One of the largest pockets of natural gas has been found beneath the ground of White Deer Golf Course. The gas, which is trapped within the Marcellus Shale, is at a much closer distance to the surface than most deposits this size. Arcglow Corporation will begin the construction of three pads and drilling wells as soon as possible.
I appreciate all those who have taken the time to speak with me about the historic event.
Arcglow is known to be one of the most environmentally friendly gas exploration companies. A contract was inked late last week between the county and Arcglow. Steve Parlante, Executive Director, said their interest in WDGC is easy to understand. It provides a perfect setting for “green gas development.” Flat, cleared open areas, coupled with water availability from the ponds located on the courses. The ponds are naturally fed by underground springs. They will provide the thousands of gallons of water needed for fracking – the process to remove the gas from the shale.
Dan Klingerman, owner of Infinity Water Hauling and JB Gibbons Construction will be heading up the transportation services needed for the project. Mr. Klingerman stated, “We will be using a fleet of one hundred golf carts custom fit with small cement mixers to construct the pads.” The ‘work carts’ as they are called, are powered by natural gas. After the pads are poured the cement mixers are removed from the carts and water-hauling tanks are installed. “It’s a short drive from the ponds to the pad sites and these carts can move a lot of water,” Klingerman said.
Dave Frey will fly in the drilling wells via helicopter. Frey, a long time aviator and PIAA football official is looking forward to the job. “What a great project for our area, I’m glad just to be involved.”
Frey also pointed out that by bringing the drilling apparatus in by air it would avoid the use of heavy equipment that would tear up the golf courses. The carts and copter will allow golf to be played while construction is in progress. The copter is also powered by natural gas.
The construction phase will, however, provide a challenge for the golfers. I asked Jamie Spencer, from WDGC, for his thoughts, “Everything will be in play. There will be no drops, play where it lands.” Golfers will either have to hit the ball high over the drilling rigs, or simply play around them. “Site workers will be wearing Carhartt coveralls lined with Kevlar and logging type helmets with full face shields. This will protect them from the thousands of golf shots that are hit each day,” said Jordan Isenberg. All Arcglow employees have Obamacare so they need to make sure they have gear to avoid injury. Arcglow also informed Isenberg that an American flag would top each drilling unit in order to help the golfers determine wind direction.
Mr. Spencer was quick to inform me about the project White Deer and Arcglow are teaming up on. It is called Project Big Bass. In conjunction with the N.B.B.A. (National Big Bass Association) the ponds at White Deer will be stocked with some of the biggest largemouth and smallmouth bass north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Spencer said, “It is my goal to hold the Bass Master Championship within the next 5 years.”
Spencer will be overseeing the enlargement of one pond to the size of Rose Valley Lake. This will be needed for tournament fishing. JB Gibbons will be constructing a launch area for small natural gas powered boats. The boats will be provided by Chad Hall, owner of Hall’s Marine.
Project Big Bass will also allow White Deer members access to some of the best bass fishing anywhere. The golf courses will be closed on Sundays, however, to focus on landing those trophies. Terry Waldman, from Winner Hardware/BassPro will provide guide services on Sunday to help members maximize the fishing experience. This will be no charge to members.
Mr. Parlante knows a few golfers may be upset over losing their Sunday golf. “The added revenue from the gas exploration, coupled with the great fishing and hunting, made this decision an easy one. We will have one of the premier clubs in the country.”
Did I forget to mention the hunting? Due to the large number of ducks and geese, Arcglow will be constructing 17 heated duck blinds around the course. The heat will be provided by, yep, you guessed it – natural gas. Members will be allowed to use these blinds during designated times in the fall and winter. Of course they must have a valid hunting and waterfowl license. Ron Maietta, a long time waterfowl hunter, will oversee this program. Maietta stated in a phone interview, “There are lots of birds for the taking. It is necessary to decrease their numbers to keep the course clear and green. Also, they may pose a danger to Mr. Frey and his helicopter deliveries.” Mr. Maietta said that retrieving dogs are available for a small donation to R.H.D.A – the Retired Hunting Dogs Association. This organization provides assisted living for older hunting canines.
Golf, hunting and fishing – who could ask for more? I’ll be spending a lot of time over the mountain! Wait! There is more! The Arcglow Corp. gets its name from the soft glow of the arcing light provided by the old Victorian style streetlights. Arcglow will be installing 2,700 natural gas powered streetlamps around both courses at White Deer. It will create the first 24-hour golf facility in the world. County Commish Ernie Larson may never sleep. I asked him for comment, “This will make White Deer one of the top tourist attractions for golfers. Between the revenue from gas and tourism the inconvenience of construction is short term – the benefits to our area are long term.”
Steve Parlante then filled me in on one of those long-term benefits. Beginning in 2018, after the completion of the phase 3 of the project, which is making the two golf courses the finest in the country, White Deer will be the host of the PGA Championship. This is one of the largest major golf tournaments in the world. The location of this event usually moves each year, but WDGC will become home of the PGA Championship. What Augusta is to the Masters, White Deer will be to the PGA Championship. The 24-hour play with the installation of the lights was the deciding factor.
Parlante also gave more insight into the future broadcasting of events. The Golf Network will use Gary Chrisman and Babe Mayer as their ‘lead team’ for television coverage of the tournament. The two also hold coverage rights to the Bass Master Championship when it occurs. To get ready for the events, Gary and Babe will be travelling the nation beginning this year, covering tournaments for both the Golf Network and Go Fish TV. Chrisman could not be reached for comment as he is in the southeast everglades covering the March Madbass Tournament.
It is hard to believe what all is happening over the mountain at White Deer – who would have thunk it? I look forward to seeing each phase of construction take place. I would like to give a special thanks to Arcglow’s VP of BS, April Foolz for allowing me to break this story. White Deer’s new ad campaign will be ‘A Few Ducks, A Few Bass, A Few Birdies – A Fracking Good Time for All.’