MALVERN – Major changes are coming to the golf course in Malvern.
A redesign and reconstruction of the 2,600-yard, Par-35 course will include an irrigation system, sand bunkers, a lake and grass greens.
Yes, grass greens, will be replacing the synthetic “Field Turf” greens that were installed at the Fairview Country Club a decade ago as a replacement to the course’s legendary sand greens that had been in place for decades.
“The main reason we’re trying to do this is to improve the (golf) experience in Malvern,” Malvern banker and golfer Jay Burdic said. “We need to get more people involved – more younger people and more families.”
The Fairview Country Club, established in 1929, currently has about 70 members. Burdic believes a community with 1,300 residents should have nearly twice that number. He’s confident the reconstruction of the course will not only increase membership numbers, but also make Malvern a regional destination for southwest Iowa golfers.
The reconstruction project will commence in July, forcing the golf course to shut down for the second half of the golfing season. The plan is to reopen the course next spring.
Burdic said the reconstruction plan evolved from an initial desire to replace the Field Turf greens, made from the same artificial material that’s become a popular playing surface for high school and collegeiate football and soccer stadiums in the Midwest. What Malvern golfers soon found out after installation of the Field Turf is that the rubber-based surface provides too much bounce for a golf ball.
“It’s taken away the golf shot of landing on the green,” Burdic said.
The size of the new greens will also be standardized.
The decision to do a total overhaul of the course came after Burdic and members of the course’s board of directors learned that a former Mills County resident with golf course construction expertise, Allen Scott, had moved back to the Glenwood area. Scott, now retired, spent 20 years helping build golf courses with Lincoln, Neb.-based Landscapes Unlimited, one of the premiere golf course construction firms in the world. East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Pinehurst in North Carolina and Torrey Pines in California are a few of the big-name courses Scott and Landscapes Unlimited did work for.
Scott has been meeting with board members at the course on a regular basis and will oversee the construction project when it begins in early July.
“We would not be doing this if Allen hadn’t moved back here,” Burdic said. “When we found out he was back here living, we all looked at it as a sign that we needed to do this.”
Scott said the changes at the course will be significant. On some holes, the location of existing tee boxes and greens will be reversed. A handful of holes will now have bunkers and a one-third acre lake will be constructed near Hole No. 9.
“We’re changing the layout of the course in a lot of places,” Scott said. “The bunkers are a major upkeep item, so we’re just putting in a few. As for the lake, that’s where we’ll get the water to irrigate. That will be a major change. You’ll have to hit the ball over water on the No. 9 hole.”
Both Burdic and Scott said the changes will make an already picturesque course even more charming.
“I think our course is a pretty course,” Burdic said. “There are not very many flat spots.”
Burdic said a name change for the course is likely after the construction project is complete.
“We’re probably going to take the ‘country club’ out of it,” he said. “We need to make it a family course and we have to make it affordable to them.”
The reconstruction project comes with a price tag – estimated at $180,000. Two-thirds of the money has been raised, but donations are still being collected. Corporate and private sponsorship of individual tee boxes are being sold for $10,000 each, but seven of the nine tees have already been accounted for. Interested donors should contact Burdic at Malvern Trust and Savings Bank.