Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 12:14 PM on Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Golf course reopens with original owners

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

Original owners of Shoreline Golf, Dave and Beth Schroer have returned to the East End Road location.

With a spring sun shining overhead and winter's deep snow finally gone from the ground, Shoreline Golf was alive with activity Monday morning as new owners Dave and Beth Schroer and course superintendent Doug Hamer prepared for Friday's opening.

Sprinklers were going. Grass was sprouting. Flowers were being planted.

Actually, the Schroers aren't new to Shoreline. They were the original owners when the course opened more than 25 years ago.

"I built two holes in my front yard and then, after I retired from teaching in 1982, I thought I'd add a hole or two every year. By the mid-80s, I had up to nine holes," said Dave Schroer of a plan that eventually spread across 10 acres at mile 6.5 East End Road. "In 1986, I finally opened to the public."

What was it that inspired him to build his own golf course? And then share it with the public?

"I came up here in 1953 and there were no courses to play," said Schroer, who credits the Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna for his interest in building a course a little closer to home. "I think that's probably where I got the bug."

By 1994, the novelty of having his own golf course had worn off, however.

"It was a one-man operation and (Beth) was getting tired of me putting in 12, 14 hours a day, seven days a week," said Schroer.

When Edwin Kilcher approached him "with an offer that I couldn't refuse," Schroer sold the course, the land and the home he and Beth built and lived in. "(Kilcher) was 84, and said his life-long ambition was to own a golf course."

Keeping Alaska as their permanent home, the Schroers used part of the proceeds from the sale to purchase a home in Green Valley, Ariz.,

"We've been wintering there since 1995," said Schroer of his and Beth's schedule that allows for five months in Arizona and seven months in Alaska.


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

Shoreline Golf, locate on 10 acres at mile 6.5 East End Road, opens for the season tomorrow.

The business went through some transitions after it changed hands. Its name became Kachemak Bay Lynx Par 3 Golf. Kilcher died two years after he purchased it and other family members took over operating the business. The house in which the Schroers lived was remodeled into a bed and breakfast and then turned into rental apartments. Two years ago, the business was put up for sale. Last year the course stayed closed.

Reflecting on the work he had initially put into developing the golf course, Schroer and his wife — with their son Frank and his wife Ellen as silent partners — decided to jump back in.

"I felt that I would like to give something back to the community and so this is it," he said.

Hamer, who has 12 years experience as the course superintendent, has agreed to stay on. In fact, he is on site round-the-clock, with living space on the floor above the clubhouse.

"He's invaluable," said Schroer. "I don't think I would have attempted this without things falling into place, like him and my wife being agreeable, as long as I'm not here 12-14 hours a day."

He also has been encouraged by calls from others who love golf "saying they were glad to see Homer was going to have a golf course again," said Schroer.

For now, however, the Schroers and Hamer have one thing in mind: getting the course ready for opening day on Friday.

"Almost 100 percent of our effort is getting the greens back in shape and the fairway mowed," said Schroer. "We're just getting back into it and we are going to get into it slowly."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.