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Orchards Golf Course in West Lawrence sold, renamed CobbleStone Golf Course


With weather like this, it soon will be time to hit the golf course. (For my golfing buddy, that also means it will be time to hit course-side houses, vehicles passing by the course, and innocent bystanders in the next fairway over.)

Now, you have a new option to do all of that — sort of. The Orchards Golf Course — in between Kasold and Iowa on Bob Billings Parkway — has been sold and changed its name. It is now operating as CobbleStone Golf Course. (That sounds appropriate for my buddy. He is constantly trying to cobble together a swing, and the people who have the misfortune of playing behind us often want to stone him.)

Richard McGhee, a Topeka resident and retired executive from Blue Cross Blue Shield, finalized his purchase of the course from longtime owner Ed White last week.

McGhee — who owns the course with his wife, Chris — said his plans simply are to keep the course in as nice a shape as possible and market the facility to people who are looking for a quicker round of golf.

The course is a short, nine-hole facility that was built to serve as an “executive golf course.” Depending on your skill, the course is designed to be played in less than two hours.

“We are interested in catering to people who like a shorter course,” McGhee said. “That might be youth or high school players or senior citizens or anybody in the middle. I’ve had some people tell me they go in a half-hour early to work, stay a half-hour late, take an extra 45 minutes for lunch and they can justify playing a round of golf out here over their lunch break.” (My buddy tried combining eating and golfing once. A golf ball ended up in a living room, and, well, I won’t even tell you where the hot dog ended up.)

Rates at the new course are $16 for weekend play, walking. On weekdays, the rate drops to $11, and McGhee is offering a $10 weekday rate for high school students and seniors.

Terms of the Orchards sale weren't disclosed, but the property previously had an asking price of $385,000.

McGhee, who is new to the business of owning a golf course, said he bought the property to operate as a golf course. That’s a good thing because there is a covenant on the course’s property that calls for it to forever be a golf course or else become open space.

Neighbors around the course several years ago banded together to pay former owner White development rights for the course. At the time, White had put the property on the market and was considering offers from developers who wanted to convert the course into a residential development.

The golf business may get interesting in Lawrence again. Business has picked up at the city’s Eagle Bend Golf Course. The course below the Clinton Lake Dam turned an operating profit in 2012 of $27,000 — which means its revenue was that much above its expenses, not including its debt payment.

But I think everybody in the local golf industry will be watching with interest what happens in northwest Lawrence. As we previously have reported, the Arkansas-based company that has proposed The Links project seems serious about actually building it this year. The property would be just east of the proposed Rock Chalk Park sports village at Sixth and the SLT. The project would include a nine-hole golf course surrounded by 630 apartments.

Tenants of the apartment will have green fees included in their rent. What will be interesting to see is if The Links also allows public play on the course. The company has allowed that at some of their other properties around the country. Either way, it seems like the new course will take some rounds away from some area courses.

The project has its necessary zoning and major development approvals, so if the company is serious, I would think work would begin in the near future.


jonathantruth 5 years, 3 months ago

That's too expensive for an executive course when Eagle Bend is available and better. Wouldn't pay $16 for a place in that poor a shape even if it was longer.

Nash45 5 years, 3 months ago

Yea that's pretty steep. I love the course but it's not worth $16 when you can walk 9 at Eagle Bend for $17.

Bob Reinsch 5 years, 3 months ago

So, let's say I have two high school kids that play on their high school team. They ought to be playing three times a week in the summer, so that's 60 a week, 240 a month. I like to get out and play when I can, maybe twice a week...

So how much is LCC per month again? All of a sudden joining a club seems pretty reasonable. And with a pool as well right off the course.

gatekeeper 5 years, 3 months ago

I used to live in the condos at that course. All I can say is PLEASE yell fore and remember that there are people right there off the 1st tee. Lots of very bad players frequent that course. Had jerks break out car windows and actually hit my husband as he was getting out of his car. Rarely did we ever hear anyone yell fore. We at least used to get a lot of golf balls because my cat learned it was fun to grab the ones that were hit into the parking lot, often getting them before the golfer could (it was private property, so the golf balls that landed in the lot were ours). Should have been selling them back to the golfers to cover the costs to repair everything they busted. I know, many will say I chose to live near a golf course. Yes, but you have to really shank that ball to hit the condos or parking lot.

gatekeeper 5 years, 3 months ago

Only problems with those ideas are that each condo is privately owned and all owners would have to agree to come up with the money for the course and then money to maintain it. Yes, the condos are in west Lawrence, but they're getting old and pretty cr*ppy. Most owners don't live there, just rent them out to college kids. also, don't think enough people play there to make it worthwhile to the condo owners.

You can't get into any unit in those condos without going up or down a bunch of stairs, so many people 55+ wouldn't want to live there.

HoneyBadger1 5 years, 3 months ago

I hope the new owner addresses some much needed improvements and maintenance.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 3 months ago

I'd like to sit at the 19th Hole with Wilbur and Consumer1 so I could watch them kick back some cold ones while they b**tch and moan about any topic a person could think of. Then Cheeseburger could drop by and chastise them for drinking alcohol while Jafs gives Bozo a swirly in the Men's Room.

I love you guys.

Joe Blackford II 5 years, 3 months ago

FYI: my Left is a hand-painted work of Art. In fact, it is the most expensive work in my collection. Once fooled a frustrated SRS ophthalmologist into blaming his equipment for the reflections.

Daniel_Larusso 5 years, 3 months ago

The only gripe I have with the course is that the creak that divides it is full of liter (and golf balls too).

richh 5 years, 3 months ago

What! Pay $16 to play 9 holes and walking on the weekend? Come on! I bet not many golfers will go there!

vermont 5 years, 3 months ago

Alvamar continues to be the best golf in the state for both quality and value.

massachusettsman 5 years, 3 months ago

agreed, lucky to have a facility the caliber of Alvamar. The heated hitting bays have been great this year.

waitjustaminute 5 years, 3 months ago

The (former) Orchards does need a lot of work. Serious $$$ and a couple of years will be needed to get it into only decent shape. And as for taking a cart on that course, you either have to old, nursing an injury, lazy (aka half-in-the-bag before you get there) or just plain stuuppiidd to ride a cart there. And as for the 20 and 30 sumptions who want to grip it and rip it, on that course, it ain't happening - go play elsewhere. It's an executive course, a place for beginners, weekenders and those who want to bone up on their short game. It could be a great course, of course, I just hope they do some much and long-overdue clean up, fix up and routine maintenance. And thanks to the neighborhood and Ed for working to keep it as green space.

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