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Richard Zokol's Sagebrush

[photopress:richardzokol_1.jpg,full,alignleft]This afternoon I’m off to see Richard Zokol’s Sagebrush, and I was pleased to find me BC Business magazine story about the course is on the Web. Here’s a taste:

Sitting in the clubhouse locker-room at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in 1992, Richard Zokol listened intently as former Masters champ Ben Crenshaw talked about a course he was creating on a rural tract of sandy land in remote Nebraska: the newly opened Sand Hills Golf Club.

Zokol, only weeks away from his biggest triumph on the PGA Tour “ a victory at the Greater Milwaukee Open “ took in the masters every word, as if recording directions to some buried treasure. He spoke about it with such passion that I was drawn to the idea, says the 49-year-old golfer once known as Disco Dick. I knew right then that I wanted to build my own course.

That dream, 16 years in the making, is now close to becoming a reality. The Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Clubs $8-million 18-hole golf course “ which sits on a dramatic hillside near Merritt, once part of the fabled Quilchena Ranch “ is set to open late this summer. Zokol has worked for almost a decade fashioning the course, and at every step in the process nay­sayers told him he wouldnt make it: he didnt have the money, the connections or the experience.

Even Zokol admits he had his doubts. I asked myself how I would pull this one off, he says. Im the consummate PGA Tour journeyman. I wasnt the most skilled. I figured it all out through perseverance. I never made a fortune playing the game and got my nose bloodied more often than not. With real estate sales at Sagebrush kicking off this spring “ and with the courses grass filling in the bare patches in the fairways “ the next few months will determine whether Zokols unusual business venture will prove a scrappy success or a knockdown failure.

The full story, and the questions about Sagebrush’s potential success or failure, is here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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