After years of managing courses in Iowa and Illinois for others, Tim Chrzan will now partner with his son Jason and other minority partners to create Kellers Crossing at Stone Creek in Makanda, Ill., transforming what was formerly known as Stone Creek Golf Club and Resort.
Tim Chrzan and his son, Jason, along with a few other minority partners, recently closed on a 400-plus-acre, multimillion-dollar property deal to become the new owners of what was formerly known as the Stone Creek Golf Club and Resort in Makanda, Ill., The Southern Illinoisan of Carbondale, Ill. reported.
The Chrzans and their partners now plan to create Kellers Crossing at Stone Creek, a golf course and home development project that will fulfill the elder Chrzan’s long-standing dream of owning his own golf course, after years of managing courses in Iowa for others, The Southern Illinoisan reported. The change in name is a tribute to the late Tim Keller, an original owner and designer of the golf course and associated community, the new owners said.
The golf course has been closed since early 2015, and will remain closed until early 2017 for renovations and repairs, The Southern Illinoisan reported. Tim and Jason Chrzan have been helping to maintain the property for roughly the past year, pending the closing of the deal, which took longer than expected, they said.
Tim Chrzan described the transaction, which included 11 rental cabins, as a “very, very complicated sale,” The Southern Illinoisan reported. It involved allegations by the original owners that a previous owner out of Paducah, Ky., who ran the course after the original owners sold in recent years, failed to maintain the property to standards.
After all that worked its way through the legal system, The Southern Illinoisan reported. the Chrzans became the official new owners of the property on December 17.
The next day, as they had promised area homeowners that they would, the Chrzans hoisted an American flag up the flagpole in front of the clubhouse, to signify that the deal had closed, improvements would soon be underway and the golf course would, in about a year’s time, swing back to life, The Southern Illinoisan reported. As people passed by on their way to work, many honked their horns in appreciation, they said.
Jason Chrzan said he wanted the new name of the property to include Keller’s name, because he believes he was truly a visionary in building the course some 15 years ago on what was a tree orchard nestled in the Shawnee National Forest.
“Having someone say, ‘I’m going to build a golf course and create something this great on basically a prayer and a dream is amazing,” Jason said. “This design, this layout, there’s not many in the region like it.”
The Chrzans began looking for a course to purchase about five years ago, The Southern Illinoisan reported, after Jason, a professional snowboarder who was living in Colorado as an instructor at the time, was approached about the idea by his father. Tim Chrzan has been playing golf since 1963, and was elected to the PGA in 1983, The Southern Illinoisan reported. His lengthy golf-industry resume includes management experience with Des Moines (Iowa) Golf and Country Club, a 36-hole facility with 3,500 members; Mason City (Iowa) Country Club, Muscatine (Iowa) Golf Club and two city-owned courses in Rock Island, Ill. After that, he took a job at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and opened Woods to Wedges, a golf school in Cedar Rapids.
The elder Chrzan’s goal was to transition his golf school to a course that his family owned, The Southern Illinoisan reported. And after Jason Chrzan agreed that a father-son business would be a great idea, the two spent about five years in search of the perfect deal. That search took them across the Midwest to courses for sale in various parts of Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky.
When they discovered Stone Creek in Makanda, The Southern Illinoisan reported, the two fell in love with the design of the course, as well as the four-seasons climate that can allow for a lengthy golf season while also providing a winter break that can keep people excited about the sport.
The Chrzans plan to eventually build a state-of-the-art facility as part of Kellers Crossing to house the school, The Southern Illinoisan reported. They hope people of all ages will come out to enjoy the sport, and take part in lessons whether they’ve never held a club or need to refine their game after forty years of play.
Improvements on the golf course will begin this winter as able, and pick up into the spring, Jason Chrzan told The Southern Illinoisan. Among those repairs, the new owners will be completely repairing the irrigation system and replacing all the greens, reseeding them with an advanced-generation variety of creeping bentgrass.
The grand opening of Kellers Crossing at Stone Creek is slated for 2017, The Southern Illinoisan reported. “The real goal for us is to make sure when we open, everything is perfect, and every blade of grass is perfectly in place,” Jason said. The two plan to attempt to recruit the Illinois high school boys and girls state championship tournaments to Makanda, and Tim Chrzan said the course also will be used on the rotation for PGA Pro Ams of the Gateway section.
On the property, there are currently about 60 privately owned homes, The Southern Illinoisan reported. The property sale to the Chrzans including about 58 vacant lots zoned for residential development, plus some other undeveloped land that could be slated for homes into the future. The Chrzans’ goal is to have a total of 150-200 homeowners in the golf community.
John Koropchak, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Dean at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (just 10 miles north of Makanda), purchased a home on the golf course 11 years ago. He told The Southern Illinoisan that he’s thrilled the deal has finally closed, and that he’s excited about hitting the course again.
“We’re anxious to get the golf course up and running, and we have confidence in Tim and Jason and confidence that it’s going to be a landmark, a great golf course a lot of people in Illinois want to play, and from other states near and far,” Koropchak said.