The oil refining business goes back more than 100 years in Casper, Wyoming. The Midwest Oil Refinery opened in 1912 to take advantage of the region’s oil reserves. This era ended in 1991 when the Amoco Oil Refinery (now BP) halted operations at the 340-acre site that at one time pumped and refined 48,000 barrels of oil a day.

Bruce Charlton

The question of what to do with the site became an issue for the people of Casper, Natrona County and the land owners, Amoco Oil Company. After nearly 15 years of planning, cleanup, golf design by Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects and construction, Three Crowns Golf Course opened.

Today, Three Crowns is a public course that can be played for as little as $35 for 18 holes, but it took some time to get there. In 1998, a Consent Decree was signed with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Any plan for land use stipulated that reuse and remediation be consistent with the full protection of the public health and environment.

Prior to construction of the golf course, the site was excavated, capped with fill and topped with 10 to 15 inches of sand. BP installed a remediation system, a series of about 100 reclamation wells (and four of the eight water hazards on the golf course) under land that would eventually be the site of the golf course. These wells collect contaminated groundwater, which is subsequently pumped through a series of vessels that contain materials designed to absorb the water’s contaminants. The reclaimed water is supplied to a local lake and wetland area to encourage wetland growth.

Once the remediation system was installed, the irrigation system was laid above the pumps and wells.

In its first year – 2005 – the course hosted 15,000 rounds. It plays at 7,065 yards from the back tees and features 45 acres of native grass and 110 acres of playable turf. Crested wheatgrass and fescues comprise the majority of the native grass.

Through pump-and-treat remediation methods, a former oil refinery in Wyoming has found use as a 340-acre multiuse site featuring a golf course, business park, jogging track and nature park. Three Crowns is professionally managed by OB Sports, Scottsdale, Arizona.