Sitting in the clubhouse locker-room at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in 1992, Richard Zokol listened intently as former Masters champ Ben Crenshaw talked about a course he was creating on a rural tract of sandy land in remote Nebraska: the newly opened Sand Hills Golf Club.
Zokol, only weeks away from his biggest triumph on the PGA Tour “ a victory at the Greater Milwaukee Open “ took in the masters every word, as if recording directions to some buried treasure. He spoke about it with such passion that I was drawn to the idea, says the 49-year-old golfer once known as Disco Dick. I knew right then that I wanted to build my own course.
That dream, 16 years in the making, is now close to becoming a reality. The Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Clubs $8-million 18-hole golf course “ which sits on a dramatic hillside near Merritt, once part of the fabled Quilchena Ranch “ is set to open late this summer. Zokol has worked for almost a decade fashioning the course, and at every step in the process naysayers told him he wouldnt make it: he didnt have the money, the connections or the experience.
Even Zokol admits he had his doubts. I asked myself how I would pull this one off, he says. Im the consummate PGA Tour journeyman. I wasnt the most skilled. I figured it all out through perseverance. I never made a fortune playing the game and got my nose bloodied more often than not. With real estate sales at Sagebrush kicking off this spring “ and with the courses grass filling in the bare patches in the fairways “ the next few months will determine whether Zokols unusual business venture will prove a scrappy success or a knockdown failure.
The full story, and the questions about Sagebrush’s potential success or failure, is here.