Koronis Hills hold grand opening for second n

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 06/10/97.

The Koronis Hills Golf Club, located on the south edge of Paynesville on Highway 23, started out as a cow pasture in 1930 and today offers an 18-hole par-71 golf course to area residents and visitors.

On Saturday, June 14, a grand opening will be held at the course for the new nine holes. A shotgun start will be held at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. for donors to the new nine. A ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the first putting green area. John Janotta, board president, and Paul Bugbee, fund raiser, will speak and give a brief overview and history of the club and project.

The new nine will be open to the public for golfing on Sunday, June 15. Tee times start at 7 a.m.

Planning started for the first golf course in March 1930, when Samuel Chute came from St. Cloud with a helper and, along with William Diekman, surveyed the Paynesville Golf Course. Several people were engaged in laying out the course which, at the time, consisted of 70.45 acres. Sand greens were built and play was begun about May 1. Paynesville area merchants donated benches for the course. Green fees were 50 cents.

In spite of the Great Depression of the 1930s and subsequent war in the 1940s, the Koronis Hills Golf Club managed to survive. Financially, the club went into the hole for three years. In 1939, Anson Evans donated $200 to make up the deficit, which he did several times over the years.

Following the war, the Koronis Hills Golf Club followed through with their own revitalization programs. They started the youth involvement program, offering free golf for high school students with Dale Reihert as the golf instructor. Bob Stinton won the first Teenage Golf Tournament. In 1957, the high school added golf to its interscholastic schedule, joining its first golf conference in 1960. They won the district championship three consecutive years, 1962 to 1964.

Womenís golf flourished at Koronis Hills with the adoption of the USGA system of handicapping in 1961. The first ladies invitational was held in 1962. The first coupleís league was organized in 1968.

On May 4, 1961, the Koronis Hills Golf Club became a nonprofit corporation. It was also at that time they started dreaming of an 18-hole course.

In 1960, an additional 20 acres was purchased, John Janotta, club president, said. In 1969, 49.2 acres was purchased from William Diekman and in 1971, 19.73 acres was purchased from Leo Louis. All the land was paid off by the early 80s.

ďClub members started asking in the mid 80s if we were ever going to use the land for expansion,Ē he added. In 1989, Joel Goldstrand was hired to do some planning and to see if the club owned enough land to expand to 18 holes.

ďWe surveyed the membership in 1990 to see how they felt about the golf course plan and for suggestions on how to finance such a project,Ē Janotta said ďThe response from many was to do the project now since the course owned the land and with inflation, the cost wouldnít be going down.Ē
In 1994, an environmental assessment was required on the new project and took about a year to do. By the spring of 1995, construction was started on the new nine. The new fairways were seeded to grass in the spring of 1996 and the course is now ready for play. Ron Rebrovich, course manager, said it takes five years for the grass to look good on a new course.

The expansion project cost about $700,000. Several items were added to the original $500,000 estimate, such as a new machine shed and new golf carts. About half the cost is being covered by donations and pledges while the other half through loans.

ďWe want the course to be appealing to the public. People go to the golf course to relax,Ē Janotta said. ďWith the expansion, the course now covers about 140 acres which includes the buffer zone to the south.Ē

The fairways vary from the old course to the new. The fairways on the old nine were fairly open compared to the new nine which are heavily lined with trees. The challenging greens make the course good for all types of golfers, both novices and experts. The greens arenít large, but various elevations and rolls challenge even the quality putter. The course has a new signature hole #17. A par-three hole, a golfer can see Lake Koronis from the tee box which has a 100-foot elevation drop with ponds in front and to the right of the green.

The course boasts one of the toughest par-4 holes in the area. The 16th hole at Koronis Hills is a 333-yard par-4 dogleg, angled sharply to the left. Like any good dogleg, the golfer is faced with several decisions off the tee. Playing the hole honestly can cause problems if the golfer overdrives the landing area straight in front of the tee box and finds himself in a clump of trees. To the left, golfers must contend with woods and the out-of-bounds.

The 16th hole (formerly the fourth hole) at Koronis Hills has been challenging golfers since the course opened on May 1, 1930.

Another challenging hole is the 10th hole (formerly the ninth), which has become known as one of the toughest holes in the area. The 179-yard, par-3 10th entices the golfer from an elevated tee. Players must shoot their tee shot up a hill, avoiding clumps of oak trees that lie below the green and protect it on both the right and left. A large, deep bunker lies to the left of the green.

The other par-3 is the fourth hole. Players face the green from 133 yards. But the green is fronted by oak trees and is protected by bunkers on three sides and a large hill behind the green.

The eighth hole is a par-4 dogleg to the right and is heavily lined with trees on both sides.

The 12th hole is a par-5 and was designed longer (580 yards) and wider than many of the others. The 18th hole is also a par-5 and 510 yards from one end to the other. It will require three good shots before you reach the green and two putts before you can call it quits and head to the clubhouse.

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