Note: This story was updated on Feb. 15 to add Brown Acres to the number of city and county owned municipal golf courses.
Ira Templeton III gave two basic reasons for why he chose to put in a bid with the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County to take over the lease to operate the Moccasin Bend Golf Club.
"I love the game of golf, and I like a challenge," he said.
Templeton should certainly know about both, having owned Creeks Bend in Hixson for 45 years. Templeton took over the operation of Mocassin Bend — which along with Brainerd Golf Course and Brown Acres is one of three public municipal courses — on Jan. 1 from HMS Golf Management. He plans to operate it with the help of his wife, Kim, son-in-law Patrick Shutters and club pro Kevin Ashley.
Templeton said the course — Nestled at the foot of Lookout Mountain along the Tennessee River — offers some incredible views and has long been popular with local golfers.
"It's a beautiful setting," he said.
"It's been 15 years since I played down here, but it is beautiful. It does need some work, and we will do that in the coming months and years as revenue comes in."
Top on the agenda will be replacing all 18 greens and paving the cart paths. The plan is to do both starting June 3 when the course will be closed for six weeks while the work is done. The clubhouse also needs repairs and updating, and that will happen later.
Templeton said some work has already been done, including the placement of culverts to redirect drainage on some fairways.
"We've corrected some of the moisture issues," he said.
Shutters said he has been at Creeks Bend for 18 years and is therefore familiar with every tree and plant and break on every green there, so he is looking forward to a new challenge. He's especially looking forward to figuring out the different characteristics and nuances of the course.
"Every property is unique, and the views here at Moccasin Bend are beautiful, but I can look at one green at Creeks Bend and tell you how the other greens are going to be. Out here, it's all new."
Templeton said he loves golf course management and he looks forward to seeing what can be done with the 156-acre course.
"This place is challenging, and it needs a lot of work done, but I take pride in maintaining and caring for a golf course and so does Patrick. My wife keeps us all in line, so it's a good team."
The three will share time between the two courses, he said.
The course is located in the Moccasin Bend archeological district, one of the most unique parts of the region with remnants of past human activity dating back 12,000 years. The 18-hole course was built in 1966.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.