The Jackson Park Golf Course in Palmyra is in as good of shape as ever, according to course president Richard Crane.
“If you build it, they will come” is the ever-famous line in the movie Field of Dreams.
Richard Crane did not build Jackson Park Golf Course, but he does have a similar saying for the 9-hole course in Palmyra.
“If they come one time, they will come back again,” the course president said. “The course is just in that good of a condition, I believe.”
Crane, who is in his second term as president of the board, has been around the course for the better part of 20 years. He mentioned he cannot recall the course looking in better shape than it does now.
“The course is just beautiful,” he said. “The greens are in great shape and the ball really rolls well.”
Crane’s brother-in-law, the late Gene Smith, introduced him to the game 20 years ago.
“We were in Monroe City one day and he talked me into it and I got hooked with the first round,” the 70-year-old Crane mentioned. “And I have been playing ever since.”
Crane mentioned one area of the course receives a copious amount of compliments over any other area.
“Everyone talks about how great of shape the greens are in,” the board president noted. “But you really have to come out and see them for yourself to really have a better appreciation for them. The ball rolls really good on the greens.”
Ryan Scott Morrison is one of the main reason’s behind the upkeep of Jackson Park. Morrison is in his second season as course superintendent.
“Ryan is exceptionally knowledgeable about what needs done,” Crane explained. “He has done a great job of making the place look really good.”
Jackson Park currently has approximately 160 members at the course. Crane noted they also deserve recognition for the upkeeping of the course.
“The faith of the membership is another reason why this place has come to be what it is,” he said. “We have so many volunteers here. We have a clean-up day every spring and fall. The number of people who show up for that is impressive.”
Crane said the duties range from picking up sticks to trimming trees and raking leaves.
“They just do whatever needs done,” he said. “They come and help do it all which takes away some of the burden on the groundskeeper.”
Crane mentioned another gentleman comes to the course every week to pick up cigarette butts from around the clubhouse and even cleans up on the course as well.
“It’s that kind of attitude is what it takes for a place like this to really shine,” Crane said.
League nights begin on Mondays at Jackson Park. The ladies hit the tees on Monday evenings, while regular men’s league is Tuesday with men’s senior league taking place on Wednesdays. There is also a couples’ league that gathers every Wednesday evening.
Crane noted there are plenty of golfers who do not have memberships but are just as important to the success of the course.
“We have some regulars who have been coming here ever since I can remember,” he said. “Those groups may not be able to justify buying a membership, but they are here every week, which really means a lot to us.”
Jackson Park may see a spike in memberships starting July 1. Crane mentioned the price of memberships, for the rest of the season, will be cut in half. Although no major improvements to the course have been made recently, Crane mentioned they are always trying to do things to improve the course.
“Last year we bought a new rough mower and we would like to be able to purchase another one this year,” he said. “We are currently working on upgrading our irrigation system and putting in new sprinklers to try and receive a little better coverage of our greens to try and eliminate any possible hot spots.”
Although Jackson Park plays host to at least one bigger tournament a month, Crane mentioned they have one tournament each year in which all the proceeds are pumped back into the course.
Some of the larger tournaments include: Palmyra Sr. Nutritional Benefit (Aug. 12), the Nick Smyser Memorial (Sept. 2), Night Tournament (Oct. 7), Fire Department Tournament (Oct. 8) and the Mark Baggett Memorial (Oct. 28).
Crane noted he is pleased with the direction the course is headed.
“I would say in my 20 years around here it’s had its ups and downs, but I believe it is in the best shape it’s ever been in.”