Announced on December 11, 2013, almost exactly one year ago, the GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club reports a successful year one.
Starting with 3 golf courses, a couple of fitness centers and a dream of changing the Sioux Empire golf scene, they ended 2014 with 12 courses in partnership, 5 fitness centers and plans for even more expansion in 2015. GreatLIFE General Manager Donn Hill is happy with their first year.
“This year has been a great success,” said Hill, in a phone interview last week. “Golf overall is in a bit of a decline, but rounds at GreatLIFE courses were up 48%. That’s something we’re proud of.”
With focuses placed on families and fitness, GreatLIFE was able to generate record numbers of couples, children and women at their facilities.
“We are shattering the old model for golf,” explained Hill about the program’s infrastructure. “We appeal to a much larger audience with fitness and family centered activities. Through it, we are broadening the appeal for golf so now, it appeals to everyone. And GreatLIFE can also help these people achieve healthy lifestyles.”
With affordable, family, fitness focused golf, the perception of the GreatLIFE model was to “rack up golf courses” and let them just run themselves. The opposite is true.
The number of renovations to GreatLIFE related golf courses and fitness centers have made noise throughout the region.
Willow Run, which announced hosting the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge for next fall, is shaking everything up. They are improving almost all elements of the club.
First, the new practice facility. It will feature a new short game area with 3 greens, bunkering and the ability to hit 100 yard pitch shots. The putting green will be re-vamped. They will also be completely restoring the driving range. The new driving range will be visually more appealing while better protecting the holes surrounding it.
Also to be added, are “The Willows,” a 160-unit apartment complex adjacent to the golf course.
These changes are made in congruence with a brand new, 16,000 sq. ft clubhouse to be completed by next April/May. The old clubhouse was torn down in the fall. The clubhouse will feature 2 levels, with the lower level containing the fully-loaded fitness center. They also have plans to host a full-service restaurant within the clubhouse.
Next year, Willow Run has future plans for a 9-hole short course across the street.
In its 3rd year of renovation, all bunkering changes are complete at Bakker Crossing. Water hazards were also repositioned for a more playable golf course. In 2016, Bakker Crossing will be working to add a short course, similar to the one being added at Willow Run.
Central Valley GC in Hartford, SD also is undergoing upgrades. New cartpaths along with an added storm shelter and restroom facility. Re-shaping of certain tee boxes will give the course a fresh look come 2015.
In regards to the fitness center improvements, Woodlake Athletic Club will have brand new addition. Plans to enclose the pool and build a large training area, new childcare area and a new women’s locker room are underway. They will be converging the two existing locker rooms to make up the men’s locker room. GreatLIFE has added a new kids area called “The ZONE.”
Courses Added for 2015
GreatLIFE is always working to expand their impact and give golfers the opportunity to play more courses at affordable rates.
This fall, they were able to reach agreement with Worthington Country Club in Worthington, Minnesota– a 60 mile drive from Sioux Falls. It will be fully accessible for GreatLIFE members come 2015, along with the unlimited carts rate.
Price Changes for 2015 and New Policies
Memberships for the GreatLIFE will stay the exact same for the 2015 golf season– with one exception. There will be a reduction in the cart rates.
Last year, the pass for unlimited golf and fitness with a cart was $124.99. For 2015, the price will be $99.99.
GreatLIFE will also be putting into effect a new policy for 2015.
In 2014, Willow Run hosted 104 outings and Bakker Crossing hosted 55 outings. There were a few dates where both courses hosted events and Central Valley also hosted an event. This isn’t the way GreatLIFE wants to operate– so they made a change.
“Next year, we will be coordinating event dates between the courses in the Sioux Falls area,” Hill said of the new policy. “We are making a commitment to keeping a course available to our members every day of the golf season. Events are still great for us and our partners, but we will plan them in a way to give our members access to golf as well.”
This should be an initiative which will alleviate some of the problems encountered in 2014.
2015 looks to be another fantastic year for the members of GreatLIFE.