The Ladies Golf League purchased a “Golden Anniversary” stone, ABOVE, from Hug’s in Radom to mark the Nashville Municipal Golf Course’s 50th year.
(The following account is offered posthumously from Harry Reinhardt who kept anecdotes of the building and development of the golf course fifty years ago.)
In 1965 or 1965 Mayor Gene Driskill appointed Harry Reinhardt chairman of a new committee formed by the Nashville City Council. The committee was the Playground and Recreation Committee to be in charge of the construction of a new nine hole golf course for Nashville. The site was the location of the present golf course. Virgil Hoelscher (owner of Eigenrauch Grocery Store) and Wallace Huegely (owner of what is now the FS Elevator as well as other elevators in nearby towns) joined Harry (who worked for National Mine Service). The City of Nashville had voted to impose a tax for the purpose of the golf course but it has never been imposed on city residents.
Mayor Driskill advised the committee that $100,000 had been set aside for this project. The Park Board owned slightly over half of the needed property – 40 acres – and the city purchased the rest – 32 acres – from the Krughof estate on June 15, 1966 for $10,000. Under Illinois law the city could not be involved in the construction of the course by the Recreation Committee could – later named the Golf Board. Having no previous knowledge of golf course construction, the three men sought whatever information and whoever might be of assistance. They visited courses in St. Louis as well as area ones to learn how they had been built and what maintenance and operation was needed. They advertised for golf course architects to design and help build the course. Four or five designs were submitted, and the design submitted by Clete Idoux was chosen. He had designed the Tamarac Golf Course in Belleville. His contract was for a total payment of $1500 for the design and for two days a week on the course during construction.
The City Council of Nashville had previously built the existing lake and dame so this was in place with Babe Habbe as overseer. Architect Idoux proposed the number two hole in its present location – north of number one and the rest of the holes just “fell into place”. The first tee was originally east of the present day first tee located about where the practice putting green is now. Idoux reasoned that a good drive would get a golfer in the valley on number one, and his idea was to make number one green the biggest one of the course so golfers would have a chance to hit the green on their second shot and therefore keep play moving. He also reasoned that more people would slice the ball and his overall design would help keep the ball in play. Later the number one tee area would become the practice putting green and the tee area would move up to its current location. What are now holes number three and nine were heavily wooded areas. It was probably Elmer Oelze JR who had a tree remover and took out quite a few trees for these present day fairways. A majority of the construction work on the fairways and greens were done by Glen D. Snead workers. As work progressed and costs were coming in well under budget, the golf board considered adding a fairway watering system. Quotes for the watering system were reasonable and allowed the board to stay under budget so it was installed. The original system was a far cry from what it is today, but at the time, Nashville was one of the few courses in the area to have fairway water.
The Park Board and the Golf Board had a difference of opinion on the road leading to the course. The Golf Board wanted it where it is today, but the Park Board wanted to use the existing road around the east side of the park. Agreement was reached if the Golf Board would agree to putting a restroom on the west side of the Clubhouse so it could be used by patrons at the park because there were no public restrooms in the park at that time. The course was officially opened by the city on September 9, 1967 with the first foursome off the tee: Mayor Gene Driskill, Babe Habbe, Virgil Hoelscher, and Harry Reinhardt. Second foursome was Glen Lee Snead, Elwood Doelling, Rich Willis, and Don “Red” Roethemeyer.
Rates in 1967 were $1.00 for 9 holes; $1.75 for 18 holes. Pull carts were $.50, riding carts $3.00. First golf course superintendent was Zeke Reuter and his assistant was Gus Kitowski; followed by Bill Ahlers with Gus as his assistant; then Virgil Hoelscher with John Forys as his assistant (fresh out of college); then John became superintendent with JR Stiegman as his assistant; Gregg Gundlach was next with JR Stiegman as his assistant as well as Rhett Renken (fresh out of college); Trey Anderson followed with JR and Garrett Stiegman (fresh out of college) as assistants; John Forys returned with JR as assistant plus George Przygoda. Kent Shubert would join John when JR and George retired. Present day superintendent is Josh Evans with Kent as his assistant. Sharon Frederking became the manager of the clubhouse in 1997 after being attendant for three previous years.
Over the fifty years many improvements were made to the course:
1993: Current bridge was built across the neck of water on #4 (Chuck Evans had built the original bridge with oil pipes from his business).
1994: Blue grass tees.
1996: Course fairways were replaced with Zoysia grass.
1997-1998: New irrigation system was installed.
1997-1998: Concrete paths were installed throughout the course.
2001: Large shelter near clubhouse was built.
As a recreational facility for the public, may events and organizations began:
1970: Ladies Golf League was organized by Florence Poirot and Palma Stiegman.
1970: Men’s Golf League was organized by JR Stiegman, Bob Irwin and Neil Diedrich.
1982: Annual Maifest Golf Scramble Tournament began.
1990: Annual Firemen’s Golf Scramble Tournament began.
1993: Annual Ladies Golf Scramble Tournament began.
1990: Annual Junior Golf Tournament began.
1972: Nashville High School Boys Golf Team (some girls competed not as team).
1999: Nashville High School Girls Golf Team.
In appreciation of the City Council, the Golf Board, and the community, there will be plans for a special celebration of this “Golden” anniversary to be announced.