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New name for local golf course

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A new sign hangs outside River's Edge Golf Course in Shelbyville. The course was formerly known as Bear Chase.
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River's Edge is the new name for the local golf course in Shelbyville.

By PATRICK MURPHY - For The Shelbyville News

What’s in a name?

The local golf course in Shelbyville, formerly known as Bear Chase, has been through three names since its debut in 2005.

Now the course is named River’s Edge Public Golf Course. The original name was the Elks Lodge, which was owned by the Fraternal Order of the Elks. Then, it was changed to Bear Chase after a contest.

Shelbyville varsity golf coach Mark Kaiser, who practices at the course with his Golden Bears, likes the new name.

“In fact, several years ago when the course was going to be called Bear Chase, they actually ran some sort of a contest where people could submit entries for the name change,” Kaiser said. “I think one of the entries was called River’s Edge, but they decided to go with Bear Chase. This time, somebody thought of River’s Edge and didn’t realize that it was actually an entrant from the past.”

The name of the golf course fits perfectly. It lies on the edge of the Big Blue River. The owner, Wanda Wade, took over management in August and has renamed and rebranded the golf course. When Wade left in 2008, the golf course was in bad shape.

“The building was a total disaster; it was filthy, dirty and dinge,” Wade said. “When I came up here in August I had a meeting and I told the employees, ‘We’re revamping this place. We’re going to make it go places.’”

There are two other golf courses in or near Shelby County: Cypress Run and Timbergate. The reason why SHS practices at River’s Edge is because its the “closest one to us,” according to Kaiser. Since 2005, SHS has practiced at this course.

With the name change, the course has gone through some updates, both inside the clubhouse and outside on the golf course. Inside the clubhouse, people can enjoy a golf simulator, which is played on a graphical simulated driving range or course. Besides adding the golf simulator, River’s Edge has also refurbished the dining room and redid the downstairs locker rooms.

Outside on the course, River’s Edge has redone a couple of the par-3 holes, where one would have to hit over a ravine. They bulldozed those and made a couple of ponds and added some fountains.

Since the rebranding, Wade said the number of people playing on the golf course has increased.

“Our golf course is in better shape now than it has been in the last 5 years,” Wade said. “I have heard via some of those men that we have had more play in the last five days than they have seen in the last two years.”

Men have come from Maryland and Michigan to play on River’s Edge golf course. According to Wade, the men from Michigan proclaimed that “the course was in such good shape.” The men spent two days before heading to play in the PGA Masters in Augusta, Georgia.

One of the things that people may not know about the course is that it is open to the public. It has been public since 2005.

“Most people thought it was a private course like when it was when the Elks Club had it,” Wade said. “We’re going to soon have LEDs to flash off and on messages and events (on a video board outside). That’s one thing we’re going to put up there, saying: public, public, public.”

With all of these changes to the course and inside the clubhouse, Kaiser said it’s a good look compared to the past. 

“I think word will get out that they’re making changes for the better,” Kaiser said. “That will hopefully draw some more interest and more play.”

Patrick Murphy is a Sports intern for The Shelbyville News. He is a senior at Ball State University.