Eighteen years ago, on the rugged hills west of Reno where others had seen only sage brush, thistle and rolling hills, Blake Smith saw opportunity. He “saw” Somersett, the six mile, master planned community that will encompass about 3,300 homes when completed. Smith started purchasing the land that makes up Somersett in 1991. It was quite a challenge with 43 landowners holding parcels ranging from 40 to 80 acres. For the first four years he used his own money; parlaying profits he’d made from his commercial mortgage company, a business he founded in 1987 when he was 27. Acquiring the land was just part of the puzzle. He also had to shepherd the process through some significant legal and political hurdles. In the spring of 2001, Tom Kite was commissioned to create a signature golf course that would be the center piece for the Somersett Community. The architectural design team of KBR, Tom Kite, Roy Bechtol, and Randy Russell, began to scour the hillsides in May of 2002, setting up markers and outlining what would be the tee boxes, fairways, greens and hazards. Slowly, the hillsides began to take shape of a course, and it began to naturally blend into the high desert landscape of what is now a Tom Kite Signature Championship Golf course.
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