The turbulent times toward opening Fyre Lake Golf Club to the public continue, but the course remains on track to be ready for play as soon as the weather allows.|
It will just be opening with some different personnel running the par-70 layout in Sherrard for thepreviously announced new ownership.
Within the past few weeks, two locals have been given the chance to be key players in finally getting the course open. Justin Stotts, a 1997 Rock Island High School graduate, has been hired as head pro at the Nicklaus Design Group layout. Aaron Beshears, a 2005 Rockridge High School graduate, has been promoted to superintendent. Both had past ties to the facility.
They were both hired through GolfVisions Management, Inc., which is in place to operate the course for new owner Todd Raufeisen.
The positions needed to be filled when both golf pro Erin Strieck and superintendent Jim Wyffels took their considerable talents to Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Burlington, Iowa, in the middle of February. Wyffels had been FLGC superintendent since Day 1 of building in 2007. Strieck had been with the facility for two years. Both with previous ties to The General in Galena, they were two of the three full-time employees – with Beshears being the other – during the course's dormancy because of financial and ownership concerns.
Stotts, a Class A PGA professional with 13 years experience in the golf industry, had served as director of instruction at the facility in 2011.
"I gave all the lessons and clinics there until things closed,'' said Stotts, who also owned The Golf Academy that operated out of the Brady Bubble until that facility changed hands.
Stotts, 33, said he plans on continuing as boys' golf coach at Rock Island High School.
Beshears made a quick ascension at the facility. The 26-year-old was hired there out of Iowa State University in 2010 after graduating with a turf grass management degree. He started as a member of the grounds crew and has since served as both second and first assistant before his latest promotion.
"I'm really looking forward to being the superintendent when the course is finally opened,'' said Beshears, who also worked on ISU athletic facilities as well as the school's home golf layout of Veenker Memorial Golf Course. "This course has been ready to go for three years now. Everything is grown in. All we have to do is start mowing.''
Stotts is also up and running – for the most part – in the pro shop. He said merchandise is coming in and that the food and beverage operation is being readied. The new pro shop phone number is 309-644-4575. Stotts said work on the phone line is continuing and should be operational this week.
"Furniture is in and my computer is up and running,'' said Stotts. "When people start calling, I can make reservations for them.''
And that is as good of news for local golfers as an under-par round.
"One of the biggest goals is to get people out here and exposed to the course,'' said Stotts. "Everyone has heard about a golf course at Fyre Lake since 1995 when I was in high school. In the near past, it has been on the forefront of most golfers' minds.''
Raufeisen said that only two things need to happen for the course to be fully functional – the snow to melt and concrete for the new parking lot/drop-off lane/cart-staging area to be poured. He said the course will open even if the hard-surface lots are not done. He added there is minimal paperwork to be cleaned up – one lien that needs to be cleared – before the sale is completely final.
"We're excited for the weather to break,'' said Raufeisen. "Like everybody, we're excited to get the season started. … Everything we're doing is with one goal in mind and that's to open the golf course.''
Milan, IL Details
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