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Monett golf course concludes disappointing season

Monday, November 8, 2010

The entrance sign near the clubhouse at Monett's municipal golf course.
Play at the Windmill Ridge municipal golf course in Monett continues through the winter, but the main season wrapped up in October. It's been a disappointing year for the course, according to Mike Knight, director of golf at the course. Corrective steps have been taken for a fresh start next spring.

One of the challenges was the lost of some of the course's greens in August. The west side has been closed since mid-September and is due to reopen on Nov. 15.

Knight attributed the loss of the greens to heat stress and poor maintenance due to overwatering. One particular employee was primarily responsible and has been discharged. The consequence to the course was significant.

"With only nine holes open, people who usually come here went somewhere else," Knight said.

The course lost two of its tournaments. Knight said the schedule still had 10 tournaments. League play dropped a bit as well. Other courses saw reduced play due to the economy as well.

Revenue figures showed total income from play brought in $233,918 in 2010, compared to $267,145 in 2009. Tournaments, which all conclude by the end of October, raised $14,401, up $1,100 from last year. Revenues from season passes, the biggest single source of income, brought in almost $75,780, down $5,000. The second biggest source of revenue is greens fees, raising $56,244, a drop of over $15,000.

Spending on the course was roughly comparable to the previous year. Total expenditures of $369,897 was up by a little over $4,000.

Higher spending on supplies has come from a three-year plan to upgrade the course's cart paths. The four-foot-wide asphalt paths are being widened to six feet and relaid in concrete, providing room for two carts to travel in opposite directions.

While the west side of the course has been closed, street department crews have been replacing cart paths on holes 1, 13 and 14. Knight said all the course's paths will have been redone by the end of next year.

Reseeding of the damaged greens did not begin until Sept. 11, after the heat of the summer had subsided. Knight said watering of the greens, which usually ends in November, will continue possibly through the winter to give roots a head start on the growing season. If temperatures get really cold in the winter, he may resort to spraying water to set a coat of ice over the new greens as a protective cap to keep the ground from solidifying, much like fruit growers in Florida do on their crops.

Other maintenance efforts have included enlarging the green on the #2 hole and taking out some of its slope to provide more playing room. A few of the sand traps on the west side have been filled in with dirt and will be covered with grass to reduce labor costs.

"This summer the fairways have been the best they've ever been," Knight said.

When the Golf Advisory Board meets on Wednesday, Knight will review the revenue numbers and talk about the number of tournaments. Many regular players would rather reduce tournaments as an interference to their activity. Knight maintains the tournaments bring in money and deserve support.

After 2011, the loan to build the second nine holes will be paid off after a decade. Plans will then proceed to get a new clubhouse, another topic for the Golf Course Advisory Board meeting. Knight said putting a new clubhouse on the west side of the course near the tunnel connection will require an adjustment for players but will provide a big step in making the course competitive with others in the area.

"I don't think we'll have a problem convincing people to come back next year with the new greens," Knight said. "We've got a nice golf course. I've played the others in the area, and I think we have one of the best ones around."

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One reason for lower attendance could be the way people from out of town are treated by the staff at the MGC. My son-in-law and I went to play their last year and the people running the place seemed think we should not be there. Not one person on the course while we were playing, but the "Marshal" had to follow us and harass us about everything we were doing. Finally we just decided it was not worth the hassel to finish playing the round. If your a regular you are king, but don't be from out of town or just a local once in a while player. Your are not welcome at the Monet Golf Course.

-- Posted by Al-Bundy on Tue, Nov 9, 2010, at 1:08 PM

As a former Monett resident who moved out of state due to work reasons, when I come back to visit relatives, the golf course personnel are often rude, and the attitdue is "stay away."

As a lady player, I have been hit into, haraased by the marshal, and had the regular course players gang up on the holes, playing in 5-somes and 6-somes, which slows down play. My husband and I wonder if the "wagon train" of private golf carts and troupes of locals are trying to take the course private so they can play undisturbed.

Monett seems to treat anyone who doesn't play there every week as an intruder. For a public course, it is down right unfriendly. Add in a club house that doesn't have any food (a hot dog is not too hard to do...) and choking amounts of smoke, the amount I pay is the same as a 27 hole public courses here in Texas with more amendities and friendly staff. (I'll take even a non-hostile staff, not even upping the ante to friendly.) Improvements in personnel management would go a long ways towards improving revenues. To kill the greens via overwatering takes a while, which means that the supervisor was as much to blame as the groundskeeper.

As to filling in the sand traps, I believe this is a mistake because this will take the course into a lesser level of play and make it less attractive overall. No one want to play golf on a pasture.

-- Posted by one voice on Thu, Nov 11, 2010, at 10:48 AM

I have witnessed the greenskeeper chase down a member with his car across several fairways, just to scold the member for driving in the fairways with a golf cart. This golf course used to be a nice before Richard S. passed, now its looking like farm land.

-- Posted by monett-golfer on Fri, Nov 12, 2010, at 8:57 AM

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