The one thing we know so far about Chuck Klein, since Friday the owner of Wildhorse Golf Club: He doesn’t let grass grow.
That might sound odd for a golf course owner, but the number of changes he’s made in five days since plunking down $3.25 million are impressive.
The routing of the Davis course has been reconfigured so that the holes across the street are again Nos. 1 and 2. There are 10,000 new range balls, a new ball-dispensing machine and upgrades to the practice hitting and target areas. The pro shop is being returned to the front of the clubhouse and the wall that separated that room has been removed. The restaurant is being redone. New carpet is everywhere.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re up for it,” Klein said.
And when he says “we,” he means it. Wife Joni and sons Matt, Charlie and Chris will help run the course.
The Kleins have lived in Davis for 25 years. Chuck, who has worked to provide technical education to schools and industry for three decades, sought a career change. He had been in talks with Charlie Gibson, the managing partner of Wildhorse’s previous ownership group, for months.
Klein, 58, isn’t much of a golfer – he estimates he plays once every two months and says the unlimited number of projects a golf course provides appeal to him more – but his sons and his wife are regulars. With the operation being a family affair, that makes for interesting dinner conversation, he said.
“When we talk about something, there often are five of us that think our idea is best,” he said. “But it’s good conversation that you like to have.”
There’s been a big staff turnover in the past week. Klein said he’s determined to make Wildhorse a friendlier place. To that end, he’s interested in hearing from customers about what they do and don’t like.
“We want to change the culture,” he said. “We saw it being neglected a little bit. I don’t want to run the other owner down, but we saw this as a diamond in the rough.”
Down by the river – Campus Commons will reopen Friday after being closed since Jan. 6 because of flooding and the aftermath.
There were myriad hurdles to overcome at the nine-hole course along the American River, said owner/operator Wendy Arinno, particularly an irrigation system that was buried in silt.
“The grass is growing now,” Arinno said. “We’ll be ready.”
Send an email ahead of the reopening to firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a coupon for a half-off greens fee.
Annual expo – The 42nd annual Haggin Oaks Golf Expo is April 28-30. The highlights, apart from the 190 manufacturers providing access to the latest and greatest in equipment and technology:
▪ Celebrity appearances: Instructor to the stars Hank Haney, short-game guru Stan Utley, Mr. 59 Al Geiberger and PGA Teacher of the Year Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen are scheduled to appear.
▪ Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony: This year’s inductees are John B. Kelley, Rob Fong, Peggy Dodds, Dr. Milton Fenner and Frank La Rosa.
▪ Competition: The city putting championship and a chipping contest in which one qualifier will chip for $25,000 will be offered.
▪ Food/beer: There will be Olympic-style burgers served lengthwise on a hotdog bun and more than 100 beers from which to choose.
▪ Discounts: Thirty area golf courses will promote memberships and greens-fee opportunities.
▪ Free: No charge at the MacKenzie putting course or for admission.