Greencastle Greens getting half million dollar upgrade

Ryan Dawson, assistant golf professional, and Susan Stepnick, sales and marketing manager of Greencastle Greens, are excited about the changes at the golf course for 2012.

Greencastle Greens Golf Club is undergoing renovations that customers will not be able to miss. Farhad Memarsadeghi, owner of Admar Homes and the golf course, made a major decision after the buckets of rain that fell last September. He hired Spirit Golf Management, Yardley, to take over operations. And the first task the new people took on was replacing the cart trails. They were already in poor shape, but the heavy rain caused flooding, washouts and a mess.

Susan Stepnick, Spirit sales and marketing manager, said club members already reported that the narrow cart paths were holding the course back from its full potential. Her company committed to removing all of them, typically four feet wide, to be replaced with a proper stone foundation and six to eight feet of paving. The drainage would also be corrected. The goal is to be done before the first season event March 30.

"The paths will last for many, many years," she promised.

The clubhouse will also be updated. It has wifi for computer users. A training center will be put in the basement to help golfers develop the right muscles for a better game. A driving cage will allow them to get their swing analyzed. The pro shop will be remodeled for layout and merchandise. The upstairs will be refurbished into a conference room and private area for members of a wedding party. The grille will carry fresh food and a broader menu as time goes on. The patio will be enlarged.

Outside, player development is on Stepnick’s mind, along with that of operations manager Mike Porter and Spirit president Mike Attara. Along with the driving range and putting green, they plan to add a short game area to the right of the clubhouse. In the early days it was Hole 1, which was moved since golfers tended to hit the nearby homes. The club will use Almost Golf Balls on the practice course, so the neighbors are safe.

Stepnick is excited about the pending changes. "We treat this course as if we own it."

New events

Spirit will continue to cater to established golf leagues and players, but wants to draw more people to the facility. The staff has planned a number of events to bring in novice and experienced golfers.

A Power Lunch League will enable folks to gather for the mid-day meal and golf a Par 3 or nine holes. The hope is that people network for business purposes, if they don't have an evening to spare for the traditional leagues.

A Wednesday night league is for those who can't commit to a whole season of play. They can sign up for a particular night, and will be assigned a foursome if they don't have their own. A "Less Than Nine is Fine" league will help beginners polish their skills on holes 1, 9, 10 and 18.

"Those are long holes," said Stepnick, "so players will use every club in the bag. Instructors on the course will keep the pace of play going."

Clinics will be offered for adults and children. Scramble tournaments will welcome those new to the sport.

"Everyone has heard of golf," Stepnick continued, "but to actually take part - we want to make it comfortable and easy to do."

 A coffee club will encourage visitors with 50 cent refills in specially-purchased mugs. April 28 is Demo Day, in which representatives from four major golf companies will display their new products, and people can try them out. The golf managers already know what some of them are, since they attended a PGA golf merchandise show in Orlando, Fl. in January.

Liquor license

Stepnick has already approached the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors. According to information she received from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, she believes the golf course is in a special category and could have its own liquor license. Spirit wants that in order to control the consumption of alcohol on the property. They have heard stories of golfers who went overboard drinking beverages they were allowed to bring in. That impacts the liability of Greencastle Greens.

Stepnick said Spirit did not plan "to lead the charge" to make Antrim a wet township. They simply want the supervisors to approve a private license for the golf course. She was even open to a probation period to show that there would not be problems, since management planned to closely enforce responsible consumption. The application asked for the opinion of the board.

A destination

"Farhad has designated almost $500,000 to the improvement of this course," she said. "That's an incredible commitment to Antrim Township and Greencastle. We're working to draw tourism, which will benefit hotels, restaurants and caterers. My goal is to bring visitors in. We're trying to reach out to the community."

Spirit wants Greencastle Greens to become a signature location, but never cross into a country club format, Stepnick said.

"We hope we will have so many valued programs and services, that it will never be too expensive to play here."