Targhee Village Golf Course will be playing much smoother this summer after investments from a new ownership group.
The ownership group, which chose to remain private but operates under the Wyoming LLC Lennoxwood, took over last June and up until this spring had a largely hands-off approach while figuring out what they wanted to improve at the course.
After some time it was determined that they wanted to focus on repairing the course while remaining loyal to the everyday golfers that frequent Targhee Village.
General Manager and Course Pro Phil Goodson, who started his tenure on May 1, spoke to the group’s motivations and direction for the future of the course.
“It’s a private group out of Seattle that spends time here as well. The family has for a long time loved this valley, they enjoy skiing at Targhee, they’re big golfers and own property very near to the course. Over the years, just by being customers and golfers here, they have taken to loving it and when it went up for sale, they made an offer and purchased it with an interest in maintaining the glory and the legacy that has been built by past owners,” said Goodson.
“It’s definitely not a salvation mission as it is more of a continuation of a legacy,” said Goodson.
Targhee Village opened in 1986. “Spudgusta,” as it is affectionately known to regulars (named after the famed Augusta, GA country club), serves as a more cost-effective option for Teton Valley golfers.
Targhee Village was the first golf course to be built in Teton Valley, and the only nine-hole course as well. It flourished under the ownership of sisters Mona Hipkins and Markida Henley, who inherited the course from their father Mark Hipkins in 1997. The sisters eventually made the call to sell it in 2017.
The course had fallen into a state of disrepair over the last few years, which was a sad sight to see considering the course’s scenic location.
“The last couple seasons it was real apparent. Our customers, our golfers, and our regulars who have been playing for years have definitely noticed that there had been a neglect,” said Goodson.
Goodson attested to improved surfaces, particularly on the greens. The grass was rehabilitated through a process called aeration, where a machine pokes holes to introduce air into the soil under the grass.
“We are concentrating heavily on course improvements and overall conditions,” said Goodson. “On the course, we have done a lot. We aerated the greens for the first time in six years, and purchased a tractor for aerating and other projects, I also purchased a spray rig so we can spray our herbicides and fungicides, and treatment for our greens so we can get them healthy again. That’s our main focus.”
Ownership and Goodson knew that by keeping the improvements simple, it would lead to excitement from golfers. That was also helped by a wet spring.
“The focus on the conditions, if we made that our priority, it was going to be well received. It starts with the golf course,” said Goodson. “People are excited. A couple locals, guys that play it five times a week, just mentioned that the greens are coming around and it’s looking good. The rain this spring helps too.”
Goodson had to mention the fantastic work of the grounds crew, led by Superintendent Chris Inglis.
“The nice thing is we have Chris, Deb Mackenzie, Dan Romano, and Tom Hoover on the maintenance side. Chris and Deb have been here 20-plus years so they know the place in and out. They’re excited for the chance to improve it,” said Goodson.
After the course bounced around the market for the last “five or six” years, this iteration of ownership is looking to stick around for at least a good while. Goodson shared how the group is viewing the long game, considering the course as a part of their home in Teton Valley.
“They have an invested interest in the valley and it definitely branches away from the golf course as well. I think this is just as much a home to them as to where they live in their normal residency,” said Goodson.
That has enabled a response in kind from staff, who is happy to see ownership securing the course’s short and long-term futures.
“When you have a boss that gives a vision and everyone is on the same team and you have an end goal for the condition of the course, it makes you excited to come to work and be excited for the future. We’re not going to change things, we’re going to keep it going, and the momentum and the trajectory is cool,” said Goodson.