A New Era

Spring Hills GC gets new owner,
adds ‘19th hole’

Thorn buys Hanover, Ind.
course from the Adams

(May 2013) – For people like Dalton Willett, golf offers both challenge and camaraderie. Willett joins a group of 20 friends six days a week to perfect their strokes as they visit with each other.
“Golf is something you can’t get ahold of. It’s elusive. That’s what I enjoy,” says Willett.
The group’s course of choice? Spring Hills Golf Club. As the golf season opens, Willett and his friends look forward to an improved course and added amenities when they take to the links.

Keith Thorn

Photo provided

Madison native
Keith Thorn plans to bring his restaurant management
experince to Spring Hills Golf Course.

Keith Thorn in February purchased Spring Hills Golf Course from Melvin Adams, the original builder and owner. Born and raised in Madison, Thorn spent the last 25 years in Louisville, first working as an owner of several Subway restaurants and then in real estate. On returning to Madison, Thorn wanted a new challenge – one that would use the business skills he honed at Subway. He found the perfect fit in a return to his first love: golf.
“I learned to play at Sunrise Golf Course when I was about 12 years old,” says Thorn. “Once I got into my 20s, I either worked or played golf or soft ball. Once you get past a certain age, golf becomes the only sport,” Thorn says, jokingly.
He heard that Adams wanted to sell the course and thought it would be the perfect fit for both his skills and his passion.
Thorn has already begun making Spring Hills his own. “We’re installing a practice sand trap. Golfers can practice different techniques for getting out of the sand to help them know what works when they hit a trap while playing. A course I played in Louisville had one, and my game improved greatly as I used it. Beginners and advanced golfers alike will benefit. I wanted to make that available for the players here,” says Thorn.
Thorn plans to upgrade the course as well. From blacktopping the golf cart trails and parking lots, to landscaping the greens, to adding more challenging course obstacles, Thorn wants to make Spring Hills a course that draws a full range of golfers.
“It’s not a long course, but it’s pretty challenging with many obstacles. Golfers should enjoy it.” Later in the year, Thorn plans to refill a lake that has been dry the last several years. “That will allow us to water the course thoroughly during the dry periods, keeping the greens nicer while giving another obstacle to the golfers.”
Thorn also has big plans for the clubhouse. “We’re installing the traditional 19th hole,” says Thorn. Featuring both a bar and grill, Thorn plans to put his Subway experience to work to create a welcoming eatery where golfers can relax after a round or residents can come to simply enjoy a great meal.
“We’re going to serve a variety of food including burgers, tenderloins, fish, turkey and club sandwiches. Appetizers include jalapeno poppers and mozzarella sticks, cheesy fries and nachos,” says Thorn.
He says he hopes members and the public alike will gather to eat and enjoy their favorite game on one of the three televisions gracing the walls of the eatery or play a game of pool. “We will also offer carryout,” notes Thorn. “So people just getting off work can swing by for a quick supper to take home.” The restaurant is scheduled to open in May.
Spring Hills is open to all golfers. One 18-hole round costs $25 with a cart or $15 to walk the course seven days a week. Hours are from 7 a.m. until dark. Membership at the club is $450 per year or $400 per year for seniors.
When coming to play a round, Thorn encourages golfers to browse the expanded merchandise available in the clubhouse. “We will offer more hats, shirts, and clubs – the items golfers want,” says Thorn. Members can likewise store their golf carts at the clubhouse as part of their membership.
Upcoming events include a fundraising event on May 4 to raise money for the course. Anyone can come to play with greens fee going for the improvements. Coming in June is the $1 Million Dollar Hole-in-One contest. Interested golfers will compete in qualifying rounds. Those advancing as finalists will play in a golf scramble. Anyone shooting a hole-in-one wins $1 million. Details are still being finalized, but interested golfers can call the clubhouse at (812) 866-4727 for more information.
Thorn hopes the improvements will draw more players to the game of golf. “This is the hardest game ever invented, but every day of golf is a great day. Even if you play badly, you come back the next day ready to do better. It takes your mind off your worries for at least four hours, and you get to enjoy the day with friends. Even better, unlike other sports, you can play till they put you in the ground,” says Thorn.

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