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Metamora Fields an ‘ace’ in ISU grad Weibring’s book

August 16, 2011

METAMORA — When D.A. Weibring made a hole-in-one last Friday at the U.S. Senior Open, he was asked in the press tent how many career aces that gave him.

“I was embarrassed because I’ve lost track,” said Weibring on Monday morning. “It’s 20-something.”

What brought the Illinois State graduate back to Central Illinois was anything but embarrassing. In fact, it’s almost unheard of in these difficult economic times.

Metamora Fields Golf Club, the brainchild of Jim and Carol Ring, celebrated its grand opening Monday. It was designed by Weibring and his Dallas-based firm, Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design. A 25,000-square foot clubhouse, complete with a full-scale restaurant and banquet facility, opened last December.

“New projects are not happening right now,” said Weibring.

The Golf Foundation reported that more courses closed than opened in 2010 for the fifth straight year. That trend is expected to continue in 2011.

The 58-year-old Weibring maintains his playing career on the Champions Tour while devoting much of his time and energy to his businesses, Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design and Golf Resources Group. Dan Budzius, a Dwight High School graduate and former ISU golfer, is president of Golf Resources and serving as Metamora Fields’ general manager.

Weibring’s groups have no other new projects ongoing, but are involved in several renovations. They will unveil a renovation in the Dallas suburb of Plano later this fall.

It was about four years ago when Weibring first met with the Rings at the nearby McDonald’s to discuss opening a golf course. Surprisingly, the Rings are not golfers. They sold their family business, National Wheel-O-Vator Co. in Roanoke, in 2008 and wanted to turn 195 acres of farmland they eventually purchased into a golf course with a clubhouse big enough for social events such as wedding receptions and outings.

“They really had a vision to do something nice for the community. I can’t get that across any stronger,” said Weibring. “We’ve been involved in so many projects throughout the years. There’s sometimes an investment motivation, there’s a variety of different things. But this family made an investment in a challenging time of the economy to do something nice for their community.”

Those who played Monday found Metamora Fields’ layout to be generous off the tee and fair into the greens. Native grass is on the outer edges of the fairways to give a “bronze and framing look … and not to gobble people’s golf balls,” said Weibring, because there were no trees on the original property.

Four holes on the back nine had to be reseeded a couple times and haven’t matured as much, but the rest of the course has grown in well. Cost is $49 during the week and $59 on weekends, including cart.

“The forward tees will be very accessible for kids, ladies and seniors,” said Weibring. “If you go to the back tees and the wind blows a little bit, it gives you all you want.”

Weibring, who has won $7.85 million, five tourneys and one major (the 2008 Senior TPC) since turning 50, wants to extend his playing career a little longer.

He underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery last November in hopes of “keeping myself in shape to invest in having maybe a few more years.”

The healing process has taken a little longer than he expected, but Weibring is starting to feel better every week. Weibring has earned $137,691 in 12 tourneys, with his best finish a tie for 16th at Pebble Beach three weeks ago.

“It’s not like me not to have a top 10 (finish), yet I have to listen to what the doctor says and give myself a benefit of a doubt,” said Weibring, who is off to Minneapolis this week for the 3M Championship. “I’ll only play if I can be competitive. I knew this year, certainly half of it, would be a challenge. We’ll go from there.”

Read more: http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/recreation/golf/article_fa655b8e-bcad-11e0-8002-001cc4c002e0.html#ixzz1VCYmaAJD

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