ASHLAND — Brookside Golf Course celebrated its 50-year anniversary Saturday morning with a dedication ceremony for their newly-constructed commemorative walkway.
The new 50th Anniversary Walkway, adorned with the names and organizations that kept Brookside Golf Course afloat and in operation over the half century, can now be traveled outside of the course's entrance facility.
Originally established in 1974 under former Ashland mayor Robert E. Whitmore, the course has experienced a vacillating history -- but the last few years have been promising for the links. In 2018, the Friends of Brookside Golf Course created a public-private partnership with Mayor Matt Miller and city council to save the course from financial ruin.
“We’ve been working jointly with the city, the mayor and city council to make Brookside Golf Course the true asset it is to this city," Friends of Brookside Golf Course spokesperson Gene Haberman said. “With the help of our many Junior Golf sponsors along with our non-golf members, we have been able to provide over $164,000 over these (past) three years.
"And that does not include the things that are seen and unseen that are given in the form of in-kind gifts or direct contributions like the pavilion.”
Several of the course's amenities have benefited from public and private donations, including the course’s driving range and the Junior Golf program. Over the years, Brookside Golf Course has continued to expand, adding their back nine holes in 1978.
In 1989, 60 additional acres were purchased with a goal of adding nine more holes to the course, which would amount to 27; however, the acreage was sold in 2014.
Billy Christian, superintendent of Brookside Golf Course, commended his staff and the Friends of Brookside Golf Course at the event.
“It has been tremendous," Christian said. "The donations have been pretty humbling. Without (the staff), none of this was possible.”
Ashland Parks and Recreation director Jason Counts said that promoting Brookside Golf Course and the game of golf teaches a multitude of life skills including courtesy, judgement, honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and respect.
“Some have asked, should cities be involved in running a golf course," Counts said. "Well, I think in the last few years we’ve pretty much made that a resounding yes.
"We have shown in the last few years that with the right leadership, with the right staffing, and the right community support, anything is possible," he continued. "We continue to provide a healthy recreation outlet for residence and enhancement to the overall quality of life.”
Over the previous four years, the golf course has monetarily metamorphosed; in 2017, the course had a $179,000 deficit. Flash forward to 2020, Brookside Golf Course ended their fiscal year with a $48,000 surplus.
Brookside's 50th season may also prove to be a record year -- the course has been booming with activity since the wintry weather subdued.
“Already this year we are $42,000 in the black, and in essence the season is just beginning," said Mayor Matt Miller. "If that trend continues, this will be one of the best years we have seen in Brookside in maybe 50 years.”