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After a long, cold winter, spring is here – finally. And for many that means it’s the beginning of a new season – golf season.
So for those knocking the dust off their clubs and the snow off their spikes, here is a quick look at what’s going on, and what you can look forward to seeing, at the five golf courses in Shelby County this year.
Clear Creek Golf Center
Clear Creek has created a new program called GolfStepz, which is billed as “a revolution of golf & fitness,” that is already garnering national attention.
“We have actually been contacted by the PGA to work it as a pilot program,” pro Derrick Griffitts said.
Through the GolfStepz program, which has the motto “Get Golfing, Get Stepping, Stay Healthy,” golfers’ rounds (both walked and ridden) will be converted to mileage.
“Those who register in the program can track their mileage stats, take part in annual mileage competitions, participate in the GolfStepz Charity Drive and even compete in entry-fee based tournaments for prizes,” Griffitts said. “The golf course will have mileage signs posted and will have other sorts of signage to help positively encourage our golfers throughout their rounds.”
In the GolfStepz Charity Drive “participants will work to collectively combine their mileage to reach a goal in a ‘US Tour’ style format where thirty famous landmarks and golf courses will be hypothetically visited,” according to Griffitts. “Once all the locations have been successfully reached, which totals approximately 10,000 miles, the GolfStepz program will make a donation to a local organization on behalf of the program. Currently, we are working to locate sponsors for GolfStepz and to select a charity/organization to benefit.”
As of Tuesday afternoon Clear Creek golfers – who are currently virtually en route to Augusta, Ga., site of this week’s Masters – had walked, or ridden a total of 988 miles, led by Jacky Smith’s 125 miles walked.
“We are, more than ever, encouraging the physical activity that will help our golfers in improving their general fitness levels,” Griffitts said.
Once again Clear Creek will continue to join forces with Weissinger Hills Golf Course and the Shelbyville Country Club for another season of the PGA Junior League Golf, which is designed to “better socialize the game for boys and girls” 13 and under. In its inaugural season last year the Shelby County team finished fourth in the state championships, which were held at Clear Creek. The league’s golf clinics for beginners began Tuesday at Weissinger Hills and will continue at 5:45 p.m. today at Shelbyville Country Club and Thursday at Clear Creek. League play begins in June.
In addition to the PGA Junior League and its women’s, senior, mixed and skins leagues, Clear Creek will also have its match-play tournament in June, its doubles championship in August and its stroke play championship in September.
On the golf course, “we are in our second year of an aggressive verticut/topdressing program directed at increasing our green speeds and firmness, while allowing for improved conditions in our turf conditions,” Griffitts said.
“This is a slow process, but we are optimistic that we will see significant improvements in the upcoming seasons,” he added.
Additionally the course features a new set of orange tee markers for juniors, beginners, players with disabilities and players over 80 years old.
“[They] should allow for a more appropriate distance for these players to enjoy the game,” Griffitts said.
FOR MORE INFO:Call 633-0375 or visit www.clearcreekgolfcenter.com.
Persimmon Ridge Golf Course
Persimmon Ridge is celebrating its 25th anniversary, “so it is a special year for us,” President Lawren Just said.
One new feature golfers will find on the course this year will be in the fairways.
“Persimmon Ridge is transitioning its fairways to Latitude 36 Bermuda, a new hybrid grass that has a blade similar to bent grass, but is heat and drought tolerant,” Just said. “This grass was created at Oklahoma State University and has been researched for seven years now. We are excited that we’ve found a blend that will withstand the heat and humidity of Kentucky summers but still play like a bent grass product.”
Persimmon Ridge will also host several events, including the Kentucky Golf Association’s Parent-Child tournament, the PGA Pro-Assistant tourney and a Hurricane Amateur Tour event. There will also be “many charitable events,” according to Just, “including the Shelby County Habitat for Humanity and Hannah’s Day of Hope, which are both Shelby County based groups.”
“These are all in addition to the club events scheduled for our members, so it will be another busy year. We just need winter to be gone and the rains to ease up a bit!” Just said.
FOR MORE INFO:Call 241-0456 or visit www.persimmonridge.com.
Shelbyville Country Club
“Shelbyville Country Club is poised for a fantastic 2014,” according to General Manager and Director of Golf Greg Gibson.
“Four years ago we took a very hard look at both our price structure and the product we provide as a club,” Gibson said. “Subsequently, we’ve made major improvements to the golf course, specifically the putting surfaces, re-opened the clubhouse and bar, and changed our membership offerings specifically to make memberships affordable for young families. The results have been outstanding. In the past thirty months our membership has grown by seventy-two percent. Our junior golf team and clinics are growing steadily and this year we’re adding a junior tennis program. I could not be more excited about the direction our club is headed.
“The greens at SCC are undoubtedly among the best in the state of Kentucky. Over the past four years we’ve hosted PGA Playing Ability Tests, Kentucky State Am qualifying, and the Amputee TPC National Championships. This year our greens are the healthiest we’ve ever seen them.”
This year the SCC will host a National Golf Association (NGA) Tour Pro Series event May 22-25. Touring professionals Brandon Brown and Derrick Bohannan, both from Shelbyville, will highlight the field. Brown, who has played on the NGA Tour for the last several years, holds the SCC course record (59) while Bohannon, who has played on several satellite tours in the past few years, has the record for club championship score 128 (63-65).
“It’ll be very interesting to see how the rest of the players navigate our course, which is very difficult to play if you don’t know your way around it,” Gibson said.
FOR MORE INFO:Call 633-0542 or visit www.shelbyvillecc.com.
University of Louisville Golf Club
The University of Louisville Golf Club, formerly the Cardinal Club, has a new name and new ownership after being purchased by the University late last year. Those are just a couple of the changes so far, and there are “many more to come,” according to Russ Johnson, the General Manager at the club.
Among the changes so far is a redecorated clubhouse, “with an emphasis on modernizing the look and feel of the decor,” according to Johnson.
“One of the best new features is in our Champions Room,” Johnson said. “A large section of the Final Four [basketball] court from last year has been relocated in that room and makes for a great conversational piece as well as a truly unique location for dining or private meetings. The restaurant is open to the public daily [from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.] Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner service. There are also seven TV’s in the bar now, which will provide the Shelby County community with a wonderful sports-bar atmosphere.”
Then there are the improvements being made outside.
“Major work to the golf course is set to begin next week,” Johnson said. “We commissioned our original golf course architect, Spencer Holt, to produce a master plan of improvements to tees, bunkers, fairways and water features. The plan includes complete reconstruction of all bunkers on the course and practice areas. Some new bunkers will be added, some that are no longer relevant will be removed, and all will be the most modern construction method available. They will truly be world class.”
Johnson said Holt is also “adding five new championship tee boxes to make the golf course longer and more relevant for the collegiate game.
“Our work schedule is April through July with nine holes closed at a time, so the side that is not being worked on will still be available to the membership and their guests.”
Due to the renovations the UofL Golf Club won’t be hosting any big events this spring or summer, but it will be ready for early fall, when the UofL women’s golf team hosts its Cardinal Cup and the Louisville men’s team hosts its Cardinal Intercollegiate.
“We hope that the renovations will allow us to successfully bid to host the NCAA Division I regional championship in the next couple years, as well as a future Kentucky Open,” Johnson said.
FOR MORE INFO:Call 502-852-7055 or visit www.ulgc.net.
Weissinger Hills Golf Course
Among the course changes at Weissinger are a new set of senior tees.
“[They] have been well received, and we will be working on adding some teeing areas throughout the spring [and] summer,” pro Bryan Slone said.
Some other changes at Weissinger Hills include senior rates seven days a week, and a special Ladies Day ($21 for 18 holes with cart after 10 a.m. every Tuesday).
“We also offer military discounts to all active and active reserve seven days a week,” Slone said.
FOR MORE INFO:Call 633-7332 or visit www.weissingerhills.com.