Golf Club celebrates 50 years

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

18-hole course hosts multiple events throughout year

This year, the Cassville Golf Club will be celebrating 50 years of fairways and greens in Cassville.

Ranked in the top 10 of the finest public golf courses in Missouri by the Kansas City Star, the 18-hole golf course is on Highway 112, four miles from Cassville and minutes from Roaring River State Park,.

Originally a nine-hole course in 1966 when it opened, the club transitioned to 18 holes in 1988, due to its growth and popularity.

Over the years, the club has offered opportunities to both locals and visitors to enjoy the sport, hosting a variety of club competitions and fundraiser tournaments throughout the year.

"It draws folks to the area, and it's just a place to come out and relax and have a good time for the locals," said Chuck Edie, club manager in his seventh season. "During the summer months, we get lots of guests from Roaring River State Park."

Over a 50-year time span, a few things have changed.

Bob Allen, who was on the board of directors for 12 years, said over time, he has seen the club grow in a number of ways.

"Since I moved here, it was more of a Cassville-based golf course, where it seemed like all the members were from Cassville, and everyone knew each other," he said. "But, as things have changed, we have members from northwest Arkansas, Wheaton, Monett, Kansas City, and just a wider cross-section of membership. We also went to 18 holes in 1988, which changed it quite a bit. In the late 1990s, we built a new clubhouse."

Allen said public interest in golf has dipped over the years, based on current events.

"When Tiger Woods came out on the scene, he absolutely captivated people by what he was able to do," Allen said. "He got people fired up, and we saw our membership increase. There were a lot of people who weren't interested in golf that started to play. Then, after he fell off his magic run, the industry started to see a decline in golf. [Like anything], you'll have something that people can't get enough of, then start getting involved in something else. Any business goes through those cycles."

Allen said he disagrees with the axiom that golf is the the rich man's sport.

"If you want to play golf, you can probably buy an extra set of clubs for around $100, and get some golf balls, plus the fee to play," he said. "But, if you go to a movie or dinner, you're going to spend that, too. I think if a person approaches it with a conservative attitude, they can piece-meal things together to see if they're interested in the sport and go from there. So, I don't think the cost should scare people away."

Allen said the club is running a special for new members 35 years of age or younger.

"We're trying to get young families interested in the sport, and there's a swimming pool and social activities that go on there, too," he said. "So, you get a pretty good return on your money."

The club hosts many events throughout the year.

"They have tournaments, a club championship, a one-man scramble, there's league golf on Monday nights, a Tuesday night group, and cat-and-dog tournaments where men and women play," Allen said. "There's also a very active women's league."

To try the game, Allen suggested tagging along with someone who plays to learn about it.

"It's a very challenging game," he said. "It hooks a lot of people. There are a lot of people who have played softball or certain types of sports, and don't want to get hurt anymore, and golf is a game they haven't really thought about. When you get out there and get exposed to the essence of the game, you find you're out there on a regular basis trying to get better. It's addictive."

One challenge, for instance, Allen said, is figuring out which club will help you win.

"You've got 14 clubs you're allowed to take," he said. "Every club does something different. You may use a driver to tee the ball, then, once you get on the green, you've got to take your putter out and roll the ball in the hole. There are so many elements of the game on each hole, it can be mind-boggling. It's really a whole new game every time you tee up the ball."

It's also about self-control and focus, Allen said.

"The really good players can control themselves in pressure situations," he said. "The player Bobby Jones said, 'The game of golf is played in the five inches between your ears.'"

Edie said what he likes best about the game is that you're in control, and don't have to rely on anyone, versus other team-based ball sports.

Debra York, president of the Women's Golf Club, which has been in existence as long as the golf club itself, said golf is quite popular among women.

"There are women golfers and have been for years, like Nancy Lopez and others," she said. "More men play, but the women are sure getting out there. There is also a Ladies Pro Golf Association."

In addition to enjoying a competitive sport, golf offers several benefits, York said.

"There is camaraderie, exercise, and it's a social outlet," she said. "Afterward, we may have a beer and visit."

There are also perks like trophies, cash prizes and recognition.

"We go out especially to play golf," she said. "We form friendships and socialize outside of golf, but we go there to play golf."

Playing the game, and amenities like a clubhouse and swimming pool, provide fun outlets for Barry County families, too, York said.

"It's a great family activity," she said. "They [the club] is offering a junior membership, or special rate for families age 35 and under right now, so you can have a membership and afford to come out and play golf. I'm seeing a lot more younger people, which is great for the sport. Busy families all do basketball, football and softball, so this [game] can be like that."

York encouraged people to come out and give golf a try.

"If you go with a member, you can play for less to see if you like it," she said.

For more information about membership, people may call the golf club at 417-847-2399.

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