Old Works is situated on one of the largest Federal EPA Superfund waste sites in America. From 1884 to 1902, the Old Works area was the original site of the first copper-smelting facilities that were built in Anaconda to process ores from Butte. When operations moved, all that was left behind were old flue foundations and structures, plus various materials including reverbatory furnace slags, tailing, and “red sands” or reprocessed tailings.
The site became one of Jack’s most challenging designs. Transforming a Superfund site into a world-class golf course was something that had never been attempted and, as a result, required innovative techniques and the constant involvement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Before construction, the entire area was capped. The greens, bunkers, tree root balls and lake bottoms were specially lined to prevent any leakage upward.
Despite the improvements, great care was taken to keep the flavor of the days of the smelter intact. The greens and fairways lay on land that stretches in front of the ruins of two 19th-century smelters. Parts of the course sit on top of “heap roast” piles, mounds of charred, coal-black rock that were set afire decades ago to reduce ore into copper and the brick smokestack from the smelter still towers over the course. But the most visually unique feature of the course is the use of the remaining black slag – inert, harmless material left by the copper smelting process – in the bunkers.
The resulting 18-hole, par-72, public course spreads across 220 acres and plays 7,722 yards from the back tees. Each hole has five tee boxes to accommodate virtually any skill level. The premier practice facility consists of three practice holes, target greens on driving ranges, chipping and putting greens, and two practice bunkers.
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“Old Works is a golf course that is a demanding test of skill for the accomplished golfer playing from the back tees, yet offers a challenging and enjoyable experience for the average player who plays from the appropriate tees and thinks his or her way around the golf course.” – Jack Nicklaus
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