A new downsized nine-hole short course in the tradition of the Ashford Short Course, which opened last year at The Greenbrier resort, and Pinehurst’s Cradle Short Course, in North Carolina, could be coming to Coonskin Park.
The concept of developing a new course featuring challenging greens, with pins located just 80 to 140 yards or so from tees, was discussed at a meeting of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission on Wednesday.
The commission’s Golf Committee Chairman, Dave Pope, said he had recently toured the Coonskin Course with Kelly Shumate, director of golf course maintenance at The Greenbrier, and informally discussed the possibility of developing a short course at Coonskin’s front nine area.
Pope said the Coonskin Foundation, on which he serves, may be able to provide the funding needed to come up with drawings of what such a course would look like, along with an estimate of how much it would cost, and have them ready to review by February.
“It’s the short amount of time that it takes to play a round on these courses that appeals to people,” said Jeff Hutchinson, director of the commission. “And the fun begins when you get to the greens. You can replicate some of the most famous greens in the world.”
“You can design features than no one here has ever seen or played on,” added Pope.
Hutchinson said such a short course can be played in 45 minutes to an hour, with golfers needing to carry only three clubs. “It’s a great alternative for people who don’t have time to spend hours playing 18 holes,” he said. “You can play a game during a lunch break or after work.”
If the parks commission moves forward with a study and cost estimate for a short course and secures the funding needed for construction, it would be possible for work to start next August, with the course opening the following summer.
“The Coonskin course is kind of flat and ho-hum, and losing about $125,000 a year,” Hutchinson said. “It would be good to offer people something new and different to try.”
In other developments Wednesday, the commission voted to allow ATM machines to be installed inside the Coonskin Park and Big Bend Golf Course clubhouses. The commission will collect 75 cents of each $3 user processing fee.