(Superintendent) Lynn Childress and his small crew are doing great things for LP.Lost Plantation golfer Mark Harrison
RINCON — City of Rincon officials have carded multiple bogeys while trying to make Lost Plantation Golf Club a profitable operation.
Their latest attempt to hit the green looks promising, however. New golf professional Jimmy Powell and Superintendent Lynn Childress shared their vision for the facility during a Nov. 16 Rincon City Council workshop.
“They’ve done a lot of work,” City Manager John Klimm said. “The level of expertise with these two gentlemen is very high — probably as good as we have ever seen it.”
Childress spoke as a series of photos of before-and-after photos flashed on a large television screen.
“This is a visual journey from where we’ve been since June 28 of last year,” Childress said. “That’s when I came on board. Jimmy has been with us for about a month and it has been great to work with him.
“I think we are off to a good start.”
The pictures showed dramatic improvements to the clubhouse and course. All revealed a level of caring that had been missing.
“That’s Christmas decorations in June,” he said while pointing to a clubhouse photo taken on his first day.
Other “before” clubhouse pictures showed disorganized, cluttered storage areas and a “1980s pro shop.”
“That’s sort of the way it was left on a daily basis,” Childress said.
Later, the fruits of Childress’ Childress’ early labor revealed neat storage areas, a modern-looking pro shop, a redesigned restaurant and a relined cart barn. He and his crew used materials already on hand for many of the enhancements, including paint.
Childress also used discarded furniture items from The Westin.
“It just looks more cared for now,” he said. “That’s important.”
The first picture of the course to show as a flooded sand trap. It included a drain pipe sticking about three feet above the ground, causing it to resemble a periscope.
“That’s what the bunkers looked like after most rains, — just water everywhere that wouldn’t go down,” Childress said.
Childress went on to show pictures of lush fairways that used to be pocked by vast barren areas created by mole crickets and army worms.
“Now they are belly up,” Childress said. “We got rid of them. That made a big difference.”
The changes haven’t gone unnoticed by Mark Harrison, an avid golfer and longtime member of the Lost Plantation community.
“The greens are in great shape going into the no-growth season — plenty of grass,” Harrison said. “The players have seen great improvements to the course. Play has increased and membership is on the rise.
“Lynn Childress and his small crew are doing great things for LP.”
Harrison said a new golf association has been formed and it has conducted nine tournaments.
“That gives it a country club feel at a great price,” Harrison said. “It’s a player’s place. It’s a hard track due to the tight, small fairways with flat greens.
“Because of that, you can find a blitz group made up of real golfers who enjoy the game.”
Harrison said Lost Plantation’s membership has a wide variety of ages and skill levels.
“And all are great to play with,” he said. “For the price of a membership to LP, you can’t beat it.”
Childress showed photos of a prospective sign designed to drive customers to the course. It will be erected on Fort Howard Road near the entrance to the Lost Plantation neighborhood.
“We’re just kind of waiting until we decide where we go with the bistro before we do that,” Childress said.
The Fairway Bistro, the restaurant inside the clubhouse, has lurched backward and forward because of frequent staffing issues. It is currently not operational.
At the end of the photo presentation, Childress thanked the council for supporting his efforts. He acknowledged the concerns that some have about the city owning a golf course that has been a drain on the budget.
“Obviously, we are getting better,” he said, “and this is just one year.”
Childress thinks a turnaround is already in the works.
“There are people moving to our neighborhood, finally, for the golf course,” he said. “I’m excited about that.”
Childress and Powell are examining other ways to lure more people, including non-golfers, to the course.
“It’s a huge property out there,” he said. “There are beautiful wetlands and things out there that can be explored and done if we present it in a right way and make it safe for everyone. It’s a huge asset for the community and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 18 years and I’ve just seen it go through these changes. I always wanted to be a part of it. When someone else is being paid to do it, they will only accept so much advice and then they will shut down. I would never push it on them but I would always wanted to get better. Thank y’all for giving me the opportunity to help make it better.”
Childress and Powell will soon start promoting Lost Plantation in other markets.
“There are people from outside the area that don’t even know there is a golf course in Rincon,” Childress said. “Jimmy is going to change that. ... We are going to take it to that next level with your support.”