It is a mystery Glen Gustafson and his committee can't decipher.
Gustafson, along with Brainerd residents Jeff Hilborn, Charlie Sheets and Brainerd High School athletic director Todd Selk, make up the Lower Site Golf Course committee. The group's purpose is to improve, maintain and promote the Lower Site Golf Course in the Adamson Field athletic complex on the Brainerd High School grounds.
What Gustafson and the committee can't understand is the absence of flying white golf balls, and the screams of "fore" and "get in the hole" on the four-hole golf course.
Steve Johnson, Brainerd, chipped toward the green Tuesday at the Lower Site Golf Course at Brainerd High School. Johnson plays at the free public course at least a couple times a week.
The course, constructed in 2000, is a free, public course where holes range from 270 yards to 101 yards. During the school year the Brainerd Junior High Schools golf teams use the course. But in the summer the course is available to beginners, families and anyone with an hour or more to kill.
One reason the course isn't overflowing with future PGA players, Gustafson believes, is poor maintenance. Before to the committee's reinvestment in the course, Gustafson said the grass was too long.
The committee hopes that is improved.
"The school district just didn't have the manpower or the budget to work on that area and keep it playable," said Gustafson. "The grass was so long it was barely playable. It really needed to be mowed. So we bought a fairway mower from Madden's Resort and we now have a couple of guys who mow down there. The course is much more playable. It's more like a golf course now."
The committee also fixed two of the artificial greens, planted trees and bushes and will add a second fountain to the course.
The five-year anniversary of the course's opening has brought a resurgence of energy to the course from the committee. Hilborn said the group hopes to stay on top of the course maintenance.
"A lot of the credit to the way the course looks has to go to Brian Gustafson and Brian Stark," said Hilborn. "Those two are mowing the fairways and making it look nice down there."
In matters of promotion, Madden's PGA golf professional Chris Foley held a golf clinic there this spring that drew many aspiring golfers to the site.
Lower Site Golf Course at Brainerd High School is full of freebies
Lower Site Golf Course
Type: 4-hole public course
Location: Adamson Field at Brainerd High School
Glen Cook created another promotion that runs through July.
The owner of the three Brainerd McDonalds restaurants is offering a free Big Mac Meal to any player 14 and under who plays a round of golf, pars a hole and brings in a signed scorecard to any of the three McDonalds.
"It's an absolute shame that that course isn't filled on a daily basis," said Gustafson. "It's free golf with a chance at a free meal."
With the closing of Pine Meadows Golf Course in Baxter the committee was hoping the course would see more play, but it hasn't. One reason for that is the many other area golf courses that have put more emphasis on junior golf.
"I'm sure it's just an awareness thing," said Hilborn. "You would think especially with Pine Meadows being closed that there would be kids down there every day. It's just a great opportunity for so many people - not just kids.
"You don't have to get a membership. A lot of the anxiety that sometimes accompanies joining a golf course is gone. This course takes all that out of the picture. People can go down and relax and play for an hour or play for a day."
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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