September 17, 2015 – Minneopa Golf Course’s first season under new owners will culminate Saturday with the grand opening of its new clubhouse.
In June 2014, the clubhouse burned down. Its replacement can seat 80 to 100 people inside, in view of 10 flat-screen televisions. A deck wraps around two sides of the building, has views of most of the course and overlooks the No. 2 and No. 9 greens.
“The clubhouse was our main focus,” said Brandon Smith, who manages the club. “It’s complete and that was our No. 1 goal.”
In April, Kyle and Tracey Bohks, third-generation family owners, sold the course to Mark and Vivian Smith, their son Brandon, Josh Kelley and members of the Tailwind Group, who together make up Opafore LLC.
Kyle Bohks has stayed on as grounds superintendent.
In the new clubhouse, the owners have paid homage to the club’s – and Bohks’ family – history.
The light gray walls have pieces of that history, including a picture of Kyle’s father, Kenneth, hitting a ball at the edge of a pond.
“He ended up beating Sam Snead that day,” Kyle Bohks said.
Kenneth Bohks passed down the club to Kyle Bohks in 1997. Kenneth Bohks died a year ago.
The pro shop has a piece even older, the original cash register, which sits on a display cabinet that has been in the pro shop for years.
“My mom stood behind the till just like this,” said Kyle Bohks, who hadn’t seen the register back in place until Thursday afternoon. “That’s special. That’s neat.”
He called the new clubhouse beautiful.
“This is emotional for me,” he said. “They have honored my family.”
Opafore brought on PGA Professional Gary Winters, who offers coaching, lessons, club fittings and alterations. He uses a radar system called Flightscope to analyze swings and club fittings.
Winters said Minneopa offers a secluded setting close to Mankato, which allows passionate golfers to play more frequently.
“It’s a smaller place, close in so you can get in, play and get out quickly,” he said. “You don’t even realize how close to downtown Mankato you are.”
Winters has been a PGA pro for 18 years and previously owned his own course in northeastern Kansas. He said Minneopa is a great place to be as each key player has his own area of focus.
“Everyone has his own field,” he said. “Kyle does a lot
with what he has and only very high-end courses with much larger budgets outmatch this.”
Mark Smith, who is also president and CEO of North Star Aviation, said the owners worked with Kyle Bohks on improving the course on top of rebuilding the clubhouse.
“We had given our grounds superintendent the green light to fertilize and irrigate as necessary and it really was an ideal summer for a golf course,” he said. “The grass stayed green and didn’t really go dormant the entire summer.”
Along the course, new paths were added, trees trimmed and brush cleared as well.
“The best testimony is what our clients are saying,” Smith said. “We have been inundated with compliments on the improvements of the course.”
More people have golfed the 42-acre nine-hole course than in recent years, too.
And the group won’t be resting on its laurels. The owners are plotting to improve the No. 7 hole next summer to make it a “signature hole,” Smith said.
Brandon Smith said it may include a water feature.
“We will make alterations to the course itself,” he said. “We have every intention for this to stay a golf course and make things better year by year.”
For the grand opening Saturday, rounds of golf will be $6 all day. Winters’ advice and use of the Flightscope will be available to anyone, and the club will have prizes and contests throughout the day. The course, at 410 Pintail St., is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.