(Editor's Note: This is the last of three parts in a series on Horse Creek Golf Course in Dora.)
DORA - It is easy to see why attendance is setting records at Horse Creek Golf Course, with more people coming from the surrounding areas and even from out of state. Don Cummings, course general manager, said part of the attraction is the design of the course itself, as a player gets a "combination of everything" at Horse Creek, from flat areas to hilly areas, drawing golfers from any areas.
"The layout makes it interesting to play," Cummings said. "It is a golf course where you will use every club in your bag. That's what good golfers want to do. Most courses we grew up with in Walker County was a driver, pitch and wedge, driver, pitch and wedge, all day long. Now, of course, this course is a regulation size course. It has the rough. It has the good fairways. It has the good greens. It is plush, it makes it more of a challenge and golfers like it."
He noted the city gets many compliments on the layout of the course and its maintenance.
"We have a great crew. (Supervisor) Keith Wright is our superintendent and he has a good staff - a small staff (six counting Wright) that does a great job," Cummings said. Four additional full-time workers and Cummings works in the clubhouse.
Mayor Randy Stephens noted Wright was the original superintendent and groundskeeper, and is now the longest tenured employee of the City of Dora, after 21 years - plus a couple more years while involved with the course's construction.
Cummings doesn't plan to retire quickly, either. "I told Randy I would work as long as he's mayor," he said. "I might have to renege on that - he got an extension." (Mayoral terms in the state recently were extended a year one time only to stagger terms and reschedule municipal elections.)
A tour of the course with Stephens showed a well kept facility that was clean of trash and with well maintained greens and wildlife around it. Stephens was proud to note how nature, from trees to lakes, was incorporated into the design, adding it is not unusual to see deer and other wildlife roaming around.
At the same time, mixing with traditional flat greens are shots like at Hole 5, where one feels like they are shooting off a cliff into the valley, taking the ball over a rough growth midway. At another hole, he pointed out if one isn't careful in getting onto the green, the ball will drop off a steep embankment.