Fixer-upper U golf course

By By Tye Smith

By Tye Smith

Bowls of candy, crowds of people, Led Zeppelin playing loudly in the background and a sparkling new SUV awaiting a lucky winner-not your average day at the golf course.

This was the scene on Saturday at the U’s golf course, which was celebrating its grand reopening. The course recently underwent several changes as a result of the construction projects around the campus.

According to Head Pro James Kilgore, “the TRAX extension project impacted the course quite heavily.” The fifth and seventh holes were affected the most.

“Hole No. 5 was under a temporary tee-box situation,” said Kilgore. “Normally a 400-yard par 4, it was playing as a 150-yard par 3.” After its renovation, hole No. 5 was restored to its original par 4 status, but it now measures only 315 yards.

Even worse, “hole No. 7 was closed completely,” said Kilgore. He explained that the players were forced to use the practice area south of the ninth hole as a makeshift final hole. “It was kind of a patchwork nine holes,” he said.

With construction finished on No. 7, the course is back to its fully functioning nine-hole status. “The golf course is in the best shape it’s been in years,” Assistant Pro Eric Johnson said.

Johnson credits Marty Huebner, head greenskeeper, with the improved overall condition. “He [Huebner] and his crew have been working super hard in anticipation of this day,” said Johnson.

According to the assistant pro, better fairways and greens are not the only improvements.

“We’ve got new scorecards and we redid all the yardage on all the holes with a GPS system,” he said.

He also noted that the map on the scorecard is now accurate, because it hasn’t been in a long time.

The day-long celebration featured a hole-in-one competition on a 190-yard par 3. Sponsored by a local dealership, the award for making an ace was a brand-new luxury SUV. Though there were not any winners, Johnson was quick to point out that, “We had a guy lip-out earlier-his ball hit the side of the hole.”

Despite the fact that nobody won the car, the golf course’s grand reopening was largely a success, as indicated by the golfer turnout. A lengthy wait list was hardly a bother for most, as the patrons munched on candy and practiced on their putting. Those in attendance seemed to enjoy the experience.

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