Nearly 160 rounds of golf were played over the weekend at Arcadia Municipal. It’s remarkable because only a year ago maybe half the number would have been acceptable. Turnaround at the city munnie dating to the 1930s is credited to Jeff Gibson, a professional golfer and the director of operations hired last summer to put the 18-hole tract back on the list of must-play courses. The number of rounds played each month, in fact, continues to climb, revenue that is poured back into equipment, design and the pro shop.

So far, Gibson has targeted conditions of the greens, fairways and tee boxes, reopened the practice range, added night lighting and ball screening destroyed by hurricanes. Lessons, clinics, and other changes that include a viable pro shop, club sales, sportswear and modern lawn equipment/technology are part of the strategy to bring new golfers and return those that had wandered away, said Ann Applegate, pro-shop manager and a longtime city worker at the course. And Gibson’s professional instincts have included arranging tee distances, tightening and shaping fairways and ironing the greens for more enjoyable play, she added.

“We’re hearing so much about the course being in great shape,” she said. “They really have been able to see the difference. And it’s all since Jeff took over.”

And the clubhouse at Arcadia Municipal has added line dancing, kid activties and other fun events to bring families out. Gibson is also working to build youth golf/players and to consider youth/adult tournaments, as well as keeping regulars from the seasonal parks in DeSoto and surrounding counties, more of a destination course, which includes marketing to pilots using the city airport. Per round rates have been bumped to include carts, however, but most of the daily players understand a quality product is worth the slight increase, said Curt Futty, a league player. “Conditions are definitely better,” he said.

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