Players come together to honor individuals who started course

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Former Meadow Lakes head professional Lee Roberts tees off from the 17th tee on Saturday. Roberts along with Zach Lampert, Jim Montgomery, and Jake Shinkle placed second in Saturday’s tournament.

In the 20 years since Meadow Lakes Golf Course opened in Prineville, a series of golf professionals have guided the course through a number of changes.
   This past weekend, to celebrate the anniversary of the course’s opening in 1993, Meadow Lakes hosted a commemorative golf tournament. Saturday morning, 22 four-person teams tackled Meadow Lakes in the 20th anniversary tournament.
   Dan, Sarah, and Kim Crofcheck, along with Jeff Roundtree won the scramble, posting a 17-under-par round of 55.
   Lee Roberts, Jim Montgomery, Zach Lampert, and Jake Shinkle came away with second place with a 13 under round of 59. Dewey Springer, Patrick Andrade, Scott Grasle, and Tom Liljeholm finished third, with a round of 60.
   Brian Hartmann, Lisa Hartmann, Pat Brock, Steve Ontko, and Rachel Ontko won the net portion of the tournament with a score of 43.35.
   Although those competing in the tournament took the golf serious, that wasn’t the reason they were there. Once the tournament ended, everyone stayed for a dinner as the current staff at Meadow Lakes thanked those who made the course possible.
   “Everybody who played in the tournament stuck around, which is a little unusual,” Lampert said. “We didn’t do much, we just thanked the people who were responsible for us being here. It was just a fun time. The people that were here appreciated the event and understood why they were here. As a staff, we just want to thank the community for the support over the years. There have been ups and downs, but I think we are headed in the right direction.”
   Roberts, who retired as head professional in 2011, agrees.
   “I’ve been gone for about two and a half years and it just looks so much nicer in that time,” he said. “Just the growth of the trees. It’s more mature. It’s beautiful and the improvements in the club house look wonderful. There are a lot of changes in the golf shop and the restaurant and it just looks like it’s more accessible to the public.”
   Both Roberts and Lampert agree that it took vision for city leaders to develop the course in the 1990s.
   “They had a vision to build a golf course and see it through,” Roberts said. “The conditions they get are not public golf. The conditions on this course has always been so much higher like a good private course.”
   Roberts was quick to add that the focus of the course has gradually shifted since it’s opening. In 1993 the course’s first slogan was ‘Be our member for a day’. By 2000 the slogan had changed to ‘A hidden jewel off the beaten path’. In 2007 things changed again as Roberts promoted the value of the course with the slogan ‘More golf…. less green’. Now in 2013 the course motto is ‘Golf for everyone’.
   “They were all good ideas in their time frame,” Roberts said. “’Be a member for a day’ was still in the private side and now the final one ‘Golf for everyone’, that’s where it’s going with accessibility to the public.”
   Montgomery who works part time at the course agrees with Roberts.
   “What a great addition to the community,” he said. “When I was here in ‘72, this was where I used to go pheasant hunting. It was just an old hay field. “I play public courses literally all over the world and this is — if not the nicest — one of the nicest public courses, municipal courses, I’ve ever played on.”
   Montgomery added that he serves as course marshal on weekends and regularly sees visitors from outside the community come to play the course.
   “A lot more people have found it,” he said. “They have discovered Central Oregon and they have discovered this course. We have busloads coming from Portland and they can’t wait to come back. They went other places and now they don’t want to go other places because this is the best course in Oregon for the money.”
   Lampert agrees that Meadow Lakes is a great value.
   “One of our customers who is a new member pulled us aside and said ‘I’ve been all over and this is the best municipal course in the state,’” Lampert said. “For what we are and our price you are not going to find a better value.”

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