After more than 20 years, this rural Kansas municipal golf course improvement plan is nearly complete

A now-20-year-old master plan to restore an aging golf course in Hutchinson, Kansas, is entering one of its final stages.

The 2003 Carey Park Golf Course master plan, which includes the entire area inside of Emerson Loop Road, will begin its next phase over the course of the remainder of this year into 2024.

“We have completed five phases so far and we began in 2009,” said Carey Park Golf Course Superintendent Matt Miller.

Public golf courses in Hutchinson were largely unorganized until 1928 when there was a push to start one in Carey Park. The Carey Park Municipal Golf Course was built in 1928. In 1933, park superintendent Ralph McCarroll joined the effort to upgrade the course with the help of Emerson Carey Jr. This clubhouse was situated on the South Loop.

In 1949, the old Carey Lakes Golf Course clubhouse was donated to the city by the Carey family and moved to the Carey Park Municipal Course. It was placed on the north loop when the course had to be reconfigured for the flood control levee. This old clubhouse was then used by numerous civic clubs until 1987 when Tom Heintzman supervised its razing. He then designed the gazebo setup currently in its place.

Construction began this fall with the removal of the park equipment located at 30 Emerson Loop which is southwest of the golf course.

Miller explained that this plan was voted on and approved by the City Council back in 2003, but it takes time to gather funds to continue the process. He expects it to be completed in eight phases.

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Phase six would replace the 60- to 70-year-old main irrigation lines in this area of the course. The sprinkler heads and lateral lines are over 40 years old as well.

While this improvement needs to be done, it is more cost-effective to go ahead with the expansion at this time.

The golf course will utilize the park restroom facility that is already on site and will give golfers a restroom every three to four holes along the course and future use of water coolers.

This area of the park is more prone to vandalism over the years since it is more secluded than the others.

“As another safety concern, we have had small children wander onto the course over the years. This will help create the separation needed to keep children safe, help curb vandalism and allow golfers to drive up to the restrooms at the same time,” Miller said.

The course will still have 18 holes; however, lengthening or shortening may take place depending on which concept is agreed upon. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy its expansion and the offering of new challenges.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek