Columbia looks to attract more golf tournaments
COLUMBIA — Columbia Parks and Recreation finished renovations to the Lake of the Woods Golf Course last Friday.
Attracting more tournaments to mid-Missouri is a major goal of these renovations.
"In the past, we've lost tournaments," Parks and Recreation Director Michael Griggs said. "We have an aged facility. ... At least we now, we're going to be in the market to go out and compete with these other golf courses because we have all of these other amenities."
Griggs is optimistic the renovations will lead to local businesses experiencing higher income because of the tournaments.
"[Golfers from out of town] are going to maybe spend more time in Columbia than just coming in to play golf," Griggs said. "Especially with the bigger tournaments, when you might have a couple hundred people playing golf, and it's a two-day tournament...now you've really got that tourism impact, and that really helps our local businesses in Columbia."
Griggs said a major challenge going forward will be fairly sharing the course with local golfers who want to shoot a casual round and setting the greens aside for tournaments. However, the idea of promoting more tournaments has already gotten the interest of local golfers.
Retired teacher Allington Jolly said he plans to enter in a tournament for the first time in his five-year golfing career.
"Last year was the first time I actually started to get a feel for the game," Jolly said. "You know you've got to be able to shoot the ball straight in order to be able to get into a tournament."
Jolly also said he is pleased with the updates, and thinks the economic value in the course is a reason he is starting to golf there more often.
Griggs said the city also plans to continue networking with golfing tournaments to bring them to Columbia.
"A lot of these tournament organizers like to move around," Griggs said. "We'd like for all them to stay in Columbia every year, but we know that's not realisitlc. If a tournament is in Springfield, we want to see if that tournament would like to come to Columbia next year. We look at the existing tournaments and try to market them and try to see if they'd like to make Columbia their site."
Griggs said some of the biggest parts of the renovations are the "unseen things," with more environmentally-friendly windows and insulation to cut down on long-term costs.
According to the city of Columbia, the project cost $90,000. Local golfers paid for the clubhouse improvements through course improvement fees. The city considered the opinions of these golfers and people who run golf tournaments when designing the new clubhouse.
The clubhouse was built in 1995 and has seen minimal work done on it since it opened.
Some of the improvements included renovation of restrooms, removal of leaking skylights, window replacement, and upgrading the concessions area. A shelter was also added.
KOMU 8 previously reported the Lake of the Woods Golf Course added 28 new high-tech golf carts to their fleet.
The new carts have USB ports to charge electronic devices while golfing.
Griggs said the city plans to add at least 15 acres and a driving range to the course in the future, in order to become even more competitive.