ST. GEORGE — Spanning from Nov. 2020 to June 2021, the Southgate Clubhouse got a $750,000 makeover that included a completely remodeled café as well as many upgrades to the building.
The upgrades amount to a handsome clubhouse, but city of St. George Director of Golf Colby Cowan said its purpose is to make the facility more functional.
“As it stands, this project has the potential to have a big impact on the city’s economy,” Cowan told St. George News on Thursday. “The old building had a hotdog roller, but that was about it for food. Now we’ve got a full service café.”
The welcome desk, where golfers check in, has also been re-configured. Bob Kvatsak, who’s been working there as a “starter” for the past 14 years, said he couldn’t be happier.
“Whether they’re looking to get on the course faster,” Kvatsak said, “or to pick up some odds and ends from the shop, I can help them more efficiently now.”
It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it will encourage more people to play there, Cowan said.
“Knowing they can sit down to a meal before or after, we’re better equipped to host small tournaments of up to 100 people,” he said.
Cowan was especially proud of the rear deck, which faces northeast. From there, you can see the city of St. George with Pine Valley in the background.
“It will be a focal point during our peak season, from October to April,” Cowan said. “Right now, it’s a little too hot.”
The heat didn’t stop Doug Meacham, who coaches the Snow Canyon High School boys golf team, from taking his guys out to hit a bucket of balls. Meacham stood before a tee at the practice range Thursday flanked by Jordan Monson to his left and Jake Johnson to the right.
“This is our home course,” Meacham told St. George News. “It’s a great space for our guys to develop their game. And the staff has always been good to us.”
Meacham had some advice for those who want to hit the course when it’s hot.
“You put a wet towel on your neck,” he said, “and you keep your hat wet. Do those two things and you won’t even know it’s 110 degrees.”
Johnson, a senior at Snow Canyon, said he especially enjoys the course’s unique challenges.
“There’s water hazards on eight of the first nine holes,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to avoid those.”
Meacham said it’s a good thing to get young men involved in golf as early as possible.
“It gives them something to focus on and to be proud of,” he said. “And they tend to enjoy the game even more as they get older.”
Councilman Bryan Smethurst was one of the chief advocates for getting the resources to complete the project. He said that the building hadn’t been touched since the mid-1980s.
“It wasn’t only about looks,” Smethurst said. We updated the fire suppression, plumbing and electrical systems too. Now the building is more safe, and golfers have somewhere to sit and eat after their games.”
Smethurst said that the courses themselves don’t generate revenue.
“But they attract tourists and tourism dollars,” he said. “Especially in the winter. The snowbirds are great for our economy.”
Though Cowan said this is their down time, he anticipates that golfers will come in the fall. Whether it’s local players looking to get 18 holes in on a Saturday, tourists who’ve come in search of new challenges or the Junior Association of Golf program – which is 605 members deep – Cowan and company look forward to welcoming them into their new digs.
“We love to see golfers of all ages out here,” Cowan said. “This remodel will help us to serve them better. We’re thankful for the city’s belief in, and support of, golf.”
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