While Otter Creek Golf Course and Harrison Lake Country Club get their fair share of play during the golfing season, the city-owned Greenbelt and Par 3 courses are looking for more business.
Thanks to an investment from the Parks and Recreation Department, they may soon get it.
The parks department is investing nearly $1.1 million in reserve funds for capital improvement projects. The majority of those funds will be spent on Greenbelt and Par 3.
“With the golf back under the parks department, we feel we’ve got a great plan going forward to keep the equipment up to par — no pun intended,” city parks director Mark Jones said.
Jones said a large portion of the existing equipment used at both courses — such as mowers, aerators and chemical sprayers — needs to be replaced. He said virtually every piece of equipment was underwater in the 2008 flood.
The newest piece of equipment Greenbelt and Par 3 have is from 2008. Some pieces are as old as 1992.
“It just so happens with the golf thing back under us, there’s a big need (to replace) some really aged and pretty pathetic equipment that we have that we’re working with that’s breaking down a lot,” Jones said. “It’s just wore out and it’s breaking down and it’s costing more to keep the things up and going, and we just need some equipment to keep the golf courses up and going.”
Jones said he has looked at repairing or leasing some equipment, but will need to replace about 19 of the 27 or 28 pieces. Chief among them are mowers.
Two mowers that are used to mow the rough at Greenbelt recently went down. Workers had to take parts off of one to put in the other just to get one of them working.
“It’s hurting our customer service if we can’t get out to mow the greens,” Jones said. “We can’t mow the greens, golfers aren’t going to come out to play golf. We want to give a good product to our customers, and the equipment on a golf course is very, very key to a successful operation.”
Greenbelt and Par 3 had been managed by a private company since 2010, but operator Steve Cohen did not renew his contract with the city when it expired last year. The parks department took over management of the courses in October.
Keith VanDeventer took over as golf pro/manager in January. Greenbelt and Par 3 also hired a new superintendent in Aaron Brua, who had previously been at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin and Otter Creek.
In mid-June, they put in a FootGolf course at Par 3.
“It’s just something else to provide a service to the community and also to give us a chance to bring more people out here to Par 3,” VanDeventer said. “Maybe they’ll play FootGolf and see the regular golf and want to give it a try.”
VanDeventer said improvements to Greenbelt and Par 3 will start after the golfing season. They are looking to put in an irrigation system for tees and greens at Par 3.
At Greenbelt, VanDeventer would like to renovate the bunkers and clean up the brush areas along the creek running through the course. The on-course restroom facility is being improved.
Workers also have planted flowers around the Greenbelt clubhouse to give it a warmer feel. Sixty-five golfers will get a first-hand look Saturday when the course hosts the first round of the men’s city tournament.
“At Greenbelt, we’ve just tried to make the everyday conditions something that people are proud of,” VanDeventer said. “We’re just trying to make people feel welcome.”
The schedule for this year’s city golf tournament:
Saturday: Men’s first round at Greenbelt Golf Course.
Sunday: Men’s second round at Harrison Lake Country Club.
July 16: Women’s first round at Harrison Lake.
July 17: Men’s and women’s final round at Otter Creek.
For tee times, see page B2.