BUILDING A GOLF COURSE: PART 1 – VIEW OF THE PAST
EDITOR’S NOTE: For those hitting the links at Valley View Golf Course Monday, June 26, it was just another beautiful day to enjoy the wide fairways and large greens that help define Freeman’s 9-hole recreational destination located a mile south of town. But in reality it was more than just another day.
Monday marked the 30th anniversary of the opening of the golf course, which came on June 26, 1993 and followed a remarkable two-year grassroots effort led by a local group of hobby golf enthusiasts who collectively had the skillset, determination and wherewithal to see it through.
Over the course of the next two weeks The Courier will take an up-close look at what it took to get it built through conversations with those who were on the ground floor, what has happened since and what the future holds for what is considered one of the most player-friendly golf courses around.
To get the series started, below is part of how then Courier Editor and Publisher Tim L. Waltner reported on its opening day.
Valley View opens
Valley View Golf Course opened south of Freeman Saturday morning, June 26.
The first golfers stepped onto the new golf course in the early morning light of 5:15. Activity continued on the course until darkness covered the course some 16 hours later.
Sunday was essentially a repeat performance.
By all accounts, the first weekend was a rousing success and reaction to the course was positive.
“It went great,” says Dean Dreessen, president of the Freeman Area Golf Course Association. “We are delighted with the response.”
About 90 people golfed Saturday and about 100 golfed on Sunday. The weather was cooperative and the course proved to be in excellent condition for its inaugural weekend.
Construction of the nine-hole golf course began last year. Built on 75 acres a mile south of Freeman, the course was designed and built by Marty Johnson, a professional designer from South Sioux City, Neb.
Although there has been interest in a golf course in the Freeman community for some time, this course is only about three years in the works. The Freeman Area Golf Course Association was organized in 1991. The course was built with an extraordinary outpouring of volunteer effort.
The course includes two lakes and a pond, large greens, moguls and grass bunkers. It is based on the natural terrain of the land. The high part of the course, the southwest corner, drops about 60 feet to the lowest point in the northeast corner. A few existing trees are on the course with hundreds of new trees planted.
The greens vary from 6000 to 10,000 square feet.
A 40×60 maintenance building is located on the southeast part of the course and a 104×32 clubhouse/cart shed is being built on the southeast portion. The club house, which is described as a temporary club house, includes a snack shop. Golf supplies are also available for sale.
Workers are continuing to finish the interior of the clubhouse this week and gravel is being delivered to build up the parking area north of the club house.
Plans call for the county to dust proof the gravel county road on the west edge of the course.
People can bring their own carts and store them in the storage shed at the course, says Herb Koerner Jr., manager of the clubhouse. Rental carts are also available, he added. Use of carts on the course will depend on weather and will be determined by greenskeeper Brett Warren.
Koerner said he heard many favorable comments about the new course. “People say it’s a beautiful course,” he said.
Dreessen also had very positive reactions to the course. He said many people commented on the excellent condition of the course and how lush the grass is. “People say it’s going to be a nice course as it matures,” he says.
Golfers playing the course last weekend included people from Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska.
The local response to the course was very gratifying, Dreessen says. He was particularly pleased by the number of women and children that turned out last weekend. “This is good family entertainment.”
The board of directors will be finalizing plans for mens and ladies golf, bringing in a professional instructor and setting an official grand opening for the course.
The course will be open to the public from dawn to dusk, including July 4, Koerner said. The club house opens at 7 a.m. The phone number is 925-4929.