Renovations are underway at public golf courses in Owensboro-Daviess County to prepare them for the upcoming spring, summer and fall season.
Work is underway at Hillcrest and Ben Hawes golf courses. Windridge Country Club and The Pearl Club had larger projects underway since the end of the 2021 season. Panther Creek Golf Club worked on the tee boxes.
“We always try to finish a few projects before the start of the season. At Hillcrest, we’re tackling some drainage issues and working on a front tee on hole number 3,” said Charles Whelan, Town of Owensboro Golf Course Manager. “At Ben Hawes, again, we are still working on drainage projects, but we have also rebuilt a retaining wall over the number 7 hole tee box and completed the new bridge over the number 9 hole. We have targeted a new tee box on hole 9 for a front tee this year and will complete another bridge restoration.
A new maintenance building in Ben Hawes has helped drive the town’s golf course plans forward.
“The new maintenance facility opened in mid-July (2021) and has significantly improved the efficiency of our staff and the safety of our facility,” Whelan said. “Our biggest problem is like every other industry and that is finding part-time workers. We are suffering from this shortage, just like restaurants and other service industries are suffering now.”
The city’s golf courses are expected to remain busy this year, from Whelan’s perspective.
“Overall, I’m excited for the 2022 season,” Whelan said. “We have our 20th annual Business League at Hillcrest this summer and our junior camp in June. At Ben Hawes we have a strong course program on the range for golfers of all skill levels. The Owensboro Junior Golf Foundation is hosting three sessions this summer for junior golfers and this summer I will be presenting an Operation 36 teaching program for women’s golf.
Renovations to the bunker were completed in 2021, said Terry Delk, club manager and chief golf professional at Pearl Club.
“We had issues with under-drainage, sink holes on numbers 14 and 6, and we fixed them,” Delk said. “We have made some changes to the driving range. We did a lot of work on the trees. Just fixing some things over time that needed work.
“We had an original course member who told me he was in better shape than he ever was, one of the founding members. We have made many improvements over the past eight years and managed to maintain them.
A new bridge has been constructed to hole #6 at Windridge Country Club.
“It was an old culvert, we dug the ditch, put in some rip rap, made it look nice,” said Windridge greens keeper Scott Stuckey. “The main lake is bigger now, it’s four feet deeper and wider than it was.”
There are three new tees under construction at Panther Creek Golf Club.
“They should be ready to play early this season,” said Kevin Ferguson, owner and course superintendent at Panther Creek. “As for the golf course, we’re finishing up our typical winter chores, irrigation repairs, tree trimming, that sort of thing.”