Changes pay off for golf course

Published 12:46 am Friday, January 3, 2014

Golfers may notice well-manicured greens and well-defined fairways at the Valley Grande golf course, but it wasn’t always that way.

During the past several years, course manager Steve Smitherman said he has put several thousand dollars into improving the course.

“When we first got the course, the greens were the main issue,” Smitherman said. “Thirty percent of them were in fair condition and the rest were real poor. We still have some work do, but the course in in tremendously better than they were.”

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Smitherman said he also made improvements to the course’s fairways and tee boxes. He also has future plans to improve drainage and improve bunkers.

“At first you really couldn’t tell the fairways from the rough and the tee boxes were pretty much gone,” he said. “Now we have the fairways well defined. The tee boxes are in pretty fair shape now.”

Before improvements, Valley Grande Mayor Wayne Labbe said the course was lackluster.

“It was kind of an old muggy golf course,” he said.

All those improvements may be paying off for the course in the form of tournaments and increased attendance. Once example is the annual Mayor’s Charity Classic. The event included 28 teams of three and raised more than $6,000 for charity.

The course has also hosted the portion of the 2013 Masters Games and the 2013 Bridge Crossing Jubilee Golf Tournament.

“It has gotten to the point where we are having more functions out there than ever before,” Labbe said. “It’s a good family atmosphere.”

Hosting tournaments shows off the golf course and entices golfers back for more, Smitherman said.

“The tournaments help tremendously,” he said. “The people of Selma and Valley Grande come out and many of them return to play golf on their own time.”

Aside from tournaments, he has begun developing other ideas to lure golfers back for more.