New owners, new life for Old Hickory Golf Course

Thursday, April 5, 2007
The Crain family of Ron, Rhonda and Heath (from left) accept the keys to Old Hickory Golf Course from Collins-Evans Realtor representative Gary Hood.

It laid dormant for nearly four months with only a "For Sale" sign by its entrance.

No one was sure what was going to happen to the area. Would the land be renovated, housing a new addition? Or would another owner come in and reopen?

That's exactly what happened to the Old Hickory Golf Course recently.

Area resident Heath Crain recently purchased the course, which had been closed since early November. It officially was reopened March 21.

The course was under previous ownership of Bill and Pam McChesney. However, Heath's father, Ron Crain, told the BannerGraphic Tuesday that the pair took its last membership on Nov. 8, 2006, and the course had been closed until his son purchased it.

Heath was a three-sport athlete while at Greencastle High School -- graduating from GHS in 1997 -- and played football at DePauw University. He graduated from DePauw in 2000.

Since graduating college, he has worked in landscaping for nearly eight years, owning his own business.

"I've been doing landscaping for the past eight years," Heath said. "I figured (my landscaping experience) would tie in pretty good with a golf course."

In addition, Heath also has owned his own tree trimming business for the past few months and works third shift at Buzzi Unicem.

"I don't have time to be idle," he said.

He said he learned the course was for sale while driving by it to take care of some rental homes he also owns.

He decided to purchase the course and make it a family venture, but his father said the situation was an "ordeal."

"It was a long, drawn out affair, but we finally got it purchased," Ron said. "It's just been an ordeal trying to get it up and open."

His parents, Ron and Rhonda, will also work at the course, as will his sisters Cori and Kristy.

Heath said Kristy currently lives in Evansville but plans to come home to help out with the course.

"It will be family owned and operated," Heath said. "I think it's going to work out real well for everybody."

Ron said his family previously owned the Dairy Castle for nearly three years, something Heath cited as a reason for purchasing the course.

"They taught me a lot," Heath said of his parents.

Not much has changed since the course went under new ownership, but changes will be made, according to Heath and Ron.

Ron -- who admitted he's not much of a golfer, but rather an avid fisherman -- said renovations are currently being made to the course's restaurant and restrooms.

"We're remodeling the restrooms. They could be opened by the end of the week," he said.

He added the restaurant is currently closed due to remodeling, but will be reopened as soon as possible.

"We're going to take our time," he said.

Both Heath and Ron said they have planned minimal changes to the course, but nothing drastic.

Heath said plans have been made to add more parking and to work on women's tee boxes.

"We're going to try to improve the whole course," he said.

Ron added that some sandtraps will be remodeled in addition to improving all the greens and fairways.

On Tuesday, family members said they have seen great interest from golfers who are slowly returning.

"We're trying to make it a better place to play," Ron said. "It looks like a lot of members are coming back."

Sister Cori Carrington agreed Tuesday, saying many golfers were pleased to see the course reopen.

"They're glad that we're open and that (it's owned by) somebody local," she said.

Heath said regarding play fees, not much has changed. However, he said they have set up a special rate of $20 for any amount of holes with the use of a cart for Mondays.

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