Old course gets new life -- and a new name

Don't worry about me. I have incredible muscle memory."

So claimed a good friend of mine. He hadn't picked up a golf club in nearly five years but was certain he would shoot in the upper 80s. We were determining the rules and bets for a skins game that day. Yeah, we got a live one here.

Wisegeek.com says muscle memory is a type of movement with which the muscles become familiar over time. Anyone learning a new skill or practicing an old one has significant brain activity as well. Over time, muscle memory becomes an unconscious process, a habit. If you've experienced thousands of golf shots, you don't think -- your body just knows how to do it. Ah, the "practice makes perfect" theory.

Lifehacker.com -- how appropriate when discussing my golf swing -- begs to differ. Lifehacker speculates that muscle memory doesn't judge whether you're doing well or poorly at the task. You could be learning bad habits over and over. When you repeat mistakes again and again, you build muscle memory with all those flaws. The "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" truism.

Me? I have to have someone remind me to take my ginkgo biloba every day. However, subscribing to Lifehacker gives me a ready excuse for the iffy level of my golf game. Which brings me to the notion of whether a golf course has "muscle memory."

Stallion Mountain Country Club, 5500 E. Flamingo Road, had been closed for nearly three years. It reopened late last year. What did it take to get the entire facility back in playing condition, and how long and how difficult was the task? Did Stallion Mountain Country Club have "course memory?"

Kris Strauss is the vice president of sales and marketing for OB Sports Golf Management. OB Sports was awarded the management of the course by the new owners, 5500 East Flamingo LLC.

"It's interesting," Strauss said. "When the course closed, the bank became owner of the assets. The FDIC actually maintained the course with a skeleton crew of four people during those three years. The clubhouse and pro shop were all just closed down."

5500 East Flamingo LLC purchased the property in July 2011.

"That's when the real work started," Strauss said. "The 38,000-square-foot clubhouse appeared abandoned. We brought in a crew to clean the clubhouse top to bottom -- carpet cleaning, dusting, scrubbing and wall cleaning. We refurbished all of the kitchen equipment. Refurbished the heating and air conditioning systems. Replaced over 1,000 light bulbs with energy-saving CFL bulbs. We tested the phone systems. Hired a staff that included 60 employees, 13 groundskeepers, two administration people, 19 golf operations team members and 26 food and beverage positions."

Something interesting also happened in the pro shop. All the apparel and equipment was now about four years old. Big problem. "All that stuff was either out of style or old models," Strauss said. "For example, the TaylorMade R7 drivers were on display. We replaced them with the current TaylorMade R11S models. We had blowout sales to get rid of it. Now we have all the latest fine fashion and golf equipment."

There's more. "We brought in a brand new fleet of golf carts," he added. "We ordered a brand new fleet of golf maintenance equipment. One mower can cost as much as $50,000."

Still more work to accomplish. "The marketing effort included a new website, a new phone number and updating Google Place," Strauss said. "We produced all new marketing collateral, menus, signage banners, scorecards and posters. We established a new name -- Stallion Mountain Golf Club. We reached out to national and regional golf publications and also to local marketing efforts such as newspapers, radio and direct mail."

A neighborhood open house was scheduled over two days to introduce the course and new facilities to the community. More than 800 golf enthusiasts attended to view the course and the facilities and met the new management team.

The miracle was accomplished in a little more than 60 days. On Oct. 1, Stallion Mountain opened for play. Now a semiprivate facility, Stallion Mountain offers innovative membership opportunities and allows locals the opportunity to play the course.

Sounds like the clubhouse is brand spanking new. How did the golf course fare? More next month.

For more information, visit stallion mountaingolf.com.

John Asay is a longtime golfer and local freelance writer. Contact him at jasay@reviewjournal.com.