Heritage Hills

The greens at Heritage Hills Golf Course are on their last leg and the cost to get them back up to par is roughly $300,000.

Heritage Hills leadership is seeking a helping hand from both Rogers County and the City of Claremore.

Monday, Andy Forbes presented the request for assistance to the county commissioners.

Forbes said they're currently working on a few projects to hold them over, but that the greens will all need to be re-done next year.

"We're re-doing our putting green and hole 17 green this month. The following year we're asking for the money to re-do the rest of our greens. The whole project will be about $300,000, that's what we're asking for. It's about $10,000 to $12,000 per green but we're asking for that amount to pay salaries and cover our loss of income for those months that we're down."

He said the course is losing a lot of members because of the condition of gyre greens.

"We have five schools that practice there," Forbes said. "And if it goes down and just turns back into a cow pasture, those schools would lose their teams."

He said the Rogers State University team practices at Heritage Hills as well.

Commissioner Dan Delozier said, "We've been talking about quality of life for some time..and this is one of those things that help. When you have a golf course it draws people in to town. I understand exactly what you're saying."

Commissioner Steve Hendrix said he agrees this will have to be done for the golf course to survive.

"They've had professionals come in and give advice. The way it was explained to me, the average greens have a life of about 20 years. And these are the original greens from about 1977. They've more than doubled their life expectancy," he said. "I know you've lost tournaments—people who have come here from out of town aren't coming anymore. And that has an economic impact to our county. They don't just come in and play golf and go home. They're going eat and buy gas and spend money. The golf course has a significant economic impact just like our other events and venues that we support like the rodeo and splash pad and biking trails. We do all of that to promote quality of life in our county and a thriving golf course is part of that quality of life."

Hendrix said the county has been able to assist through labor and equipment in the past.

"But what we're talking about is a project for next year that we can build into our budget as an economic stimulus, or donation, for the golf course. We obviously can't fund the entire project. I've talked to the city and they've basically said 'if the county is in, we're in,'" Hendrix said. " So I don't have a problem. I don't have a number in mind—we'd originally talked about $50,000. I know that won't get you all the way there but you're out knocking on doors and seeking donations, public and private, and I think you'll get there."

Commissioner Ron Burrows agreed on the value a golf course adds to a community.

"It brings people from out of town and they spend their money here and go home so we get the benefit of them dropping off some money while they're here and they enjoy the activity," Burrows said. "Golf courses are a tough business to run in the black and you guys have been able to do that, I don't know how because it's a tough business. Well, it's been through good management and good decision making. I'm supportive of helping you guys any way we can."

The commissioners applauded Forbes for his efforts at the golf course, saying he'd done a "tremendous job so far."

Ultimately, they said they needed to see his master plan and be given some time to crunch the numbers as they work through their budget process.

Hendrix said, "We'll see what we can do, but we will help you."

This Week's Circulars