Hit a stray shot next year on the front nine at Countryside Golf Course in Norwalk, and you'll be in rough like you can't imagine.
Peoples Co.'s Diligent Warrior Run LLC paid about $1.5 million for the 18-hole course earlier this year, and company President Steve Bruere says that the back nine will make a productive cornfield.
Countryside opened as a public course in 2000, and Bruere said that with all of the courses in Greater Des Moines, it must have been difficult to turn a profit.
Commercial property taxes alone were about $75,000 a year.
That tax situation will change when the back nine is planted in row crops and the property receives a steep tax discount when it is classified as farmland.
The course is ready to grow some corn.
Bruere flashed a smile when he said the 160-acre course has an average Corn Suitability Rating of 74. That measure of productivity is high for Warren County and would rank it near some of the most fertile land in the state.
"It's a nice piece of ground," he said.
Bruere said it would have been difficult to justify the purchase and leave the course in its present condition.
Diligent will continue to farm the land as it draws up plans for a residential community. For now, the company has sketched out about 120 lots of varying sizes.
The front nine, where water comes into play on six holes, will be used as a teaching course operated by local teaching pro Mark Burke. There will be a row of enclosed tee boxes at the driving range and greens set up to hone short-game skills.
Bruere said it would be an appropriate practice center for local high schools' and colleges' golf teams.
Veterans also will find a place to practice and play at the course, which will be renamed Warrior Run.
Burke is the director of instruction for Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere, an organization that works with the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify veterans whose recovery would benefit by learning the game and playing a few rounds every year. Warrior Run will be the home course for the program in Central Iowa.
Playing conditions at the course also will be improved, and a restaurant and pro shop will be added, he said.
"I think we'll have a nice little niche here," Burke said.