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Lafayette Golf Course: Tourist Destination?

By Kiel Christianson, Equipment Editor and Senior Writer

Falls of Rough, KY - Lafayette Golf Course faces a common challenge to many newer golf courses: It sits on a choice piece of land, ideal for golf, but rather far removed from some of the nicer aspects of civilization, such as large-scale accommodations, restaurants, non-golf attractions.

Here's the classic visual of my trip to Falls of Rough: On my way to an early Sunday tee time, I drove past a local gentleman in greasy blue overalls sitting stoically on his front porch, leaning on one of the many household appliances there, open can of Old Milwaukee next to him. On my way out of town, five hours later, he hadn't moved a muscle.

The folks at Lafayette have some grand plans to change the local image a bit, and thereby make the town (and course) more appealing to tourists. Although Rough River Dam State Resort Park boasts numerous facilities, from marina to cabins to it's own 9-hole course, Lafayette's owners hope to create a second, upscale flight of tourist attractions.

Instrumental in increasing the area's drawing power is the plan to partition a chunk of the 2,000-acre Green Farm into lots for vacation and summer homes. These homes won't border the course, fortunately, but will be within cart-drive distance. Once the homes are built and inhabited, residents will be able-if they so choose-to vote the course "moist". In other words, they will be able to hold a limited liquor sales license. (And you thought Prohibition was over!)

Once the vacation folks and booze are in place, the vast acreage of the Green Farm could be the site of a veritable wonderland of outdoor activities. According to Mike Harris, Assistant Pro at Lafayette, long-term plans may include a resort lodge, bass pond, and 150-acre hunting reserve. One idea floated around is to hold an annual modern-day triathlon, consisting of golf, trap shooting, and bass fishing. (Speaking of bass fishing, there must be hundreds of lunkers prowling the water hazards on the links.)

Of course, all of this would occur several years down the road. For now, course owners are renovating the enormous Old Green Mansion (built in 1830), turning it into a B & B that will have nine bedrooms and 7 ½ baths, and will accommodate 20-24 guests at a time. The luxurious country estate house will open to its first guests in September, 2001, and will offer generous stay and play packages.

I'm not sure how that gentleman on his porch will take to the tourists that Lafayette would draw when all of these plans come to fruition, but I'm guessing he'd be happy as a hog in a wallow if he didn't have to drive to the next county to buy his Old Milwaukee. Change is good. Especially when it allows people to experience a truly wonderful golf course.

Kiel ChristiansonKiel Christianson, Equipment Editor and Senior Writer

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.

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