Operators to slice seven holes
Most people living in the residential area surrounding the Forest Meadows Golf Course have heard a variety of rumors floating around about the course, from hole removal to new housing development, even closure of the course.
“There are more rumors around here than DSW has shoes,” said former county supervisor Merita Callaway, who has lived in Forest Meadows for the past 27 years. “The reason many people move to the subdivision is because of the golf course, so it would be sad if it disappeared. It would change what Forest Meadows was.”
Forest Meadows Golf Course has been operating as an 18-hole course since its inception, but it closed Jan. 5 for course renovations. The plan is to take out seven of the nine holes on the back nine in an effort to revitalize Forest Meadows as a nine-hole course, according to Jeff Christensen, general manager of Sierra Golf Management, which manages the course,.
“We’re keeping all of the front nine holes, along with holes 10 and 18. We’re going to incorporate that into our new nine-hole routing, so it’s going to be a different layout,” Christensen said. “It’s going to be a new look. We’re putting in new bunkers and tees, and a new name and new marketing program just to wipe the slate clean.”
Christensen said a main trouble that caused the change was keeping all 18 holes green year round, along with a general lack of business as a full course.
“Golf has changed so much in the past 15 years. Forest Meadows has to change with the times. It just won’t survive as an 18-hole golf course,” he said.
Part of the recent rumor mill involved the space being taken out of the golf course potentially being sold off for housing development, as many of the back nine holes have a scenic overlook of the Stanislaus River Canyon, which would make for prime real estate. But that isn’t in the cards at this point, according to Christensen.
“We have no plans of selling the property right now,” he said. “Our goal right now is to solidify the golf course and make it a better facility that doesn’t lose us money like it has in the past few years. We’re limited with what we can do up there, so housing isn’t on our radar.”
Eric Davis, board president of Forest Meadows Owner’s Association, realizes the golf course is a main attraction for people that move to the houses there, but he’s in full support of downsizing the course in order to improve it. He’s currently attempting to get Sierra Golf Management representatives over to Forest Meadows to have an open house session to cease some of the rumors going around.
“I’d much rather have a beautiful new nine-hole course with new carts and everything, than an old 18-hole course – a dead course,” Davis said. ““This is win-win for Forest Meadows and can only help our property.”
Forest Meadows plans to reopen the course in late March, when all improvements should be done, including a new name for the course itself that Sierra Golf Management isn’t yet ready to release.
“We’re not going to rush it; we just want to do it right” Christensen said. “We know this is a critical change and needs to be done correctly.”