The course used to be named Port Groves Golf Club, but locals had always referred to it as "the old pea patch" because of its often questionable conditions. But Brad Bailey and Dwayne Romero always had plans for the 9-holer, the Beaumont Enterprise reports:
"I was a pitcher, and Dwayne was a catcher through the youth leagues and on the Port Neches-Groves baseball team," said Bailey, now 42 and also mayor of Groves. "We used to say that when we won the lottery, we were going to buy the Pea Patch and fix it up."
Well, Bailey and Romero, now a real estate developer in Aspen, Colo., haven't won the lottery, but they have bought the Pea Patch, and boy, have they ever fixed it up.
"In March of '06 when I was in Aspen on a skiing trip, Dwayne and I were sitting around sipping on coffee, and he said, 'What do you think about us making a run at the Pea Patch?'" said Bailey. "Over the years, he and I had purchased some properties together, so we decided to take a stab at this one.
"We sent a letter and a check for $35,000 to the Doornbos family as earnest money, and we eventually wound up putting together an agreement."
While closure on the deal didn't take place until months later, work on the course and the clubhouse actually began soon after it closed.
"It was almost sad to see the course the way it had deteriorated," said Bailey. "There was still a lot of hurricane damage, and it needed an enormous cleanup.
"We took out seven or eight trees; we planted 25-to-50 new trees; we pruned dozens of other trees. We started cutting the grass and weeds back to a manageable level.
"We put in 11 new tee boxes; we re-sodded all of the greens, and all of the greens and tee boxes are now fully irrigated by well water. We enlarged the putting green to 4,400 square feet - before, if more than three or four golfers tried to putt at one time, they were rubbing elbows with each other.
"We dug in three new ponds, and we enlarged another. We put in a covered scoreboard area with tables and chairs. It's what I call the fussin' and cussin' corner for the guys when they're getting their games organized and for when they're settling up after the games. And there's a covered patio out back with tables, chairs and a television."
By "we," Bailey meant himself, hired workers and, most importantly, dozens upon dozens of volunteer workers. By all means, The Patch is the result of a total community effort.
Bailey goes on to describe the work in more detail, and gives a shoutout to golf course personnel in Beaumont and Port Arthur who helped Bailey and Romero out in the project:
"I also want to stress the cooperation we received from George Brown of Aquila Golf, who sold us 25 golf carts and how wonderful Clint Martin (the professional at Bayou Din Golf Club) and Ed Campbell (the pro at Babe Zaharias Memorial Golf Course) have been in giving us pointers," said Bailey. "Also, Bryan Jackson, who is a Class A superintendent (now at Belle Oaks Golf Club), was most helpful as a consultant for our green work."
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