Open For Play (2013)
1057 Fairway Lane
Sherrard, IL 61281 USA
Fyre Lake Golf Club Online:
Breaking into the golf scene: Fyre Lake Golf Club now open
Todd Raufeisen is the first to admit that he is a businessman and not a golf mogul.
Yet, he finds himself in the cut-throat world of the golf industry as he sets sail on a venture that has been long in the planning stages by others and nearly three years in waiting since it has been completed.
This time, though, it is now reality.
Fyre Lake Golf Club in Sherrard is scheduled to open to the public today.
After three long years of waiting and one bankruptcy, those words couldn't be sweeter for golfers of the area.
Now, though, comes the tough part for the par-70 Nicklaus Design layout in rural Mercer County, just about 20 minutes south of the Quad City International Airport.
"We have to open and create credibility,'' Raufeisen said. "Until we do that, no one is going to believe anything anyway.''
With at least three false starts on opening dates in the past three years, golfers may not believe Fyre Lake is open until they can stick a tee in the ground and drop a putt on one of the undulating greens.
"The course is so mature for a brand new golf course,'' head golf pro Justin Stotts said. "As soon as you walk out there, you feel like you're playing a course that has been there for years.''
Actually, you are playing a course that has been there for years.
More stories about bankruptcy battles than green grass have left golfers wondering the worst about the newest gem on the Quad-City golf scene. Fighting a perception can be tougher than new course superintendent Aaron Beshears battling weeds.
"I think it's huge,'' said Raufeisen of turning the page on the facility. "It's one of those things that we know we have to deal with. The reality is, spring can't get here soon enough because until we open, nobody is going to believe it anyway.
"Everything we are doing is with one goal in mind and that's to open the golf course. Once we open it and prove we have the ability to do so, then the perception will change and I think it will change on a dime.''
It should, because the short – 6,435-yard course from the tips – is an absolute treat to play, especially at the rack rate starting at roughly $50 for 18 holes with specials found at the course website. It features plenty of Nicklaus design elements – strategy required off the tees, trouble lurking where you might least expect it and forced carries that can be deceptive to navigate.
"It's a course that you have to play a few times to get a real feel for it,'' Stotts said.
Being run by GolfVisions Management Inc., Raufeisen has removed himself from the day-to-day operation of the facility and will focus on the real-estate aspect of the property. He said he hopes to be able to develop many of the roughly 150 lots in the Fyre Lake subdivision.
Fyre Lake Golf Club also has aligned with Jumer's Casino to be the preferred hospitality partner for the course. According to Raufeisen, at this writing in March, details still were being ironed out as to what that partnership will entail. He did know the hotel will provide transportation to and from the golf course for hotel guests.
The new pro shop phone number is 309-644-4575 with reservations being taken there or online at fyrelakegolf.com.