Mission Valley Golf Club reopened for play after a six-month renovation and the club’s oldest member, 93-year-old Dottie Kuhlman, had the pleasure of teeing up the first ball.

Board President Ron Drewery and Fred Binder, chair of the Golf Renovation Committee, welcomed members and guests to the first tee and cut the ceremonial ribbon surrounded by committee members.

Kuhlman, a 47-year member, teed off, followed by Charlie Johnson, a member for 46 years.

“When Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, he said a small step for man, a giant step for mankind,” she said. “I feel Mission Valley is the most beautiful club in southern Florida and today it is a giant step for man and a wonderful step for mankind.”

She started playing golf when she was 6 and said she would be back on the course Tuesday to play as usual.

Binder said they started planning course renovations last year, in January, and spent $1.8 million.

General contractor Fazio Golf Course Designers made a beautiful finished product members are going to absolutely love to play, he said.

Opened in 1969, when the population of Venice was 6,000, this year the club moved into the next 50 years stronger than ever.

Renovations included a total re-grassing of the course. Greens were enlarged and new tees were added, offering golfers at all levels an opportunity to play.

Bunkers were repositioned and upgraded, natural landscape areas added and lakes were expanded.

“Everyone knows Mission Valley’s golf course is a great walker- friendly layout and the location is ideal,” said Doug Slusser, general manager. “This renovation is timely with the explosive population and housing growth in Venice and southern Sarasota County, and the Club continues upgrading to attract new members.”

Mission Valley is a private member-only country club and is not attached to a residential development.

While golf is the focal point, tennis plays an important role in expanding participation, together with a social calendar loaded with themed dining events.

To tour the facilities and for an opportunity to accompany a member playing the course, call 941-488-9683.

The club is at 1851 Mission Valley Boulevard, off Laurel Road in Nokomis.

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