Business In Full Swing At County Golf Course

Once in the financial rough, Whispering Pines Golf Course in Hurley is beginning to earn money for Jackson County.

In the last three years major improvements have been made to the fairways and greens. Now that the course is in top shape more and more people are coming to play.

"It used to be like a cow pasture out here. Now it's a golf course. And a nice one," golfer John Gurry said.

"It's tremendous," golfer Marvin Thompson said. "It's a lot better than it was. Twice as good as it was. I've heard a lot of people say that its been so improved they're going to play here more."

The quality of the course isn't the only thing attracting players. Hundreds of people play at Whispering Pines because of the low green fees.

"You can't beat the price for golf. It's fantastic," said Gary Jenkins, a snowbird from Ontario Canada. "There's no where else you can play for that price."

Game fees used to be the only way the course brought in money, but now it has started selling Whispering Pines merchandise. Racks of shirts, towels, hats and sunglasses bearing the golf course's name have been available for about the last year. Sales had been slow until about two weeks ago when the club house began accepting credit cards.

"We lost all of our impulse buyers," says Club House Supervisor B.J. Curlee. "They would want a shirt but didn't have their check book with them or didn't have enough cash on them, so we would lose the sale. Now with credit cards, we do capture impulse buyers, which is good."

Since they started taking credit cards, the staff says they've also seen an increase in the number of players visiting the course.

"Word has gotten out that we do have the credit machines so business has increased on that," Curlee said.

"We've had customers come in expecting to use a credit card and actually had to leave," Jackson County Parks and Recreation Director Jack Hamilton said.

Hamilton says that shouldn't happen anymore and that the county will continue to work to improve Whispering Pines Golf Course.