Bob Mitchell: The rest of the golf story
For those who might think Cassville woke up one morning the discovered a Grass Green Golf Course south of town on Highway 112, they might have caught on last week that there were obstacles thrown in the path of the progress.
In addition to the lost option on land problem, directors and those interested in the possibility of switching from sand to grass greens at a new location faced a local problem regarding the membership declarations required by the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA).
The government agency required more than 200 of the commitments of membership that carried a requirement of a small deposit of funds to ensure interest within the community toward the project. Everything was moving along smoothly, until a problem came in the way of a legal opinion. When this hit the streets, the project had not reached the required number and some who had committed to the project were withdrawing their declarations.
The opinion, from a Cassville lawyer, said that signers of the membership agreement would be responsible for their share of the indebtedness should the project, when completed, default to the government on the loan. Despite disagreement with some legal opinions in favor of the project, there was a segment of the community who remained reluctant to participate in the project and actually became an opposition group to obtaining the membership declarations.
Opposition went on for a number of weeks, delaying the project on the proposed schedule of things happening by the board of directors. There were splits in friendships over the situation as ardent golfers attempted to persuade those against the project as a result of their belief in the legal opinion.
Opinion knocked down
Finally, my uncle Means Ray, who had been in Jefferson City politics for a number of years, said he knew Everett Jose, Missouri FmHA director, and he would consult with him regarding the situation. When he did so, Jose agreed to make a trip to Cassville to assess the situation. He did just that, driving to Cassville and meeting with the directors to see what he might do to clear up the problem.
When he discovered the basis of the opinion, he quickly assured the group that information stalling the project was inaccurate. Jose told the group that the loan with FmHA with the golf association was like any other financial arrangement of this type, should the course fail to make financial obligations the property would stand good for whatever balance that might exist on the loan.
Jose visited with the source of the opinion for some time and obviously quieted his concerns as this no longer remained an obstacle for the project to gain the required number of membership applications.
Even with the opposition opinion stalling membership agreements, many supporters of the course, some who never held a golf club, marched up and signed the declarations. Their support was for Cassville and the future possibilities for the community.
Their involvement makes the course one of the finest in the area.
Ironically, Cassville obtaining a grass green course prompted golf interests in Monett to begin proceedings to convert their sand green facility to grass. Their push was headlined, "Even Cassville has grass greens!"
One of the last obstacles for the directors was at the signing of construction contracts with Maury Bell of Monett, who had built courses in Colorado. At the signing, one director was reluctant until assured by Bell that if he could get a good worker who knew something about farming, he would put this person on his payroll. He told directors by the time the course was finished this person would know how to take care of the greens.
The board recommended Kenneth Sisney of Cassville, who became a Bell Company employee and worked though the construction of the course.
Sisney stayed with the course until his retirement, doing his thing with the delicate care of the grass greens during their initial growth period. His knowledge of this specialty endeavor started the course to the standing that it holds today. He was gifted in learning this line of work and could have departed Cassville for a larger course toward the end of his career, but chose to remain in Cassville.
Hang on until Monday
Tired? Don't give-up, just wait until Monday, that's when Labor Day arrives, providing a three-day holiday weekend for rest and relaxation.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.