The new ownership of the Vernon, N.J., property is in its second year of reviving turf by rotating play through its three nine-hole courses. An updated clubhouse is also getting positive feedback, and live entertainment may be offered this summer on a new deck that provides views of the valley.
The Great Gorge at Mountain Creek Golf Course in Vernon, N.J., which was closed during 2015 and 2016 and is now under new ownership, is now making inroads into the competitive Sussex County (N.J.) golf landscape through a focus on lower rates and better course conditions, the New Jersey Herald reported.
Peak pricing on weekends is down to $62 as opposed to $85 last year, The Herald reported, and midweek play is down to $47, with the twilight price set at $35.
“We want people to have a course that is affordable for them to play,” Director of Resort Operations Chris Haggerty told The Herald.“We want people to come out and be able to enjoy it. Our strategy was to lower the rates, let people come here and play and to get used to the course.”
When the Great Gorge course was shuttered for two years, the only maintenance that was done during that time was mowing the grass, The Herald reported. As a result, half of the putting surfaces had died and weeds were excessive around the bunkers.
“There wasn’t any kind of treatment, fertilizer or plant food being used to make the course healthy,” Haggerty told The Herald. But as part of the maintenance prescription for reviving the course, plant foods have been used to get the turf back where it needed to be.
“We’ve gotten a ton of feedback,” Haggerty said. “Anybody that played last year is like, ‘Wow, this is night and day.’”
With 27 holes that are separated into three 9-hole courses —”The Lake,” “The Quarry” and “The Rail”—course maintenance can be done on a rotating basis, with Great Gorge closing down one of the courses every week, giving turf a better chance to revive, The Herald noted.
As the course rebounds, Great Gorge is also expanding its entertainment attractions and adding hours to clubhouse and food-and-beverage service, The Herald reported. Live entertainment also may be added on the deck during the summer.
“We’re excited for [the updated clubhouse],” Haggerty told The Herald.“We’ve gotten great feedback on how it looks now. One of the things we like the most is the deck out back has a straight view down the valley. You can actually see the other half of the resort; you can see the ski resort from there.
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