When the Green Acres Golf Course community building was boarded up and closed down in 2015, its future looked bleak as the crown jewel of the neighborhood stood dormant for the first time since the mid-‘60s.
Homeowners’ Association (HOA) representative Chuck Lewis said the neighborhood was shocked to hear about the closure, and after a neighborhood meeting, it was revealed by a realtor the property values in the area would take a big hit if nothing was done. Lewis set out to change the course.
“Given the circumstance of this building being boarded up and the feedback that we got from the realtors, we thought, ‘Well, we better do something about it,’” Lewis said.
The only solution would be for the HOA to purchase the golf course in order to keep it running and keep the housing in the neighborhood at pristine value. This was no easy task, however, and Lewis said he and the HOA board scoured the earth to find the funds necessary.
All while looking for money to finalize the deal, the HOA went ahead with taking on running the golf course, starting with hiring Harold Vincent as the general manager.
It took years to come up with the funding, but Lewis eventually found a loan opportunity through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) where the USDA worked with local banks to ensure guaranteed loans.
For those loans to be approved from the USDA, they had to be directed toward a cause more essential than just a golf course.
“We found out you can’t really leverage those revenues to support a golf course. So we continued to move, but what we did get with Scott Lods, the owner (of the golf course), is that, ‘You know, we if we buy the sewer from you for your initial cost, will you throw in the golf course?’ And he said yes,” Lewis said. “So we bought the sewer system, and with that, we got the golf course.”
First Farmers Bank signed on, and the HOA closed on the sale in December 2020. For roughly five years, Vincent and Lewis have worked to constantly improve the golf course each year. A big focus has been the fairways, Lewis said.
By the end of 2019, Lewis said for the first time in his association with the course, feedback from both locals and other golfers around the state has been resounding.
“We’re continuing to put a lot of emphasis on improving the greens, keeping the crabgrass out, the weeds down, all that. In fact, we have done more already this year than we’ve done the last three years, and we have more to do,” Lewis said.
Whether it’s spraying the crabgrass, distributing weed killer, or fertilizing the greens, Lewis said the golf course is well on its way back into its heyday. There’s some work to be done to sand traps and other aesthetic aspects of the course, but it’s getting there.
A big issue has been flooding, which Lewis said they are working to contain. But Vincent said he would put the course against any golf course in the state.
“It’s very relaxed golf. As busy as this course is because of its layout, you don’t feel threatened. You don’t feel intimidated. You don’t feel like people are right on top of you. The layout is literally one of the best in north Central Indiana, if not northern Indiana. Not knocking the other courses around here because they are really premiere courses, but this is just so relaxed,” Vincent said. “It’s just a natural draw. It’s almost like golf in a nature walk. There’s not a lot of traffic noise. There’s not a lot of distractions out here. It’s literally a golf course carved out of a scenic part of Indiana that ought to be part of a Wander Indiana commercial.”
With affordable rates, special days honoring veterans, ladies' day, and the solitude of being nine miles outside the city, Vincent said the course is a sure draw as the weather is heating up.
The course will be up to full speed come the start of April, though it never officially shut down.