Better than par for the course

Saturday, April 9, 2005

You know the old saying about No. 2 trying harder.

Well, the staff and membership of Dalhousie Golf Club promises to get around to that. But give them a little time to bask in being ranked the second-best golf course in the state of Missouri.

The ranking will be published in the May edition of Golf Digest magazine, one of the most well-known publications dedicated to covering the game. The club this week received an advance copy of the magazine, which will hit newsstands soon.

The same publication last year listed Dalhousie at No. 8 on its list of new private courses for 2003. This marks the first time the course, located on the southwest edge of Cape Girardeau, has been on the biennial state rankings.

Jack Connell, director of golf, added: "When more people see this, it will only enhance the value of the golf club. By being in a national publication, more people will view Cape Girardeau as having something special, and hopefully they will desire to come here."

Dalhousie stood behind only the Tavern Creek course at the Country Club of St. Albans, another new course in St. Albans, Mo., west of St. Louis.

More impressively, Dalhousie came out in front of established clubs such as Bellerive, which was in the nation's top 100 places to play in the 2003 rankings; Old Warson Country Club; Boone Valley, the former home to a Champions tour event; and St. Louis Country Club.

The rankings are based on eight criteria and a survey of 800 low-handicap course raters. It is unknown how many raters played Dalhousie.

Connell said the credit belongs to club founders, who paid attention to every detail from drainage to grass types to bringing in sand by barge from Ohio; to the Nicklaus Design group that brought the course to life; and to course superintendent Rusty Fuller and his staff. The recognition in particular is a reward and an incentive for Fuller, who worked at Boone Valley and Bellerive before coming to Dalhousie.

"This only fires them up to improve the condition of the course in an effort to be No. 1," Connell said.

Added managing member Cord Dombrowski: "There's no doubt in our minds that the guy we got is in the top 1 percent of the people who were available in the country.

"We're just a baby in diapers compared to others on the list," Dombrowski added. "Where do we go from here? We'd like to look at breaking into the top 100."

Connell said minor drainage work may improve the on-course experience, but Dalhousie and O.B. Sports also are working on several other projects: the Members Manor clubhouse, the pro shop, corporate cottages and a real estate development.

"This is a special time for Dalhousie," Connell said. "This course is going to become nothing but better."

tcarrig@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 174

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