Whitey Schroeder Practice Facility opens

Thomas Seger, 17, a junior at Jasper High School on the Boys Golf Team, practices at the Whitey Schroeder Facility Monday afternoon with the team.

The City of Jasper celebrated the opening of the Whitey Schroeder Practice Facility last Thursday.

Though a rainy day, the celebration was well-attended with friends and family members of the late golf enthusiast Glen “Whitey” Schroeder, for which it is named. Schroeder’s mother, Bernetta, cut the ribbon during the ceremony.

Jasper Park and Recreation Director Tom Moorman noted the facility has been on a priority list for several years. “Since COVID, golf has really taken off. There has been quite a boom,” he said.

Buffalo Trace is fielding 25,000 rounds of golf on average annually, according to Moorman.

When Ruxer closed in 2020, the city lost a driving range that was used to help adult golfers hone their skills and train young golfers in the game.

The Whitey Schoeder Practice Facility, which features the driving range and pitching and putting greens, is now available to provide a place for these young golfers to learn.

“These young golfers are our future customers at the golf course,” Moorman said. “We need to have a way to train them, to help them learn the game, a place for them to go rather than learning on a golf course.”

He added that it also helps the high school with its girl’s and boys’ golf teams.

Members of the Jasper High School Boys Golf Team watch as Caleb Schnarr, 16, a junior, tees off at the Whitey Schroeder Practice Facility Monday afternoon.

Along with providing a place for training, the facility allows anyone, regardless of skill level or dedication to the sport, to step up and hit a bucket of balls. “I love the sport, but I don’t always have time to play nine or 18 holes of golf,” Moorman said. I do have time to hit a bucket of balls, though. This allows me to do that.”

Located on Mill Street adjacent to Buffalo Trace Golf Course, the new driving range features 24 stations, 12 of which are covered, with mats, a 40-yard by 80-yard tee box area with Zoysia and bluegrass strips to tee off in, and the pitching and putting green. According to Moorman, the greens won’t be open until mid-to-late May. Buckets of balls can be purchased by credit card or gift card from the Buffalo Trace Pro Shop. It is $6 $8 for a small bucket (about 45 balls) and $8 $10 for a large bucket (about 90 balls).

Carter Werner, 9, and his brother, Chase Werner, 13, smacked a bucket of balls down range Monday evening. The pair have been watching the construction of the Whitey Schroeder Practice Facility from their grandmother’s home across the street. Every Monday, they eat dinner there, but before doing so yesterday, the brothers decided to try out the driving range for the first time.
Zach Wood sets the ball on the tee on one of the mats in the 24 stations available.
Zach Wood spent some time with a bucket of balls at the Whitey Schroeder Practice Facility while his wife, Haley, and the couple’s 9-month-old son, Brooks, watched from nearby.
Brothers Eli Flick, 17, (red) and Owen Flick, 14, spent some time on the new range practicing Monday evening. This was Eli’s second time using the new facility since it opened.
The Whitey Schroeder Practice Facility has 24 mats to tee off from, with 12 under cover. It also has a 40-yard-by-80-yard tee box featuring strips of Zoysia grass and Bluegrass to imitate what golfers will find on courses.
The vending machine charges $8 for a small bucket of balls and $10 for a large bucket. The practice facility has been busy since opening last week.

After the parks department corrected the cost originally shared with the reporter, the story has been updated to reflect the correct cost of the bucket of balls.