Henderson Golf Club reopens after major renovations - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Henderson Golf Club reopens after major renovations

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Henderson Golf Club reopened Saturday after hundreds of thousand of dollars in renovations and maintenance to the course.

Chatham County took over managing the county-owned club about a year ago, tasked with getting the course up to par, after Gallea Management Group terminated its lease and lack of county oversight on maintenance.

"The greens were almost nonexistent," said Steve Proper, Chatham County Parks and Recreation director. "The sand traps looked real bad. It was just real bad, and our base of customers weren't coming back. There was a lot of complaints from the Henderson neighborhood, and it just really looked real bad. It looked like it was to the point of no return."

Proper said the majority of the $125,000 renovation budget paid for improvements to the greens, maintenance staff and pro shop.

"The golf course was in a little rough shape there, and since the county's taken it over, it's come back leaps and bounds," said Gordon Gnann, head golf professional at Henderson Golf Club. "We just want to show that (improvement) today, show the customers that have stuck and kept coming out appreciation for their loyalty, and then just let the folks know that we're here. We're open, and we're in good shape."

Proper said, "I used to come to this clubhouse and almost hide my head in shame, but now I come to the clubhouse, and all I get is compliments. So kudos to the staff. It's been just a great transformation."

Proper said the $125,000 is just the initial improvement cost, not the cost for continued upkeep, but said it is likely the county will continue managing operations instead of hiring a third party.

"With my budget analyst, we did a cost-benefit analysis of whether we go back to a management company or we do the operations, and it seems like it comes back that we do the operations better. Usually people think government employees can't do it better. Well, this is proof that we can. We do it better, and we do it cheaper also."

After a year of work, both said they were excited to see people playing on the completed course.

"Sense of pride," Proper said. "I mean, that's all I've got to say. I've never ran a golf course before, but we did have some people on staff (who have), like my park superintendent Mark Burgess. His background was golf. He was a golf superintendent at one point, and he said, 'Steve, I got this. I know what to do.' So I just took the handcuffs off of him and let him do what he needed to do, provided them with equipment, and they did it."

Gnann said, "I've been here, and I've seen it when it was down. To see it where it's at now is really exciting."

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