Category Archives: Golf

Woody Austin buys out partners Rod and Rick Nuckolls at Willowbend Golf Club

WICHITA — Willowbend Golf Club partner Woody Austin is now the sole owner of the club.

The PGA Tour golfer became a partner with owners and PGA of America members Rod and Rick Nuckolls in early 2010.

At the time, Austin said: “It’s a big, long-term deal for me. It’s nothing on a short-term basis.”

He says he’s been thinking of buying the east-side club outright since then.

“It’s just a natural progression that we were thinking about when I first bought in,” he says.

The Nuckolls brothers have been partners in Willowbend since 2000 and bought out partners Mike and Mark Marney in 2003.

They came close to selling the club to Bert and Eloise Henderson, who approached them as they were preparing to sell their Echo Hills Golf Club in Park City in 2009. The Willowbend deal fell through, though. Shortly after, Austin became a partner.

Austin says he’s been working on getting things in place to take over the club, which he says included establishing Jim Elliott as general manager when he arrived.

Rick Nuckolls will retire, but Rod Nuckolls will remain as director of golf. Austin says the position will switch from a salaried one to hourly pay “so he can get off and get out whenever he wants” to golf.

“Now Rod will have a lot more time on his hands to play golf,” Austin says.

Read More »

Terradyne Country Club and residential partners in lawsuit over financial dispute

UPDATED — The partners in Terradyne Country Club and Terradyne Residential are in a financial dispute that has led to a lawsuit against one another.

CS Ventures, which is Craig and Christy Smith, and Terradyne Residential have filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court against partners Jerry Slack, Earle Evans and Wichita-based BGS Cos.

“It’s just that some of the partners … have not paid their part of the cash calls,” Craig Smith says. “We’ve been patiently waiting and waiting.”

Evans says he and Slack have paid.

“We feel like we’re not getting full credit on it for what we did,” he says.

Evans says the first he heard of the suit is when a reporter told him about it.

“I’m amazed because I talked to Craig Smith … yesterday. He never said anything,” Evans says.

“That can’t be true because he’s signed receipt of it,” Smith says.

Regardless, Evans says he’s not pleased.

“There probably will be some repercussions on that.”

Meaning a possible countersuit?

“Could be. I don’t know.”

A 10-person partnership formed in 2006 to buy Terradyne out of bankruptcy, and Smith and his lawyer, Harvey Sorensen, say initially it did well.

“They had a positive cash flow excluding capital expenditures,” Sorensen says.

“They invested a lot of money in redeveloping the course and redeveloping the clubhouse and getting the residential development ready to go, and then the world collapsed.”

He says, “There are several people who wanted to ride the elevator up but wanted to get off when it started to go down.”

During the difficult times, Sorensen says the club and residential development’s losses were funded through only about half of the owners.

“We have started a campaign to remind the noncontributing members of their obligations. We expect to be in contact with several prominent members of the community who have not paid their fair share.”

Read More »

Two golf professionals to open GolfTEC on North Rock Road

WICHITA — Don Farquhar isn’t quitting his day job as director of operations for Rolling Hills Country Club, but he and Rich Maril are starting a new business to help golfers improve their games.

“We’ve both been teaching a long time,” Farquhar says.

What pros can offer is great, he says, but then he and Maril ran across the GolfTEC franchise and thought that could further help.

The business uses high-speed video cameras and motion-analysis software.

Farquhar calls it a “fact-based analysis of a person’s swing.”

“We just thought this was a good market for something like that,” he says. “We have so many golfers who really want to get better.”

The business will be in about 2,000 square feet at 3101 N. Rock Road behind Hooters.

GolfTEC pricing will depend on what packages customers purchase.

The Denver-based franchise has 140 stores nationally.

Maril will be the one running day-to-day operations here while Farquhar concentrates on Rolling Hills.

Look for GolfTEC to have a soft opening in mid-February and a grand opening in early March.


Willowbend Golf Club and Genesis Health Clubs form partnership to share services

WICHITA — Willowbend Golf Club and Genesis Health Clubs have a new partnership to share services among their members.

“They were looking to add golf to their repertoire,” says Jim Elliott, Willowbend’s general manager. “So we sat down and started brainstorming. It wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to put together, but we pounded through it.”

Willowbend members will now be able to pay their same monthly membership dues and use any Genesis club for no extra charge.

Memberships at Willowbend cost $241 a month or, for members under 40, $174 a month.

Genesis members now have the option to join Willowbend at a reduced rate. They can subtract what they’re paying to Genesis from the monthly dues at Willowbend.

“For years (we’ve) been wanting to give our members the option to have golf as part of their memberships,” says Joe Oxler, manager for the Rock Road Genesis.

Willowbend co-owner Rod Nuckolls says it’s a unique arrangement in Wichita, though it’s becoming popular elsewhere.

“There’s kind of a trend around the country where the health clubs are becoming kind of golf-connected as well,” he says.

Nuckolls is pleased that Willowbend members now will have access to tennis courts, pools and workout facilities at no extra charge.

Oxler says it makes sense for Willowbend and Genesis.

“It’s going to attract new members for both businesses,” he says. “It was just a perfect marriage.”

Golf Essentials’ new SandCaddy gets accolade at PGA Merchandise Show

WICHITA — Advertising executive and avid golfer Gary Nye has always been the kind of golfer to walk when he plays and fill in whatever divots he makes along the way.

That’s the inspiration behind Golf Essentials, a new company Nye formed with his brother, Tim, and Mike Allen.

“We were just kind of brainstorming after a round of golf,” Gary Nye says.

They’ve created a product called SandCaddy, which Nye calls an “incredibly simple and incredibly fast” way to fill divots that golfers sometimes create when they swing their clubs.

The SandCaddy works like a squeeze coin purse and “opens like a mouth almost,” Nye says.

It holds enough sand for six to eight divots and can be refilled at designated sand stations or at bunkers.

“The sand is designed to keep the roots, which are still there, moist so it will grow back,” Nye says. “Typically in a round, I’ll refill mine once or twice.”

He and his partners “have been working furiously to get this product designed,” and it has paid off.

At the recent PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Nye says the SandCaddy was named the best new product.

“It was phenomenal,” Nye says. “The reaction was, ‘This is awesome,’ and ‘It’s so simple. Why didn’t anyone think of it before?’ ”

Read More »

You don’t say

“How many people have attended a golf tournament where an airplane has landed on the fairway?”

Wichita Aero Club executive director Dave Franson, speaking at the club’s golf tournament Sunday at Crestview where Cessna Aircraft pilot Kirby Ortega landed Rose Pelton’s Skycatcher on the 18th fairway

PGA golfer Woody Austin is a new partner at Willowbend Golf Club

WICHITA — Willowbend Golf Club owners Rod and Rick Nuckolls have a new partner: PGA Tour golfer Woody Austin.

“I will not be a silent investor who will not show up,” Austin says. “Part of the allure for me is I love to tinker. . . . I will be out on the golf course trying to fix a bunker or fix a green.

“It’s a big, long-term deal for me. It’s nothing on a short-term basis.”

The Nuckolls brothers say they couldn’t have a better partner than Austin.

“Everyone knows that Woody Austin is truly one of the best players in the world,” Rick Nuckolls says.

He says Austin’s presence will have an impact with members and the club.

“The capital influx will definitely help us run the operation,” Rod Nuckolls says. “There’s been a lot of things we wanted to do.”

Read More »

Sale of Echo Hills Golf Club could close soon

WICHITA — It looks like something is close to happening with Echo Hills Golf Club in Park City and, subsequently, Willowbend Golf Club.

Bert and Eloise Henderson, the owners of Echo Hills, are planning to buy Willowbend if the sale of their club goes through.

The Hendersons aren’t commenting yet, but Rod Nuckolls, who owns Willowbend with his brother, Rick, is.

Nuckolls says Bert Henderson “has an option on his land that expires at the end of September.”

“He anticipates his land being sold, and if it does close, we would close next spring,” Nuckolls says.

Mike Loveland, a broker at J.P. Weigand & Sons and the developer of Parkstone at College Hill, wants to use the Echo Hills land for a new commercial project in Park City.

Rod Nuckolls says the Hendersons plan to keep Willowbend operations as they are if they purchase the club.

“Very much so,” he says. “As a matter of fact, we’re excited for the Willowbend members because he won’t have the debt load that we did.”

If the sales go through, the Nuckolls brothers (both of whom play PGA Champions Tour events) have new plans of their own.

“I’m going to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Rick Nuckolls says. “You know what that is? Play golf.”