(Photo by Justin Wan. Sioux City Journal)
The Sioux City, Iowa municipal course’s practice facility has elevated tees, “which frankly I’ve always disliked,” said Director of Golf Scott Harmelink. But after visiting an Arizona Topgolf, Harmelink was inspired to create staggered targets at Green Valley’s range, fire up lights that have been dormant for decades, and add glow balls, music and beverage service to “make it fun to hit balls” again.
The driving range at Green Valley Golf Club, one of Sioux City, Iowa’s most popular municipal golf courses, has undergone a facelift, the Sioux City Journal reported.
And the improvements don’t represent your ordinary practice-facility upgrade, but a new look that is truly unique for the area, the Journal reported. And Scott Harmelink, Green Valley GC’s Director of Golf, hopes the changes will make the club a destination spot for golfers of all ages.
The changes made at Green Valley were inspired by a visit that Harmelink and his family made while visiting Arizona last winter, the Journal reported. During that trip, the Harmelinks stopped at the Topgolf facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. and hit balls from its elevated bays at the stadium-like facility’s target greens.
Then this spring, when Bob Walker, the PGA head professional at Sioux City’s Floyd Park Golf Course, came up with an idea to put eight target flags in staggered position on the range at Green Valley GC, to replace the four straight-line flags that have always been there, Harmelink got a flashback to his Topgolf experience to suggest a way to “make it fun to hit balls” at Green Valley, the Journal reported.
“When Bob was finished with the project, I remembered Topgolf in Scottsdale and [its] elevated tees,” Harmelink said. “So does Green Valley, which frankly, I’ve always disliked. But then I got the idea [for how to] make it fun.”
To put that idea into action, the Journal reported, Harmelink rented a sod cutter and cut out eight 20-foot circles. After the sod was removed, Harmelink, Walker and others put down a liner and edged all the circles. They then brought in six dump truck loads of Pink Sioux Quartzite Sand and filled the circles four inches deep.
“Number one, it really looks awesome from the elevated tee,” Harmelink told the Journal. “You can see all eight targets from that vantage point. The light pink color pops against the dark green grass.
“Number two, it is fun to hit balls,” he added. “When the ball hits one of those target greens, it plugs. When the ball misses the target, the golfer can see the ball bounce away. I personally have never really enjoyed hitting range balls. But I really enjoy hitting balls at these target greens and everyone I’ve talked to is enjoying it also.”
A new, single-piece, 100-foot driving range mat has also been added to the facility, the Journal reported, and Green Valley GC now also plans to utilize lights on the range, which have been present but dormant for at least the last two decades.
“We will be using the lights after sunset on some Friday and Saturday nights,” Harmelink said. “We are also going to consider purchasing glow balls to have competition on some summer weekends, with music, a beverage cart on the range, and more.
“There really isn’t anything like this in the area,” he added. “Instead of going out on the town, or to a movie, people could come out here for a good time and a unique experience.
“I do something new and different every year at Green Valley,” Harmelink said. “Some things work and some don’t. [But] you have to try new things to see what works and what doesn’t. I hope this one [at the driving range] proves to be very successful.”