A Greenville grad doing good; a conversation with Chris Rutherford

From the Sidelines

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In 1986, Greenville graduate Chris Rutherford had no idea he would one day own a golf course. Thirty-eight years later, he is the proud owner of Boone’s Trace National Golf Club in Richmond, Kentucky. Located at 175 Gleneagles Drive, it is a beautiful and very challenging 18-hole course built on a mountain with some really beautiful views.

For those of you old enough to remember, Chris’s dad, Lee, owned WDRK, “The Bright Spark in Darke” in Greenville from 1968 to 1996. While in Greenville, Lee started Tower Sound and Communications, a venture that started in-store broadcasting for companies like Kmart and Jamesway, which evolved into another company called Echostat in Kentucky, which would use technology to help multiple stores for POS processing and security.

The family moved to Kentucky in 1996 to pursue the two companies.  In 2014, the company was sold, and Chris who was only 47 at the time, didn’t want to retire yet, so started looking for something to do.  Their financial person, who was main-stake owner of the golf course asked Chris if he would be interested in ownership? Chris thought about it and bought the course, and along with his wife Kelly, started a business that the whole family is involved with.

After our little group played I got to ask Chris a few questions in the really nice clubhouse and bar that they have there. I asked him what is the worst thing, and the best thing about owning a golf course?  He thought a minute and said right now, not knowing how people now are spending money, and that is a big uncertainty.  The best part? “ So many different things….the beauty of it, and working with family” was the two biggest things he enjoys.

Chris likes the maintenance part of it, and wife Kelly, well, she is the people person, and when you meet her, she is always smiling and cheerful and makes everyone feel welcome.  When asked about future plans for the course, Chris said they have a master plan in place, and they will have an architect come in and do a full-scale look at different areas to improve: bunkers, waste areas, different placements, etc. The improvements and plans will never end for Chris and Boone’s Trace, as he wants to make it the best it can be.

Chris said at times the does miss the simple life in Greenville, because it is so busy here. He misses his old friends, but this was such an opportunity for him and the family. I asked him the future in ten years for Boone’s Trace and he said more homes built, more improvements and more amenities for people.

Owning a golf course does not give Chris much time to play golf, but he loves the working part of it.  He likes working with the superintendent, and the machinery, while Kelly takes care of the people and players. 

This was the second time I got to play Boone’s Trace, and I can tell you there is no better golf course, amenities, nor people than those here.  Chris and Kelly are the nicest people, and they are the hardest-working, too! It is nice to see Greenville people like Chris succeed in a very competitive business and still remain a small-town guy with those qualities that make people proud to know him and be around.  Boone’s Trace is a beautiful place run by first-class people, and they will continue to make improvements and make everyone feel welcome.  Good luck to them both!

That’s the way I see it….from the sidelines!