Mickelson National Golf Club | PGA Tour superstar Phil Mickelson coming to Calgary
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PGA Tour superstar Phil Mickelson coming to Calgary

Posted: 05 Sep 2015 Sam Schultz News

One of the biggest names in golf will be getting the white-hat treatment this week.

With a break in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoff schedule, Phil Mickelson — or just ‘Lefty’ to his legions of fans — will beeline to Calgary for his first look at the construction of his course design in the Springbank area.

“I’m not sure that Calgary has ever had such a high-profile golfer, ever, in this city,” said Barry Ehlert, managing partner of Windmill Golf Group and frontman for Mickelson National Golf Club.

“That could be debatable. Maybe (Jack) Nicklaus has been here before, but that’s maybe 30 years ago or longer. In that respect, I think it’s going to be cool. I think there’s going to certainly be a big buzz. We’re still selling memberships very, very strongly. So I think the buzz is in the air, and this is typically the time of year when it starts to fizzle for golf.

“So it’s a heck of a lot of fun.””

Mickelson, the golfer, needs no introduction.

The 45-year-old ranks ninth on the all-time list with 42 PGA Tour triumphs — including five major championships — and is already enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Because he’s been busy collecting all those trophies, Lefty is a relative newcomer in the design game.

He’s completed only two courses — one at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, Ariz., and another in China — and only intends to design a grand total of about 20 worldwide.

Mickelson National will likely be completed in 2017 or 2018 and will be fully private.

“He’s much more hands-on than I thought he would be,” Ehlert said. “I don’t mean that in a negative way, because I knew he’d be interested because he doesn’t want to do a lot of these, but it is continuous and it’s all the time, and he truly wants to create something special.

“As you can envision, with what you see on the golf course from Phil, he’s a passionate guy and he’s a competitive guy. And for him to say, ‘Look, I only want to build 20 of these,’ then he’s only going to build 20 of the best, right? So when he is going to put him name toward something, I think he’s really intrigued and is committed to making sure that happens.

“And the proof is in the pudding. The golf course he built at Whisper Rock is outstanding. It’s world-class. They have more PGA Tour pros that have bought memberships at that golf course and call that their home course than any other course in the world.”

It’s no secret both Ehlert and his star course designer would like to eventually bring a PGA Tour event to Mickelson National, which could stretch to 8,000 yards from the tips.

Mickelson will arrive Wednesday in Calgary and is planning to spend most of the day at the under-construction course, where crews have already shaped tees, greens, bunker complexes and other features on five holes.

Thursday’s itinerary includes a news conference and meet-and-greet with members.

“I’m really, really excited for him to get the lay of the land,” Ehlert said. “I think we’ve got such an incredible site and so many awesome views, and I think that he’s going to be surprised with what has happened in the last several months. If you were out there today, I think you’d be blown away, too.

“I mean, cross my fingers and knock on wood, but every single person we have taken out on site to this point has either purchased or said they would purchase a membership. We’re having a tremendous amount of success because when you are out there now, you can actually visualize the golf.

“You can really see it now, and it’s spectacular. It’s over-the-top. It’s bold. It’s going to be something that is incredible.”

Original article written by Wes Gilbertson for the Calgary Sun.