Fort Polk Guardian 08-31-2018

Vol. 45, No. 35 Published for the community of Fort Polk, La. Aug. 31, 2018 Guardian Fort Polk Inside the Guardian Retirement options ..... 3 Remembering 9/11 ..... 6 OCS brothers .............. 7 Holiday hours ............. 9 Controlling weight ...... 11 Blues travelers .......... 12 Weekend weather Today Saturday Sunday 93 92 88 73 30% 80% 60% 73 72 Rain chance Rain chance Rain chance FORT POLK, La. — Don’t be sur- prised if you see Warrior Hills Golf Course crawling with local linksters today. After a summer without golf, the popular course reopens today for play with a facelift that includes new greens, tee boxes and 10 sand traps. “We also redid the driving range tees and added a practice putting green,” Mike O’Brien, golf course manager and club pro, said. “A lot of the original look and character of the course was restored.” Ron Watkins, a retired staff ser- geant and frequent player at WHGC prior to its closure for renovations, said he’s glad to see what he consid- ers his home course reopen. “I’ve been playing on this course for a lot of years and I think they fi- nally got it right this time,” Watkins said. The renovations were driven by the fact that the golf course had ba- sically become unplayable due to its deteriorating greens and tee boxes in poor shape, O’Brien said. That led to fewer golfers who wanted to play the course. Jeff Helminiak, business opera- tions officer for the Directorate of Family Morale, Welfare and Recre- ation at Fort Polk, said a big ques- tion on whether to move forward with renovations was this: Did the post troop population support enough rounds played to generate a profit? “We’re a high-tempo war-fight- ing installation, and a training in- stallation, so that takes a large pop- ulation of our Soldiers away for sig- nificant periods of time,” he said. “That hurts the play. The question becomes, as MWR, are we a busi- ness or are we a service? In our case with high deployments, and fewer Soldiers on the course as players, the profitability goes down and some decisions were made to start cutting expenses. “When you cut expenses in labor, one of the side effects was it became more difficult to maintain the course, and it slowly deteriorated over time.” Helminiak said MWR will allow the local populace to play the course, which is in line with Fort Polk leadership’s desire to foster positive community relations with the areas around Fort Polk. “We need to communicate to the outside community that it is easy to get on post and you are allowed to get on the golf course and play. We are working with the garrison lead- Fore! Warrior Hills Golf Course reopens for play By CHUCK CANNON Guardian editor “We’re excited about our new look and the opportunity to provide a fantastic golf experience for our Soldiers, their Families and area residents.” MIKE O’BRIEN WHGC manager and club pro CHUCK CANNON / GUARDIAN Please see Golf , page 7 Retired Staff Sgt. RonWatkins works on his put- ting Aug. 28 on Warrior Hills Golf Course’s new practice putting green in prepara- tion for tackling the course today. WHGC reopens today after more than two months of renovations.