August 22, 2017
|Fox Ridge Golf Course - Home On The Range|
By E. NolanBen Biersner was born and raised in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. In fact, he worked at Fox Ridge in High School. Now, some 10+ years later he's back. Now, he's the General Manager. "Has the course changed as much as you have?" I asked him. He laughed. "Still the same. Still such a great place. That's why I came back." I nodded and pushed on. "So... older IS or ISN'T better?" "Older is older," he replied. (I like this guy.)
We all know what that's like... to reminisce on our youthful days and the stomping grounds we covered... to remember the highlights, the parties, the times we wish we could go back and repeat. I, at least, wish I could go back to where I went to high school, to live there again and do so many of the same things I loved to do back then. That's why I envy Ben in this case... he got to go back home, and GETS to do every day now what he loved to do then. A new context to the words, "The golf gods smiled on him."
"What is it about Fox Ridge that is so special, Ben?"
"It all begins with the people. These are my people... my kind of people. It's a super friendly place, very fun to play, with a great ambiance on the course and in the clubhouse. I consider Fox Ridge a hidden gem, even given the steady increase in traffic, because most people who play here keep coming back... even with all the other choices around. Part of that is our great rates... sure... but most of it is the feeling of HOME that everyone gets when they play here."
Fox Ridge is well known locally for a number of things, drawing masses of golfers from all over the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area (only 10 miles away). The course opened with nine holes in 1998, then expanded to 18 in 2001. It is a course friendly to all levels of golfers, with four sets of tees including a junior set (which every course should have). Fox Ridge can be stretched up to 6,800 yards, but you don't need to play it at that length to enjoy all of it. Perhaps most importantly, as great as it is for individuals looking for a round of fun, the facility is equally popular as a tournament and wedding host, booked for all sizes of events regularly, with the capacity to comfortably hold and cater to 300!
Personally, I also appreciate how spread out the course feels, even amidst the housing community (in a booming suburb). The 200 acres seems like far more, as much as you're winding and weaving across the fairways and around the many bends. It is also evident they care greatly about course, green, and bunker conditions (having recently been completely overhauled). It is so supremely playable, and suits the bombers just as much as the anglers. Non-discriminating against skill on the one hand, the pride of maintenance and daily operations is inversely impressive, a source of pride evident in the entire discussion with Ben. Everyone at Fox Ridge wants it to be as good as it can be.
"What's the best hole out here?" I asked Ben. "On the front it's got to be the Par 5, 5th hole with that great water carry. And on the back... well... it's sure hard to beat #13 (a long and beautiful Par 3 with an elevated tee and water all around the green)." That IS a beautiful, but tough hole. I heard one golfer in the clubhouse refer to it as "the shortest Par 5 in the state." (Which means I birdied it!) "Easiest hole on the course?" I asked Ben. "Eleven, I think." Agreed.
Ben mentioned the great rates in our conversation, and I'd like to point out that on Monday and Tuesday mornings you can play Fox Ridge (before noon) for only $30, and that includes the cart. (At peak weekend rate, it's only $45 with cart.) The course has gained plenty of acclaim and fame among tournament hosts, with groups such as the Iowa Cattleman's Association and the Chris Walters Memorial booking their slot up each year (just to name a few). "We don't have enough weekends to go around," Ben says. (A great problem to have!)
You don't get the reputation Fox Ridge has without the honesty, selflessness and effort they provide daily. It helps that superintendent Chad Jones always has the course in such great condition (a common rave on GolfAdvisor.com), that Chef Ryan Fritz is always cooking something up, and that their 11,000 square foot clubhouse is so capable of accommodating the droves of interested parties and players.
All the pieces complement each other perfectly. Home SHOULD feel like Fox Ridge.
Article Comment Submission Form