Pebble Creek to reopen under new ownership

By Traci Chapman
Published on June 19, 2008

Pebble Creek Golf Course should have a new owner this week, and golfers could be teeing off this weekend.

Local residents and business owners Steve Baker and his wife, Carla Baker, said Monday they are expecting their purchase of the golf course from developer Robert Crout to be final sometime this week. If the closing proceeds as scheduled, Steve Baker said he plans to open for business Saturday.

“We’ve been working on the course to get it ready for opening. We’ve started mowing and edging and mostly concentrating on the greens,” he said.

Steve Baker said he and his crew have been running mowers, picking up debris left over from the Dec. 10 ice storm, smoothing sand pits and charging golf cart batteries.

“There are so many little things involved in getting a course like this up and running again,” he said.

Crout closed the course in October, earlier than he had originally anticipated, due to “problems” with it because of heavy rains earlier in the year. At that time, he said “some pretty substantial renovations” needed to be made to the course before he reopened it in March. After months of trying to sell the course — and a failed sale to Tate Publishing — Crout said in April he would develop the property if a buyer didn’t materialize by the end of the summer.

Crout said he was “relieved” the property sold as a golf course, as it was originally designed.

“The property would be good for so many different applications, but I think having a golf course in Mustang is really great,” he said. “I know Steve will make a real success out of it.”

Buying Pebble Creek is not the Bakers’ first encounter with the golf course industry. Steve Baker has been a golf professional, on and off, since 1975. He started as an assistant golf pro in Clovis, New Mexico, before moving to another assistant pro position in Tulsa. He was head golf professional and manager at Westbury Golf Course in Yukon from 1980 to 1985.

Carla Baker is no stranger to working the greens either. She was membership director and assistant manager at Westbury for 11 years, leaving the course in 1992.
Carla Baker said the family took a break from golfing and in 2003 bought Mustang Quik Lube.

However, Steve Baker said, the lure of the greens proved too strong, and about a month ago, when he learned a planned sale of the course to Tate Publishing had fallen through, he started “seriously looking” at purchasing the course.

“Carla was out of town, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea,” Steve Baker said. “She came back home, and I told her there was something I wanted her to see.”

“I knew we were going to do it right from the start,” Carla Baker said with a laugh. “He was so excited about the project.”

The Bakers said the course will be open 7 days a week “from dawn to dusk.” Steve Baker said he hopes with the rising cost of fuel, nearby residents will look at the course as a source of local entertainment. The couple also plans to form leagues and will offer lessons, they said.

“We really want to cater to beginning golfers, junior and senior golfers and offer family-friendly entertainment,” Carla Baker said. “It’s also a great green for more experienced golfers to practice on.”

Pebble Creek will offer lessons to beginning and intermediate golfers, Steve Baker said, and will try to attract corporate and small business and church groups looking for golf outings.

“It’s such a well-designed, challenging course, and it’s very appealing with the creek and the spring-fed pond — we’re looking forward to a bright future with it,” he said. “We’ve already had a lot of interest since we started working the property, so hopefully that’s a good sign.”

For more information, call 376-8892.

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