The fairways at the Lake Monticello golf course were packed on Sunday. Just a few years ago, the idea of that happening seemed a long way off.
Warm weather and other factors had broken down the course's greens, fairways and tee boxes over the years and try as they might, the Lake staff couldn't stay in front of the major headache.
"And so we struggled with that for several years, with the failing of greens. It was just consistently every year," Lake Monticello pro Mark Marshall explained.
The course turned to outside help to rebuild. They hired the Billy Casper Golf group to come in and take over maintenance, rebuilding the deteriorated greens, fairways and tee boxes.
"And they turned everything around," Lake resident Cliff Altschull said. "I mean our golf course has gone from rock bottom to like 95% of what it was when it was first built and going forward from there."
During the rebuild, the course saw most of its business from Lake residents like Altschull. But with the renovations, word is now spreading and golfers from outside the Lake, like Kenny Beasley of Charlottesville, are starting to come back.
"We've been out here when it was kind of rough but now it's looking a lot better," Beasley said. "They put some time and money in it and just this year alone it's come around a whole lot."
"Some had come out a few years ago, had a poor experience, were reluctant to come back," Marshall explained. "Those golfers are now telling us nothing but nice comments about how nice the course is."
The turnaround has also put the course back in the Battle Trophy tournament rotation. The Lake hosted the Faulconer Invitational just last month after a three-year absence from the schedule, and those involved were happy to see it return.
"We've got nothing but positive responses from those that played in the Tournament. They always enjoyed the layout of the course but they really enjoyed the conditions of the course; conditions of the greens," Marshall said. "It's good to be part of the Battle Trophy and part of golf in our Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna and Greene community."
As for players like Beasley, the rebirth of the Lake Monticello course is a welcomed sight.
"This course has been a favorite of local golfers for a long time," he said. "So I think people are going to come back out and play it as soon as they hear it's in this kind of shape."