A face familiar to many people in the local area is now on site and is managing one of the popular golf courses in the area as he seeks to continue a successful tradition of providing quality golf experiences for people in the local community.
Retired Harnett County educator Whit Bradham is the new general manager at Chicora Golf Club outside Erwin. The course remains under the same ownership group, and four-year ground-keeping veteran Dan Jordan continues to lead the crew which maintains the course.
Mr. Bradham began working at the course following his retirement from the school system and that evolved into a new career. He held the position of principal at Coats-Erwin Middle School before wrapping up his educational career.
“I enjoyed working at the golf course and decided I would stay on,” Mr. Bradham said. “I knew the system and the ownership asked me to stay on and I agreed to do it.”
Mr. Bradham said he is working to continue following the goals of the club’s owners.
“The ownership is committed to providing the best possible product,” Mr. Bradham said. “Over the years, the course has been a big part of this community and we want to keep it that way in the future.”
He said he knows it is a challenging business environment to operate a golf course, with the sports popularity declining.
“Throughout the United States, the popularity of golf is declining and we know that,” Mr. Bradham said.
In the local area, Pine Burr Golf Course near Lillington is now closed. The Hidden Valley course north of Angier also closed in recent years and will soon be the site of a large housing community.
Mr. Bradham said his course will remain familiar to golfers who play there. He said he hopes to market his course to younger golfers. That effort includes having local middle and high school golfers practicing and playing matches at the site.
“We are going to push to get more young people involved,” Mr. Bradham said. “Over the years, we have noticed young people are not playing as much as they used to.”
He is also marketing the course to local churches and charitable organizations who are looking for a site for fundraising events.
“We want to encourage tournaments to help people if we can,” Mr. Bradham said.
Mr. Jordan has been busy putting the course in the best possible condition. The work includes tree removal and other work made necessary due to Hurricane Florence. The storm sent waters from the nearby Cape Fear River onto the course. The course has recovered well according to Mr. Jordan. As late as this week crews were vacuuming up leaves and other debris on the course.
“The greens are better than they have been for a long time,” Mr. Jordan said. “The course is really in good condition.”