Times are changing at Valley Grande

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Change is afoot at the Valley Grande Golf Course.

Rex Bible bought the course in May 2006, and he and his wife, Brenda, quickly went to work on a course in disrepair.

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The course required $600,000 in repairs. Garbage accumulated to such an extent that cleanup efforts required over 100 dump truck loads. Downed trees and strewn limbs were removed. The irrigation system was redone.

The course’s rebirth continues to spread through word of mouth. A 14-person group from Montgomery recently held a private tournament at Valley Grande. Every weekend, 24 golfers from Birmingham and Marion visit to play Friday-Sunday.

When Bible assumed ownership, one or two people would play the course daily during the week. Ten-to-15 golfers would play on Saturdays. Fourteen months later, 40-to-50 golfers will play each day, with 50-to-100 playing on weekends.

Word traveled across state lines too. Sam Wilson and his nephew, Curtis, traveled from Florida to Alabama for a family reunion in Marion. They saw the course listed in a traveler’s guide, and made the hour-drive to Valley Grande to play a round of golf.

Bible, a former country club golf pro of over 30 years, entered a difficult profession when he purchased the course. Public golf courses often carry a negative stigma in comparison with semi-private and private courses. Furthermore, public golf course owners are financially disadvantaged by comparison.

Despite its disadvantages, Valley Grande can offer benefits country clubs cannot.

The pro shop remains a trailer, but Bible identifies it as his next project. If business continues its upward trend, he wants to build a new clubhouse. The Bibles refuse to imitate the country club look though.