By Debby Woodin
Golfers say Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course is looking spry for its 87th year.
Renovations at the course scored Friday with golfers like Rich Doubet.
“It’s in as good as shape as it’s been in quite a few years,” said Doubet, of Carthage, who has been golfing in the area since 1993. “The new carts are great. The old ones were getting pretty tired.”
The city celebrated repairs and upgrades at the course Friday with a tournament, a cookout and a giveaway of some free-play passes. The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce cut a ribbon.
The Joplin City Council had earmarked $400,000 to spend on the course. The council decided to replace the entire fleet of golf carts, 60 of them, which pushed up spending on the course to more than $500,000, said Doug Joyce, parks director.
Mayor Gary Shaw said the course is known as a historic one because it opened in 1922 alongside what became Route 66.
“Schifferdecker is a bargain” in the course’s condition now, Shaw said. Repairs have included a new pump in the irrigation system, paving cart paths, clearing out damaged or dead trees, and planting new ones.
“The most important thing people wanted was new tee boxes, and we will have them in place in time for the Ozark Amateur,” the mayor said. Billed as the oldest golf tournament west of the Mississippi, the amateur is played in July.
Joyce said work will continue on the course this year.
The tee boxes will be finished in a couple of weeks, but will be off limits until July to allow grass to grow. Golfers should expect their scores to be higher when they start playing off the tee boxes because the temporary tees are shorter and contribute to lower scores, Joyce said.
Also, there’s still another crop of trees to be planted later this year and some drainage work to be done late in the summer when thunderstorm-season subsides.
Suggestions are needed for a means to dry out fairway No. 3, Joyce said. The fairway stays wet and numerous efforts to improve drainage have failed. “If anyone has experience in drainage that could help, we’d like to hear from them,” Joyce said. “There has to be a solution.”
Despite that problem, former Missouri Southern State University head coach Jim Frazier, who is a lifetime board member of the Joplin Sports Authority, concurs with Doubet’s assessment of course conditions.
“The course is in great shape,” Frazier said. “The new tee boxes will be nice. The greens putted smooth.”
Fees at Schifferdecker are $11 for weekday play and $14 on weekends. Rates are lower for senior citizens, and yearly passes are available. Carts are $10 for nine holes and $20 for 18 holes.
By Debby Woodin
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