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Bassett Country Club says it is bouncing back
Dan Breneman shows a bunker that is being renovated on Bassett Country Club’s golf course. (Bulletin photo by Mickey Powell)
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
As improvements are made to its facilities, Bassett Country Club is recovering from a decline in membership that club officials have said threatened its survival.
Many of the improvements are to the golf course.
Since a “Revive Our Club” plan was initiated earlier this year, the club has attracted 24 new members, according to Dan Breneman of Signet Golf Construction and Management, which is carrying out the plan.
While giving a tour of ongoing improvements to the club, Breneman said he did not immediately have a total membership figure. But in January, the club had about 80 members, down from its high of 226 more than a decade ago, club officials said at that time.
The club has been in business since 1926, but local economic troubles in recent years caused membership declines as people reduced nonessential spending after losing their jobs, officials have said.
Breneman said ongoing improvements are attracting attention but “many people have a wait-and-see attitude” as far as deciding whether to join.
Improvements he pointed out during the tour include painting inside the pro shop for golfers, cleaned carpets and new banquet equipment, such as dishes and a chocolate fountain, according to Breneman.
He was especially enthusiastic about ongoing renovations to the nine-hole golf course.
More than 40 trees have been removed from the course, and visible roots are being pulled from the ground in certain spots to make it easier to play, Breneman said.
He added that the entire course has been fertilized, new bunkers are being created and some are being removed, and a bridge is to be installed over a creek near Hole 5.
Professional golfer Sam Snead once played that hole. Breneman did not know when, but he said he understands Snead called it one of the hardest holes he ever played anywhere due to its narrowness.
The existing tee at Hole 5 is being moved and overgrowth is being removed “to get a completely different look” there, Breneman said.
Also, additional tees are being installed on each green to enable golfers — upon completing Hole 9 — to turn around and play the course again with a different golfing experience, Breneman said.
A fountain is to be installed in the lake on the course. The flowing water not only will look nice, but it also will keep algae from growing, he added.
Renovations to the golf course are expected to be completed by mid-June, he said.
He estimated the total cost of improvements to the club’s facilities at about $70,000. Of that amount, about $40,000 in improvements are being made to the golf course, he said.
All costs are being paid by the members, Breneman said, noting that each current member is contributing $550 toward the project.
On the first and second weekends in June, Breneman said, all club facilities will be open to the public for free to show off the improvements in hopes of attracting new members.