By Brad Lucht
It’s springtime, and a young person’s thoughts turn to … golf? That certainly is the case at the Martin City Golf Center.
John Richmond and his co-owner Rob Wilkin are taking what was already an established golf center owned by siblings Mark and Robin Nigro and growing it into what Richmond describes as the new standard in golf.
“Mark and Robin (Nigro) have built a pretty good business, a pretty good foundation for it. It’s kind of a win-win. You don’t have to start from scratch … we’re just hoping to keep it going.”
“Most people look at this as a range, a place to come hit balls, take a few lessons,” observed Richmond. “We’re moving to year-long practice sessions. They’ll have access to the most up-to-date high-tech equipment. We have the best fitters in the Midwest.”
“We want to be the place, where, when people are playing golf with someone, they are going to say, “Hey, you know, we’re going to get better.” The first thing out of their mouth, we want it to be, “Martin City Golf Center”.
“You can get your golf clubs, you can get everything you need to get better. They’ve got coaching programs, they’ve got a range … Golf-halla,” Richmond enthused.
Richmond, a PGA professional, started working at the Sports Complex about a year ago to get a feel for things. He has been working as a golf teacher for over 28 years. His partner, Rob Wilkin, played eight years on the PGA tour. Both are past Presidents of the Midwest Section PGA.
“It runs in the blood,” explained Richmond. “My partner and I, we’re both golf lifers … we’ve been in it forever.”
What Richmond has learned after all his years of teaching is that there is no perfect swing. “Each person has their own perfect swing,” he emphasized. “If I take two steps into the air from the free throw line and stick my toungue, does that mean I’ll be able to dunk like Michael Jordon? No! No two perfects are the same.”
Make it fun
One of the innovations coming to the Martin City Golf Center this summer is Women & Wine on Wednesdays. A women’s clinic will be held each Wednesday, with wine tasting taking place inside the tent, along with tips on how to improve your swing. “We just want to make it fun,” explained Richmond.
Families that golf together …
“There’s more interest in golf by kids now than there was,” said Richmond. “The problem is, trying to keep them interested. It’s an attention span thing. It really depends on the kid and their attention span.
“I think what one of the biggest things is, everyone thinks golf is expensive. It’s cheaper than your kid playing soccer, it’s cheaper than your kid playing AAU basketball. You can do it longer, and the whole family gets to spend time together. Mom and dad don’t have to sit in the bleachers behind the fence.”
Richmond is hopeful the Martin City Golf Center will have their grand opening the first weekend in April, in conjunction with Demo Days.
Representatives from TaylorMade will be on hand Friday, March 31, to demonstrate the TaylorMade Performance Lab, a fitting and learning system that uses 3D Motion Capture Technology. It is the only one of its kind in the Midwest.
The following day, Saturday, April 1, representatives from every equipment manufacturer represented in the golf center will be present to meet with area golfers.
The Martin City Golf Center is located at 1 E 135th St, at the south end of Wornall Road. Call (816) 941-9000 to learn more about how you can improve your golf game, or visit their web site at martincitygc.com.