Walton makes another major gift, helps to improve Pertle Springs

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – The generosity of Audrey J. Walton continues to benefit University of Central Missouri athletics as a recent gift will enable UCM to make major renovations at Pertle Springs.
The announcement of the gift from Audrey J. Walton, Versailles, through the UCM Foundation took place Thursday in a news conference at the Keth Memorial Golf Course. The amount of the gift was not disclosed.
“The University of Central Missouri values Audrey J. Walton’s continued friendship and support. Her generosity allows us to move forward with the final phase of a much-needed renovation project at Keth Memorial Golf Course that will breathe new life into our aging 1972 golf course greens, while also enhancing Pertle Springs as a destination spot and a source of pride for the entire community,” said UCM President Charles Ambrose, in a news release.
During the past year, the university entered the final phase of renovation for the golf course in cooperation with Burns & McDonnell Engineering and CE Golf Course Design. Walton’s gift will be applied toward the total cost of the project, which is estimated at $3.1 million. Additional work includes upgrading the hiking trail system at Pertle and addressing needs and improvements at Lake Cena.
The full-service 18-hole golf course at Pertle Springs was originally constructed as a nine-hole course in 1972. In the fall of 2007, the university renovated the driving range facility and removed the existing clubhouse structure. A new driving range was added in 2008.
Walton’s previous $1.5 million donation allowed the university to open a new 5,000-square-foot clubhouse in November 2011. Serving campus and community needs, the Audrey J. Walton Clubhouse includes a pro shop, Traditions restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining, staff offices, and locker room facilities for members of the Mules and Jennies golf teams and other golf course users.
UCM’s board of governors accepted a bid of nearly $3 million in November from Frontier Construction Company in Pennsylvania to renovate the greens. In addition to the gift provided by Ms. Walton, the university will pay for the entire project through athletics reserve funds and a 15-year loan provided through the UCM Foundation.
“Mrs. Walton’s gift will allow us to turn Keth Memorial Golf Course into a quality golf course design with zoysia grass fairways, PGA spec-greens and concrete cart paths,” said Jerry Hughes, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, in a news release. “It will make our facility a destination course and will only add to the experience with our current clubhouse and practice facility.”
The construction, or final phase of the project, is expected to begin in spring 2015. Facilities such as the clubhouse will remain open, but the course will close shortly after the first of the new year and will reopen sometime in early fall 2015, depending on the weather, according to Hughes. Once work is complete, the course is not expected to need major renovations for another 30 years or more.
The golf course at Pertle Springs is an auxiliary enterprise, and fees paid by campus and community members to play golf help cover ongoing maintenance.