July 28, 2016

HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. --- This is one of those moments in life when you're like:

Really, has it been that long?

"It's hard to believe," Jim Johnson said. "You don't really think about it as every year goes by, but you turn around and it has been that long."

Believe it or not, Railwood Golf Club will celebrate its 17th anniversary Saturday on what should be a festive day --- it's also Customer Appreciation Day --- that will feature golf specials, prizes, live music and a grand prize at the end.

"They tell you it always takes about 20 years to make a course work," Johnson said, "and I think we're finally getting to that point, having the things we want to have, finding our market, those type of things."

In other words, stabiilty.

"Everybody knows we're going to be here next year, we know we're going to be here next year," he said. "You're not always worrying about what's going to happen next."

Johnson was there at the start when the course opened in 1999. Now, he's General Manager and co-owner of Railwood, after a small group purchased the facility from Justin Smith in early May.

(For much more on what's transpired at Railwood the last 11 months, please see http://www.loefflerslink.com/inside-10.html )

It hasn't been an easy road.

"It's been a struggle, with the ownership changes and everything else," Johnson said. "But that's the business we're in ... it's always about the next day, really, as opposed to what's happened in the past.

"That's the downside. But on the upside, it's seeing people appreciate what we have and coming out and playing the golf course. For me, that's what it's all about, offering something people can come out and enjoy.

"If you're a really good golfer, you can go back a tee or two (and it's a challenge). If you're just out here to have fun and hack it around like I do, then you can do that.

"It's not perfect, but it's a reasonable course for everybody to play and enjoy."

Some of Saturday's specials and activities include:

* 18 holes (with cart) only $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

* Closest to the hole prizes on all par 3s.

* Free food and drinks for those who play golf.

* Door prizes, including a 2017 membership to Railwood.

* Live music from 6-10 p.m.

* The Railwood Shootout on the par-3 ninth starting at 7 p.m. It's a closest to the hole contest with a first-place prize of $250, second place is $100, and third is $75. Those who play golf Saturday are automatically entered, otherwise, there is a $10 entry fee.

In addition, the club will introduce the Sidebar Grill and Pub in the clubhouse. While it's not 100 percent completed, there will be menu specials from 11 a.m-9 p.m. on Saturday. The facility will be open year-round, weather or not, for lunch, dinner and drinks, with live music on the weekends.

"We're not quite where we want to be with it yet ... definitely, the menu will be expanded," Johnson said. "I can see it being an even bigger and better deal down the road.

"It's going to cater to this whole area around us, year-round. We think we can draw some people and have some fun with it."

That's what Saturday should be about, having fun.

"You get really reasonable golf and you get some food and a few drinks with that," Johnson said. "If you don't have a chance to play golf, we'll have the Shootout at 7 o'clock and you can still get in that. Everybody will be able to watch it from the deck and cheer or jeer, I guess.

"If you don't play golf, we'll have live music and food and some other things. The whole day should be a lot of fun.

Time sure flies when you're having it.

Loeffler's Link

A view of the Railwood clubhouse and the ninth green, where golfers can win $250 on Saturday if their ball finishes closest to the hole. 

For questions, comments or story ideas, contact Tom at loefflerslink@hotmail.com.

Railwood Golf Club preparing

for a day of celebration Saturday