The American Legion Golf Course is doing its part to make sure all three links in Hannibal remain in good standing.
It’s very rare to see three golf courses succeed in a town the size of Hannibal.
The American Legion Golf Course, which may be the least-known course in the area, is doing its part to make sure all three links in Hannibal remain in good standing.
Over the last few years the course has underwent a major overhaul, thanks in large part of the vision of course manager Bob Allen.
“We decided to take out the hillside of trees three years ago,” the course manager said. “A lot of them were blocking the greens from getting sunlight hillside which created dead patches on the greens.”
The current condition of the greens is one area, Allen mentioned guests and members talk about the most.
“Although it’s a struggle right now with the heat, everyone says the greens are doing good,” Allen noted. “And they seem to be pleased with the overall conditions of the course as well.”
With one project out of the way, Allen is trying to find a way to create another project — something he mentions the course needs in a crucial way.
“Right now our biggest problem is getting waters to the fairways,” he said. “Especially with all of this extreme heat we are getting, making sure the fairways have water is vital. We do not have a good system in place at the moment.”
Allen has plans to build a levy on the course and add an additional pond which they can pump water from.
“Right now we are buying our water from the city and it’s just not good water with all the chemicals which have to go into the course,” the manager explained. “Right now I am looking over bids for the cost of putting in a levy but they are coming in a little higher than what we would like.”
Allen mentioned bringing back a former favorite tournament could be one option of bringing in extra funds for the course.
“Paul’s Revenge was the name of a tournament we used to have which all the proceeds which back into the course,” he explained. “We did not have it this year but it’s something we should probably consider bringing back.”
The tournament is named after Paul Daugherty, who used to cut the holes for the greens. For the tournament, Daugherty would make sure he placed the pins in the most arduous placements on the greens, just for fun.
The Jimmy O’Donnell Scholarship tournament, Budweiser and Tom Boland are three other coveted tournaments each year at American Legion.
Allen noted for every team who enters the Jimmy O’Donnell tournament, the course donates $20 to the scholarship fund.
“The O’Donnell family has been a big supporter of the course for a very long time,” Allen noted. “We appreciated all of the support and we are happy we are able to help contribute to the scholarship fund.”
The tournament will be held on July 30 this year.
The Budweiser tournament will take place on Aug. 20. Allen noted the tournament is limited to a field of 27 teams.
“Last year we had eight teams on the waiting list to play, it’s a big draw for us too,” he said.
The Tom Boland tournament is scheduled for Sept. 24 and another big draw is the Junior Ellis tournament, which will take place Sept. 9.
The American Legion has a men’s league on Monday nights. A women’s league take place on Tuesday nights while a couples league is on Friday nights.
Allen noted the biggest league at the course is the Old Goats, a league comprised of golfers over the age of 50.
“They are out here Thursday mornings and are our biggest league,” the course manager said.
Allen also mentioned the Old Goats as well as the couples league are both big contributors to the course at the end of the season.
“Both of them donate money back into the club,” he said. “Last season the Old Goats gave back over $1,000.
“Not only to both leagues bring in a lot of people but they also bring in different people as well.”
Allen noted the nine-hole course is affordable and the level of difficulty is reasonable, which also attracts the casual golfer to the course.
“The course is not real long so people who don’t play a whole lot of golf don’t feel too intimidated on the course,” he said. “And we are pretty cheap.”
Most courses in the area offer a special only a day or two during the week. The American Legion offers the same special seven days a week. Any day after 11 a.m. — even on the weekends — golfers can play an unlimited amount of holes for $20, cart included.
The Par 3 hole No. 9 is the hole Allen considers to be the signature hole on the course.
“It’s also one of our most difficult holes,” he said. “It’s a tee shot over water, but it’s a hole everyone talks about as well.”
Everyone pitching in
According to Allen, the American Legion Golf Course is a low budget course. Allen is the only paid outside employee of the course. But he is not a one-man crew when it comes to the upkeep of the course.
“I wear many hats out here, but I also have a lot of help,” he said.
The course thrives on the dedication and hard work from numerous volunteers.
Allen receives help with mowing, weed eating, watering the greens and various other odds and ends jobs which is vital to the course.
Some of the volunteers arrive at the course as early as 4 a.m. to help water the greens and fairways.
Unlike most courses, the American Legion does not have any automated sprinkler systems in place. And often times, Allen and the volunteers will stretch garden hoses out on the courses to get it watered.
“There is no way we would be able to do it without all of the volunteers,” the manager said. “We cannot afford to pay outside help so we are very grateful for all of their help.”