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Construction starts on Phil Mickelson-designed golf course near Calgary

WATCH: A hall of fame golfer is bringing his course designing skills to Canada for the first time, and close to Calgary. Brendan Parker explains.

CALGARY – After years of dreaming and planning, Barry Elhert’s vision of a building one of the finest golf courses in Canada is finally taking shape.

Construction has now begun on the over 200-acre lot, just west of Calgary in Rocky View County, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

“Every time I come out here something’s changed, and the project’s evolved,” said Ehlert, managing partner of Windmill Golf Group. “It’s exciting. We’re thrilled to be a part of it, and can’t wait to have the golf course open.”

He’s not the only the one who’s excited–it’s the first signature design in Canada by five-time major champion Phil Mickelson.

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“I’m thrilled that we’ve begun work on a project we’re confident will be one of the outstanding courses in Canada,” Mickelson said in a statement. “The land and setting give us a great opportunity to create a versatile course that will both challenge the world’s best players and be great fun for amateurs of all levels.”

Mickelson National Golf Club of Canada is the centrepiece of Harmony, a 1,750-acre community built by partners Qualico Communities and Bordeaux Developments.

“He’s engaged, he’s really, really positive about the project, and excited to be part of Calgary,” said Ehlert.

“We think it’s special. Quite frankly, Phil doesn’t want to do a whole lot of course design–he wants to do maybe 20 around the world–which probably means there’s going to be one or two in Canada at the most,” added Ehlert.

The hope is once finished, Mickelson National will be a suitable host for a PGA Tour event and maybe one day, the Canadian Open.

“Would love to see, of course, anything that’s related to the PGA Tour or big events is great. We know we need to build the golf course first, and that’s what our big focus and emphasis is today,” said Ehlert.

The goal is to open the course in fall of 2017.