Driving on a new range

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing/Public Affairs

A ceremony was held at Willow Lakes July 7, to officially open the golf course’s brand new driving range.

Construction for the new range began in January 2019 with a final cost of more than $990.000.

“With being world-class, our Airmen deserve world class services provided to them,” said Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander. “When you look back at this new driving range we are absolutely meeting and exceeding that standard.”

Planning for the new range began back in 2015 using land next to the course’s tenth hole that was previously used for base housing.

“The one we were using utilizing was more of a warm up range where we used limited flight range balls and we were squeezed into a really small space,” said Steve Ritz-Woller, 55th Force Support Squadron golf course manager. “We capitalized on the opportunity presented when base housing went away and opened up the land for an adequate range with plenty of room”. 

More than 140 trees were removed and 6,300 cubic yards of top soil was removed and reused for this project.

One of the desires for this new range was to make sure it had proper boundaries. The range now has 97,325 square foot of netting.

“Now it is sufficient, the new range is more than sufficient.” Ritz-Woller said. Customers can utilize four, raised greens, to dial in yardages while fine-tuning their swings”. 

The new driving range could fit fifteen individuals. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, Willow Lakes is limiting to nine or less at a time. Customers are asked to use social distancing guidelines at times. Those using the facility are required to use hand sanitizer, which is provided by the Willow Lakes, after using the keypad on the range ball dispenser and leave baskets on the mat so staff members can sanitize afterwards.

Ritz-Woller is happy to showoff this new range and cannot wait to serve his customers.

“Fantastic,” Ritz-Woller said. “We have something we can truly be proud of now – one of the best driving ranges around.”