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Quad-Cities golf courses above par

Dispatch/Argus Photo By Chuck Thomas

Golfers in the Quad-Cities have a great thing going, with the wide variety of courses available to them. This is a view looking up the par-3 fairway in the new Red Dog Run Golf Course in rural East Moline.

Golfers can give no fewer than 20 reasons alone why the Quad-Cities is great. Glynns Creek, Hawthorn Ridge, Byron Hills, Emeis and Highland Springs, to name a few.

Golfers in the Quad-Cities have a great thing going -- and don't think they don't know it.

``We have such a good mixture of public and private courses, both municipally and privately owned, and that leads to good competition amongst the golf courses,'' says Jim Hasley, head professional at Davenport's Emeis and Duck Creek facilities.

``The quality of the golf courses improves because of that competition. If you don't have the competition, there's no reason to do anything but gouge the public on the prices and not offer a very good product.''

Golfers in these parts are spoiled by both of the factors Mr. Hasley mentioned. Sometimes, though, a $15 round of golf -- maybe less than what Nassau or a skins game may cost you -- is taken for granted.

Glynns Creek, tended to by John Valliere and John Netwal, is growing into one of Iowa's best courses. Bruce Sutton and his clan have turned Byron Hills in Port Byron into one of the top tracks in the area. Hasley's Emeis course is a test that can bring aspiring professionals to their knees when it hosts the annual Quad City Classic qualifier each summer. Doug Wells and his grounds staff have turned Rock Island County's Indian Bluff layout into one of the best-manicured in the area.

``Golfers here win because of the variety and the cost is relatively low,'' said Mr. Hasley, the godfather of Q-C golf as he enters his 28th season in the business. ``I talk to people who come from other parts of the country and they marvel at the courses we have here and the costs.''

And the Q-C golf scene is about to get even better with the building of the Tournament Players Club course -- TPC at Deere Run -- in Rock Island County at the Friendship Farm property.

``The TPC course will offer a higher level of golf and give people an even wider range of selection,'' said Mr. Hasley, who agreed that the new TPC design could spin off even more local course traffic from those traveling to the Quad-Cities for a golf getaway of more than one round.

Plus, an additional course that is the cornerstone of a development project in the blossoming 53rd Street area in Davenport is under consideration.

Is there room for more courses in the area? Most seem to think so. Numbers of rounds played were up last season, according to Mr. Hasley.

``There were a couple of factors for that,'' he said. ``There was the Tiger (Woods) boom that affected everybody a little bit, and we had better weather. We probably could have had more rounds, but we didn't have the room to take care of everybody; there were certain times when everybody wanted to play and we couldn't get them on.''

Even without the championship TPC design adding to an incredible golf landscape, the Quad-Cities is blessed with such a variety and abundance of courses that west of the Carolinas, this is some of the best golf there is.

No matter what your expertise level, there's a course to fit your game. From beginners who can benefit from any of the nine nine-hole courses in the bi-state area; to executive-type 18-hole courses; to those who seek the demands of championship-level layouts, the Quad-Cities can accommodate.

``People come to expect more from courses than they did before,'' said Mr. Hasley of the changing demands placed on courses by patrons. ``Before, golfers just took what they had and played it. Now, people get around on vacation and play the resort and upscale courses and expect a better product.''

Which, in turn, they have been given once they get back home.

Now, if the weather would just allow for a quick 18.

-- By Tom Johnston (February 9, 1998)

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