EXETER — Pulling up to Four Seasons Golf Club, one would think it’s Sunday morning at a prominent golf course in the Florida panhandle. Yet, it’s a Tuesday — in Exeter.
There are golf carts everywhere, as is that definitive “ping” sound of a driver screeching throughout the property.
Each Tuesday, nearly 80 women from all over the Wyoming Valley gather at the club for the “Diamonds in the Rough” golf league.
The league was founded nearly 30 years ago at the former Jean’s Run Golf Course in Muhlenburg — that course is now called Morgan Hills Golf Course. When Jean’s Run closed, the league shifted to Applewood Golf Course between Harding and Dallas. When Applewood closed in 2011, the league moved to Four Seasons for the first time.
According to league president Noreen Jones, who is in her first term and has been playing in the league for nearly its entire existence, the course in Exeter started to take a turn for the worse three years ago. Once again, a move to another course was voted on. For the last two years, the league called Wilkes-Barre Golf Club in Bear Creek its home.
The Wilkes-Barre Golf Club wasn’t the right fit. The club wanted a set amount of golfers to show up each week or the league would be financially responsible to pick up the rest. With approximately 70 paid members, the league would average about 40 players at Wilkes-Barre Golf Club.
Back at Four Seasons, which is under new management, the league has a bit more freedom. Jones said the league is now getting more players each week.
A different style
Diamonds in the Rough is not a typical golf league. Most leagues in the area feature two- or four-person teams competing against each other every week. This league is competitive, but there are no teams.
Each player hits the course and plays for their own score each week. At the end of the season, a banquet is held and prizes are awarded for the best scores, which also includes handicapped net scores. This allows all players to have a shot at earning a prize.
“It’s very fun and I can’t stress that enough,” Jones said. “The women are very enjoyable. You have the women that are competitive, too, and they want to go out. We’re all there to improve the game, but the bottom line is that it is fun.”
Although the league is designed to have fun on the golf course, it’s also helping the community.
Each year, the league votes on a local non-profit, or a family in need of assistance, to make a charitable donation. This past June, the league raised $3,000 for a local resident who was battling cancer.
Course on par
As far as making the decision to come back to Four Seasons, Jones said, “So far, so good.”
David Fosko purchased the 18-hole course about a year ago and has been improving the grounds ever since. Fosko, of Dallas, specialized in golf management at Penn State University. While making improvements to the play of the course, Fosko also concentrated on getting the bar/restaurant and patio are up to par.
“He did a lot of improvements to the course,” Jones said. “Dave is very good and manages the course well and works with us.”
Once a month, the league hosts a “fun night.” This year, Fosko closed the course down so the dozens of golfers could take over the 18 holes for their night.
“The golf course is in better shape than it was,” Jones said.
The most recent fun night was held Tuesday, July 12. The theme of this fun night was Christmas in July. Yes, members were dressed in the holiday attire, and hit the golf course running.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick