Monument Hill Country Club golf course makes a comeback

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The Monument Hill Country Club golf course is not very pretty to look at it these days. But at least it’s open for business.

The 6,715-yard course reopened on June 1 to the delight of many after being shut down for more than six months.

“Even though the grass is brown, it’s moist now,” said club member J.R. Gatlin, who played a round with friends on July 3. “Even in the brown areas there’s plenty of grass. My guess is that it will look pretty good in the next few weeks.”

The golf course, built in 1969, was closed by previous owners, Tri-lakes Golf LLC, due to pricey water bills and expensive maintenance of the course. In April, Colorado Community Bank, the property’s lien holder, took back the property as part of a bankruptcy agreement.

The bank assigned Touchstone Golf as the receiver for the property.

“When we came in we saw an opportunity to reopen the golf course,” said Steve Harker, president and CEO of Touchstone. “Woodmoor Water made an adjustment to their rates, which made it economically viable for us to make the improvement that needed to be made.”

Harker is based in the San Francisco Bay area, but has made several trips to MHCC in recent months to oversee the operations.

He has a local crew of about 20 people who operate the pro shop, as well as manage and maintain the course.

“At some point in time the court will offer the golf course for sale,” Harker said. “We will continue to work for the lender as long as our services are required.”

The first thing Harker and his group did was fix a leak in the pond, which was the primary source of water for the course. That meant draining the pond and improving the irrigation system. Harker said the project cost about $150,000.

“Through all of this, Colorado Community Bank has been incredibly supportive,” Harker said.

Meanwhile, Woodmoor Water and MHCC worked out a deal on rates, reducing the rate from $500,000 annually to about half that, according to Harker.

“I think the club can survive with the improved water rates,” Harker said. “The fitness, aquatic and tennis facilities represent a considerable advantage.”

The club has more than 900 non-golf members. Touchstone is allowing non-members to use the golf course during the early stages of the renovation.

“The club membership has been open to some outside play,” Harker said.

Gatlin brought half a dozen non-members with him the day he played.

Public rates during the week at $48, which includes cart rental. The price is $56 on the weekend.

Course employees have been working around the clock reseeding and aerating trying to get the course in top shape. They drop 200,000 gallons of water on the course each night.

“For about three weeks after we reopened it was a pretty dire situation,” said Aaron Suma, who works in the pro shop.

“But the course is getting greener all the time. I suspect by the end of this month it will be back to normal and it will be business as usual.”

When the course closed earlier this year, golf course membership was transferred to nearby Kings Deer Golf Club. Gatlin chose to come back to MHCC.

“The topography is unique here,” he said. “The holes are considerably different, and it’s far less windy than Kings Deer.”