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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Courses rev up for season: Country Club offers serene setting for area golfers

Sunday, May 1, 2005

(Photo)
Sikesotn Country Club pro Kevin Collins hits an aproach shot on No. 7
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Country Club presents a serene setting with easy access for Southeast Missouri golfers.

"Members enjoy the quiet feel of the country club," said PGA Class A club professional Kevin Collins. "It's, basically, very laid back. Not a lot of stress. They can, for the most part, play when they like as long as there's not league play or a tournament going on."

The semi-private golf course, which averages 17-19,000 rounds per year, accommodates members seven days a week and the general public on Monday through Friday and weekends before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m. Weekends between 10 and 2 o'clock are reserved for members and their guests only.

The Sikeston Country Club, a 6,385 yard, par-71 layout located off Malone Avenue in the heart of Sikeston on grounds owned by the Sikeston Jaycees, is currently embarking on a membership drive.

The venerable club, opened in the 1940s, offers a broad gamut of attractions to its members.

In addition to the 18-hole golf course, including a practice putting green and driving range, there's a full service pro shop, golf lessons, electric cart rentals, personal cart sheds, a complete food and beverage department with banquet facilities and lounge, an Olympic swimming pool, and six tennis courts, one lighted.

"We think it's one of the best deals in Southeast Missouri," said Collins, a Sikeston native who has been at the country club since 1994.

The golf course, which added a second nine holes in 1962, received a major renovation in 1988-89 with a conversion of the greens to bent grass. Last year, seven tee boxes were refurbished, some elevated. "Our greens are in great condition," Collins said. "We feel like we have some of the best greens in Southeast Missouri.

"They're an older base with older grass, but we maintain them to a point that most players think they're pretty high caliber.

"Most members really appreciate the greens. They roll pretty darned good."

The fairways are a Bermuda/zoysia mix, currently 40-50 percent zoysia with a five-year program in place to achieve 100 percent zoysia growth, which provides a thicker, softer carpet of grass.

Tee boxes are a Bermuda/bluegrass mixture.

Primarily responsible for course maintenance is superintendent Jon Etter, a member of the Golf Superintendents Association of America.

"Jon's very knowledgeable and does a great job here," said Collins.

The course is user-friendly for those who prefer walking and for players of all levels of expertise.

The back tees (blues) stretch the course to 6,385 yards, the whites play at 6,019 yards, the gold plays at 5,146 and the red at 4,935.

For those who question whether the course is, perhaps, too flat, too short, too benign, Mother Nature answers.

Said Collins, "Most of the time, the wind whips through here pretty good out of the north or south, depending on the season. Many holes play a lot longer than they appear."

The signature hole of the golf course is No. 7, a 352-yard (from the back tee), par 4.

The hole features two large cypress trees which guard the green from the fairway. A player must decide whether to go over or around the daunting obstacles.

"It's not a very long hole, but it's a strategy hole," said Collins.

"You can try to drive past them or lay up short. Those trees cause problems for a lot of people."

Four lakes enhance the aesthetic beauty of the course grounds and provide playing hazards on holes Nos. 2, 7, 8, 9 and 15.

Always interested in providing the ultimate playing experience, the country club has contracted the services of an architect to present a master plan for future course enhancements.

"There are some things that need to be done, some small and some large," said Collins. "It depends on how we tackle them and at what rate we tackle them."

A members' meeting will be held in two weeks to consider the architect's proposals.

The Sikeston Country Club's calendar of events and on-site programs provide something for everyone.

There's a junior program, for several age categories, which is held every Wednesday throughout the summer, starting in June.

All of the following league plays began in April.

For women, there's the Ladies Association League which holds play on Tuesday mornings.

Seniors, usually 45-50 strong in number, tee it up for play on Wednesday mornings.

The Men's Association has Thursday evening league play, featuring varying formats.

One of the most popular programs is the Twilight League, a couples scramble, which is held on Friday evenings.

"Anyone interested in becoming a member of the club should stop by and let us show them some things," added Collins. "I think they'll be pleasantly surprised at what we have to offer.

"We feel the prices are as good as anybody's and I would be very surprised if, when they see what we have to offer, they're not impressed."