Lakeview Golf Course experiencing significant growth, renovations imminent – Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — Business at Lakeview Golf Course has picked up this summer.

At the beginning of the golf peak season, the municipal golf course is above the previous year's level in terms of total revenue and rounds played.

Through the end of May, Lakeview reported a 10% increase in revenue compared to the same period in 2023 and a 20% increase over 2021, while the entire golf industry reported gains due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting other activities.

Given the increase in business, the overall goal of creating a world-class 18-hole golf course for everyone has come at a very opportune time.

“We strive to have good (course) conditions every day,” said golf and cemetery supervisor Jason Gunnare. “From the greens, mowing all the fairways, raking the bunkers and everything else, we want to provide the best experience for all golfers, regardless of their ability.”

Trey Murray of Gregory hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the Region 4B golf tournament on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell.

Blake Durham / Mitchell Republic

Gunnare credits Lakeview's course staff for keeping the course in playable condition, which has grown significantly since opening day on March 11. A total of 10,029 rounds have been played through May, more than double the number played in 2022 (4,703).

The course recently changed its tee times to 8-minute intervals to accommodate more players, as 100 to 140 rounds are played per day during the week, depending on the weather forecast, and over 200 rounds are played on weekends.

A number of factors have contributed to the increased traffic at the course. Part of the increase was due to the situation at Wild Oak Golf Course in Mitchell, which only opened nine holes for play in 2024 after reversing the decision to close the course in January.

Speaking with clubhouse manager and head pro Eric Hieb, Gunnare noted that the number of new golfers Lakeview has welcomed this season is the main reason for the course's growth. The golfers have come not only from Mitchell and the surrounding communities, but from all over South Florida.

“A lot of them were new faces and new people playing golf for the first time or getting back into it,” Gunnare said. “We've had people who have traveled through town and some come from far away just to play here.”

“Eric up in the clubhouse keeps a pretty good eye on what's going on there, and he says there are a lot of people there he's never seen before,” he added.

Through the various memberships offered by Lakeview and the Mitchell City Fun Pass, the golf course has reported a total of 639 members so far in 2024, an increase from last year's number of 543. While individual and couples memberships are at 2023 levels, family memberships have increased from 228 last season to 318 in 2024.

Female golfers warm up on the driving range before the 2016 Class AA state golf tournament at Lakeview Golf Course. (File photo)

In this 2016 file photo, golfers warm up on the driving range before the Class AA girls state golf tournament at Lakeview Golf Course.

Mitchell Republic archive photo

“Lakeview is a very welcoming place,” Gunnare said of the increasing number of family memberships. “Eric's clubhouse staff does a very good job of greeting people, getting them ready and going out of their way to get as many people on the golf course as possible.”

The current practice facilities at Lakeview include a 200-yard driving range and three practice greens that allow golfers to work on all facets of their game. While new faces and groups enjoyed the course's welcoming atmosphere this season, the focus was always on the golf itself.

“We're here for the golf,” Gunnare said. “That's our main focus and I think that's what we do well. And people see and enjoy that.”

Update on Phase II of the renovation

Lakeview is preparing to host both rounds of the annual Mitchell City Golf Tournament this year, scheduled for the weekend of July 13-14. Work on Phase II of the proposed eight-phase Lakeview Master Plan for course improvements will begin on Monday, July 15, following the conclusion of the city tournament.

Phase II of the renovation includes a rerouting of the back nine and the construction of a new par 3, which will become the new No. 14 hole. The par 4 11th hole will be reconstructed with a new layout and the two existing holes, No. 13 and No. 15, will receive new teeing areas. The current par 3 hole, No. 12, will be abandoned.

Gunnare said golfers can expect signs in the clubhouse and on the course directing golf cart traffic, as well as construction areas cordoned off. Temporary greens will also be set up in the fairways to direct golfers away from the construction areas. Officials are confident renovations will be completed by next summer.

“I hope that when construction is completed at the end of August, we will actually have 18 fully-fledged green spaces for people to play on,” said Gunnare. “We may have to use our green spaces to some extent to do this, but I think it will work out.”

Blake Durham

Blake Durham has been a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic since October 2023. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor's degree in communications in December 2022. Durham covers a variety of prep and college sports in the area.