River Chase Golf Course

New managers plan upgrades
for River Chase Golf Course

Membership drive is now under way for the 2006 season

By Don Ward

MADISON, Ind. (January 2006) – River Chase Golf Course will offer some physical changes and new management when the downtown Madison, Ind., nine-hole facility re-opens next season.

Ernie Gauck

Ernie Gauck

The ownership group has leased the course to partners Ernie Gauck and Brian Daeger of Greensburg, Ind., after the previous management team, led by Johnny Gullion of Scottsburg, opted not to renew its contract. Gauck and Daeger introduced themselves at a Dec. 14 reception at Bella Vista Restaurant, located on the site of the former Madison Country Club.
Gauck owns and operates North Branch Golf Course, a 27-hole facility in Greensburg. Daeger is a certified public accountant who works in health care administration at a Batesville Hospital. North Branch Golf Course pro Kurt Balser, who attended the December reception, plans to divide his time between the two courses to provide instruction and direct major outings. An on-site manager will likely be hired to direct the day-to-day operations, Gauck said.
The new managers outlined their plans for generating profit at the semi-public course to nearly 40 people in attendance. Those plans include an aggressive membership drive, numerous outings, leagues and golf pro shop sales.
The golf course is owned by a group of former Madison Country Club members. Owners’ representative Tony Waltz told the group that a new 20x40-foot golf pro shop/clubhouse would soon be constructed on the premises to replace the existing pro shop. The outside patio below the restaurant will continue to be used for post-golf parties, he said. The new managers already have applied for a three-way liquor license to serve alcohol at the clubhouse, Waltz said.
Other physical changes to the course include leveling of some tee boxes and the creation of a four-way tee system by adding a senior tee box, Gauck said. There will also be a new fleet of gasoline-powered golf carts that he will bring in. He also wants to figure out a way to create a driving range at the facility, perhaps by using colored balls in the fairways.

River Chase Golf Course

Photo provided

Hole 5 at River Chase Golf Course.

The partners said they want to create a fun, yet affordable place to play golf in Madison.
Tee times will be enforced, Gauck said, to make playing the course equally accessible to members and non-members, alike. “We are here to make money, and to do that we need the public,” he said. “The more revenue we can generate, the more we can do for you as players.”
He promised to hold outings only on Saturdays and to keep Sunday play open.
“We came down here and saw a real opportunity with this course to try and repeat the success we’ve had at Greensburg,” Daeger said. “We’re here to listen to your ideas and try to incorporate them.”
The new managers want to start a new ladies’ league, hold a pro-member tournament and offer “Senior Day” on Mondays. “We have that up at Greensburg, and the people there just love it,” Gauck said.
Madison golfer Stacy Ginn said he was pleased with what he heard at the reception. “I love playing golf here, and I’m glad they were able to find someone so soon to take it over. It sounds like they know what they’re doing.”
The new managers used the reception to sign up members for the 2006 calendar year. Rates are $450 for a single membership; $550 per family (two adults and all children under 18); and $75 per junior (for those under age 18 if parents are not members). A collegiate rate also is being considered for $150. Those rates are for green fees only and do not include the cart fee, which is $5 per nine holes. A 20-punch per 9-hole golf cart card will be available for $90.
Weekday fees for non-members are: $8 per nine holes walking; $12 per 18 holes walking; $14 per nine holes riding; $24 per 18 holes riding. Weekend fees for non-members are: $11 per nine holes walking; $15 per 18 holes walking; $17 per nine holes riding; $27 per 18 holes riding.
The course will open in the spring as soon as weather permits, Gauck said.

• For more information, call pro Kurt Balser at North Branch Golf Course at (812) 663-6062.

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