Better late than never

Kenai Golf Report

Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Well, hello golfers and welcome back. Hopefully this golfing season will afford us many opportunities for excellent golfing, especially considering the winter we just endured. And I am especially looking forward to seeing all those golfing friends that we lose track of during the winter months. Not enough snow and way TOO much cold for enjoyable outdoor pursuits like snow machining and skiing. I am one of those people who just will not endure these activities when it is too cold. I would much rather whine about the weather from my comfy chair in my cozy living room.

I apologize for the late start to the column and want to thank Gordon Griffin for writing the column last week. I am so very glad to be back home on the Kenai Peninsula after living in Anchorage for the last five weeks. For someone who has managed to avoid driving in Anchorage for almost 25 years, I think I finally learned my way around, although my city driving may have caused a few uneasy moments for the co-worker I carpooled with.

You are probably aware that the Kenai Golf Course has changed ownership. Gordon Griffin, previously the general manager of the KGC, and his wife Debbie, have purchased the course from the Morgan family. I am sure I speak for all the proud KGA members when I thank the Morgan family for their hard work and amazing contributions to our golfing community here on the Kenai Peninsula, and to welcome the Griffins as the proud new owners of the Kenai Golf Course.

So a lot has happened at the Kenai Golf Course and if you have not yet stopped by, you really need to check out the changes. The Pro Shop has been completely remodeled. An indoor putting area has been added so you now have no excuses for not trying out the new putter you have been wanting. A full complement of men’s and women’s clothing as well as the usual assortment of clubs and accessories is available for your shopping pleasure. There is a selection of snacks and microwaveable food items as well as beverages. Out on the course, the continuing work of removing winter kill trees and deadfall goes on. The biggest change on the course, though, is the addition of a set of executive tees. The course has not yet been rated from this set of tees, which I believe Gordon told me would be purple, but this is planned for the very near future. Anyone can play from this set of tees, which will be primarily par 3 with a few par 4 holes thrown in for good measure, and should be a great way to hone those short game skills we all need but few possess.

I finally managed to get in a 9-hole round with my better half and preferred golfing partner, Dave, on Sunday afternoon. We thoroughly enjoyed being on the course again after such a long break and seeing the new executive tees and some of the ongoing projects that have already been started. The weather was amazing and it was good to see Gordon and Debbie, and Cliff Baker among others. I wish I could say that my game had improved over the winter, but all things considered, I am just thrilled to be back. The course really does look great for so early in the season.

Thank you to Brent Mello for all his hard work on the carts and driving range. I want to extend a warm welcome to newcomer Derek Crowder who will be joining Brent’s crew. Many thanks to Debbie Griffin for all her hard work and the excellent job she did organizing the Pro Shop. It looks fantastic. A big thank you goes out to Bob Sizemore for again helping to set up our Hook-a-Kid-on-Golf Program. Don Moock will hold a Women’s Golf Clinic on May 29-31 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. each day. The cost is $20 per session or $60 for all three nights. Be sure to sign up at the pro shop or call 283-7500 for more information.

A birdie told me ... too bad not even a bird witnessed the hole in one on No. 15 that our Golf Pro, Don Moock, had playing from the new executive tees. Cliff Baker had an eagle on No. 11 (and I don’t believe that was playing from the new tees). Congratulations to both these men for these great shots so early in the season.

General Manager’s Report

I would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. I really appreciate all the kind words.

The course is in good condition and continues to improve daily. The recent good weather has seen an improvement in the greens as they are filling in and really turning green. All the greens that needed seeding have been seeded and fertilized. Bill Burtram has assured me that the greens will be rolling faster this year than ever before (and this is a good thing?). In addition to the regular seed mixture, we have added two different grasses that grow really fast which should make a big difference in the quality of the greens. In the near future, cart paths will be added on holes No. 5 and No. 7. We will continue their development throughout the year and into next year. This change should really improve our fairways on these holes. We have also added a new greens mower, which the crew is really excited about, and should give us a lot more flexibility.

Again, we are excited about our new Executive Golf Course. The score cards should arrive soon and the markers will be painted purple. We will also begin the process of improving all the tee boxes on the course. Special pricing for the Executive Course will be announced soon. The club storage area has been completed with a new key punch system and lockers. I invite all locker owners to decorate their lockers. A special prize will be given to the most decorative locker, so get started on those decorations!

Again, I want to thank everyone for all their help, hard work, and dedication to the Kenai Golf Course, and I am looking forward to seeing you on the course and in the Pro Shop.

Well, the guys wasted no time getting the Men’s Night up and running, although I have not been back long enough to find out what night it’s even being held on! The first meeting of the group had the team of Beau Forrest, Justin Herrmann, Derek Crowder and Loren Smagge in first place with the team of Todd Eskelin, Bob Sizemore, Andy Anderson and Jerry Norris in second. Bob Sizemore took the long drive and closest to the pin on No. 10, while Danny Pate took the closest to the pin on No. 14. The first place team on the second Men’s Night was comprised of Doug Jung, Joe Bryant, Dana Bassel and Chris Kimball. Dana Bassel won the long drive while Paul Zimmerman had the closest to the pin on No. 5 and Doug Jung took the closest to the pin on No. 9.

I promise to find out what nights which events are being held by next week. As of this writing, our Co-Ed Golfers have yet to make an appearance nor have the Ladies gotten their group out on the course. Anyone interested in participating in the Co-Ed Golf (previously held on Monday evenings) or in the Ladies group, please contact the pro shop at 283-7500 or give me a call at 283-4299, or e-mail The 2007 Kenai Cup gets underway on Wednesday night, June 6. You still have time to sign up for this event as the deadline is May 31 for the entry form to be received. These forms (as all tournament entry forms) are available in the pro shop and can be turned in to the pro shop. Gary Katsion will again be chairing the Kenai Cup and we are looking forward to another outstanding year of match play. Thanks, Gary, for assuming this responsibility again.

There are a lot of exciting events coming up so get your calendars marked and your sign up sheets turned in. The First Annual Dick & Shirley Morgan Kick-Off Tournament will be held on Saturday with check in starting at 9 a.m. and a 10 a.m. start. Here are the scheduled tournaments for June: June 8 — the Boys & Girls Club; June 9 — the 21st Annual Masonic Open; June 16 — the 2007 Kenai Elks; June 17 — the KGA Members Only; June 23 — the Executive Tournament (from those brand new executive tees); and June 30, the Rita Botelho Memorial.

I would like to thank: Eddie Sibolboro for all his hard work clearing out and for the many helpful suggestions he has made; Bill Burtram, our new course superintendent, for his dedication to the process and for his sincere desire to make the Kenai Golf Course the best it can be; Dave Ramsey for doing all the electrical work on our remodeled clubhouse. He provided us with plenty of power and new features that will certainly help improve the quality of service at the clubhouse. Chris Kimball for all his hard work and for doing whatever is asked of him; Tommy Carver for removing most of our stumps around No. 18. He will get the rest of them soon. His step project on our tee boxes should also be finished this year. Roy Wells for fixing our thermostat; Sharon Moock for providing helpful suggestions with our snack bar and for the plant for our opening; Keith Stewart for all the carpet on the indoor putting green and the clubhouse and also for helping paint the inside. He will also help paint the outside when the weather permits. Max Pate for many helpful suggestions and also for his electrical experience; Gene Getchell for installing our new key punch system on our club storage and for fixing the ice machine and many other things he has helped with on the course; Pauline Goecke for her support and encouragement and for letting Ron out of the house to help so much; Dwight Kramer for fixing up the storage area and for all of his helpful suggestions; Debbie Griffin for simply putting up with me and for all of her excellent work in the pro shop; Brent Mello, our cart person, for all his extra work; Cliff Baker for all of his helpful advice and his caring attitude; Danny Pate, our new “aqua man,” for fixing our water line; Dusty and Willy for all that you do and for caring so much. You both do an excellent job. Jim Bradford for fixing our net and for also helping the pro shop. To Pat Cowan for his encouragement and for a special gift for our opening. To everyone that helped out, thank you so much.

It’s great to have another golfing season underway. See you on the front nine!

Gordon Griffin

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