Birch Creek Golf Course a money-maker
November 11, 2008 | SMITHFIELD -- Ranked the No. 4
municipal golf course in the United States by Golf
Magazine in 2002, Birch Creek Golf Course has grown
a lot from its humble beginnings in 1963.
Dale Schvaneveldt, a golf professional and city resident,
lobbied for a golf course in the early 1960s. On July
22, 1963, a group of prominent citizens organized a
corporation to finance the endeavor. The original nine-hole
course, named Summit Park Golf Course, was established
on the city's east bench.
After a decade of use, it was decided that the private
golf course was not economically successful. Partially
due to the fact that assuming ownership of the course
would make the city eligible for U.S. Bureau of Outdoor
Recreation (BOR) funds, Smithfield city bought the course
in 1975. Upon purchasing the course, an ad hoc committee
of residents and city officials recommended that the
course be expanded to 18 holes. Land was purchased,
and the expansion was completed in 1978. Ten years later
the name was changed to Birch Creek Golf Course.
Currently the course operates with a board of directors
as its head and has been very successful. The golf course
bond was paid off in 1995, and unlike most municipal
golf courses, it pays for itself.
"Most municipal golf courses are not structured this
way," said longtime club pro Eric Kleven. "Birch Creek
is an enterprise fund, which means we rely on our own
revenue to operate."
Nestled against Cache Valley's Bear River Mountain
Range, the course is well known for its natural beauty
and pristine playing conditions. Kleven talked about
many things that make the course unique.
"The course is just really well maintained,' Kleven
said. "The attention to detail and the course characteristics
as well as the turf quality and consistency is what
really sets it apart."
In 2004, a new clubhouse was built to match the beauty
of the course. That, along with the quality of the course,
is a big draw for the city.
"It's well known and draws a lot of people to the
city," deputy recorder Char Izatt said of the course.
"The new clubhouse has been a big draw for weddings
and other events."
After four decades offering recreation to local residents
and travelers alike, Birch Creek is becoming more widely
"Birch Creek is very well known for its greens and
maintenance," Kleven said. "A lot of out of valley people
come up on the weekends to play the course … without
a doubt it brings revenue to the city."