in harmony, said Terry Heskett, general manager and golf professional at ArborLinks.

Similar conferences have been held over the years at Pebble Beach in California and Pinehurst in North Carolina.