Through a $975,000 project, the 101-year-old club is creating “The Drop Zone,” a five-hole, par-3 layout, and will also begin construction on a new pool bar in about a month. “We’re doing this to get some new families in here and make them feel like there’s something here for everyone,” said Dane McLaird, who became the club’s COO/GM at the end of 2019. “The good-old-boys model can’t sustain itself.”
Enthusiasm was running as high as a well-struck wedge shot at 101-year-old Owensboro (Ky.) Country Club on the morning of June 1, during a groundbreaking celebration for a new five-hole, par-3 short course, the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reported.
It’s the first phase of what club officials referred to as “the new Owensboro Country Club,” the Messenger-Inquirer reported.
“We’re trying to be more family-centric out here,” said Dane McLaird, who took over as the club’s General Manager and COO in December 2019. “The short course [named The Drop Zone] should be open by the end of September, and we believe it will be a good amenity for us.”
In about a month, the club will begin construction on a new pool bar as well, the Messenger-Inquirer reported.
“Country clubs all over are having to reinvent the wheel,” said McLaird, who had previous club experience in St. Louis. “It’s been a good-old-boys model forever, but that model couldn’t sustain itself. It’s been changing over the last five to 10 years.
“We’re doing this to get some new families in here,” he added. “We want them to be excited about being here as a family—make them feel like there’s something here for everyone.”
The entire project will cost about $975,000, according to McLaird. “That’s a commitment for our membership,” he said, “in a partnership with Independence Bank.”
Owensboro Country Club President Bob McDole believes the additions will greatly enhance the club’s overall appeal, the Messenger-Inquirer reported.
“The short course will be popular with families and kids,” McDole said, “and the pool bar will greatly improve the pool experience.
“What we’re trying to do is enhance the family experience out here as a whole,” McDole added. “We’re looking at this as the new Owensboro Country Club, and in the process we’re trying to grow our membership.”
Vice President Andy Roberts is credited for having the original vision for the enhancements, the Messenger-Inquirer reported.
“The short course should be really popular,” said Roberts, who has been one of the city’s most accomplished amateur golfers for more than two decades.
“This offers something to members and potential members that we haven’t had before,” Roberts added. “The 18-hole course is beautiful and outstanding, but it’s too big and too intimidating for youngsters. The short course, you’ll be able to play in 30 to 40 minutes. I believe it will appeal to some of our older members, as well.
“Our clubhouse is old and dated, and the new pool bar will offer an open-air experience that I think a lot of people will really enjoy — this offers our membership another alternative,” Roberts said.
The club hopes to offer members and prospective members a big bang for their buck, the Messenger-Inquirer reported.
“This is an important step for us,” said Darrell Vanover, the club’s Grounds Director. “We’ve got to create value for people’s disposable income.”