One Nine Done and Another To Go at Carthage Muni

With the opening of its front side in late-August 2002, all that’s left is to complete the back nine at Carthage (Mo.) Municipal Golf Course. The $2-million project, which is tentatively to be concluded on Memorial Day 2003, involves new bunkers, tees, irrigation system, parking lot (completed), maintenance building and cart paths (partially complete). The back nine is receiving the bulk of the renovation work.

Todd Clark of Craig Schreiner Architects designed the remodel, while Wadsworth Construction is handling the work. The city is financing the project through certificates of participation bonds, which officials approved earlier in January. The city will lease the course property to the underwriter of the bonds, First Bank of Missouri, during the 16-year funding period.

Based on comments from some golfers who’ve played the renovated front nine, the project is a success. Linda Bailey told the Carthage Press, “The women’s tee boxes are placed where they should be. The sand traps are nicer. The course is challenging because once you get off the fairway the ball is hidden in the rough. The fairways are not just straight, they curve. It is a challenging course, and they have done a very nice job.”

Other players have mixed feelings about the project. Rich Doubet, a Carthage member, commented, “It’s going to take a long time for it to grow in. They have done some work on it,” Doubet said, “So it will take time for it to come around. It will look nice. It will be worth the money they are spending on it.”

Doubet is concerned about the cost, saying the city could have saved some money by not building such an elaborate parking lot and cart-path system. “That’s a heck of an expense to me,” he told the Carthage Press. “We were wanting that money put in the golf course. But if they have to have that kind of parking lot, I guess that’s all well and good.”

Doubet and other golfers are upset about the $2 surcharge on each round of golf they play, even though members such as Doubet pay a $400 annual fee for unlimited playing privileges. The $2 fee must be paid on the day of play. “The city is hurting themselves with this surcharge and is going to lose a lot of people,” contends Doubet. “They are not going to make the people out here (happy). They are running off the seniors.” Doubet also believes the course will no longer offer memberships when the construction project is completed and the course reopens.

Not so, counters head pro Mark Peterson, who responded to Doubet’s allegation by saying that since he’s unsure of the actual opening date, the course will not accept any new memberships until the project is completed. Once the course has all 18 holes open for play, sales of the annual memberships will resume.

“The people who have memberships right now, we owe them something,” said Peterson. “We need to extend their length of time on memberships. They bought those memberships good from March 1 to February 28 (while) knowing that (the course) would be nine holes for 10 of those months. At the time, none of us thought we would have to shut down completely for almost two months.

“So we owe (the members) some time,” added Peterson. “We are going to extend their time frame on memberships for more than a fair (period of time). Until we know we are going to be 18 holes again, we are going to hold off selling any more memberships.”

Until the Carthage course returns to its ultimate 18-hole configuration, weekday green fees will run $12, with weekends and holidays priced at $14. For more information or a tee time at Carthage Municipal Golf Course, call 417/237-7030.