|The Henryetta Golf Course is needing members.
Over the past five years, membership has declined some 50 percent and that is putting the course in a bind. In 2007, there were 135 members, now some 70 people are on the membership rolls. That decline is attributed to a combination of things from an older membership to the downturn in the economy starting in 2008.
A family membership is $650 per year which entitles everyone in the family to play unlimited number of rounds throughout the year.
Funds from the memberships are used for maintenance on the facility. Since it is a privately-owned facility, no taxpayer money is used for upkeep or salaries.
|The golf course was established in 1921 by a group of Henryetta businessmen. Originally called Hillcrest, the entire course was professionally designed and still today offers a challenging one or more rounds of golf.
It is no stranger to financial hard times since, during the Depression, the course actually went bankrupt and, during the 1930s, was on the sheriff's sale roster. At that time, another group of local businessmen were determined to keep it operating and bought the property.
Sitting on over 63 acres of land, the nine-hole course reorganized in 2001 as a non-profit entity and a corporation was formed. A new clubhouse was built, cart paths added and the course revamped.
It features nine holes over 2,934 yards with tee boxes for both men and women. The club house features a grill, refreshments and dining area. It is also often used for reunions, weddings and other special occasions.
The past two years of extremely dry weather has required added maintenance to keep the grounds playable. Water for the greens and fairways comes from a three-acre lake owned by the course that has the added benefit of no payments for city water.
"We need at least 100 members just to keep the maintenance on the course," said Donnie Smith, grandson of one of the club founders."The club is rather unique in that we have a membership roll but we don't have a committee that passes judgement on who can join. The course is open to any individual who wants to play on weekends or evenings and only pay a small green fee."
To go 18 holes, a person is charged $12 green fees and can rent an electric cart for $10. Those rates are lower than many other courses throughout the state with the benefit that a Henryetta resident can often get in nine or more holes of golf after work.
In addition to serving the public, the course is a training ground for the Henryetta High and Middle School golf teams. Knight golfers are allowed on the course without charge and, as a result, have brought in numerous district and regional championship honors.
A special fund-raising golf tournament is held annually, the Spring Fling, that attracts players from all over Oklahoma as well as neighboring states. Often, during that tournament, Henryetta football star Troy Aikman, can be found with his clubs competing and having fun.
Other tournaments are held by various groups and organizations throughout the year. Only during the tournaments is the course closed to the public.
"The golf course is an economic benefit to the town," Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Roy Madden pointed out. "Often, if someone is looking at moving to a community, they want to know what the recreational opportunities are and a golf course is a major decision-maker." He also pointed out that, when golfers come to Henryetta to play, they spend additional monies for gasoline, food and other purchases which benefit the city through sales taxes.
Smith said anyone who joins now through September will have their membership credited for a half-year.
To join the golf club, a person can go to the course or call 918-652-8664.