Roberta Orians, Kevin Fox and E.J. Croll know a lot about farming and not a lot about golf courses – but they’re learning.
Orians, who lives in Curtice, Fox, from Graytown, and Croll, from Oak Harbor, all grow corn and soybeans and other various crops. They have, however, added a second career. They are the new owners of Hidden Hills Golf Club in Woodville.
“Right now all I can say is, since we got the course it’s been pretty overwhelming,” said Orians, who added that whipping the 5,687-yard course into shape is “just like farming.”
|Kevin Fox, Roberta Orians and EJ Croll near a new sand trap at Hidden
Hills Golf Course on County Rd. 16 just outside of Woodville. (Press
photo by Ken Grosjean)
“It’s all weather related,” she said. “We are very much weather people. We live by weather, I guess.”
Orians, Fox and Croll and their spouses – Karl Orians, Kathy Fox and Suzette Croll – purchased Hidden Hills at auction from Mickey Pierce’s family last August. The six new owners officially opened the course on Sept. 1 and have been working hard to get it just the way they want it ever since.
“All six of us kind of have their job, and everybody is helping including my son (Rob),” Roberta Orians said. “The seven of us, we are just going, going, going. I would hate to be in this by myself.”
The course, located on County Road 16 in Woodville, was built by Pierce’s parents and was family-owned for 44 years.
Kevin Fox, whose wife is now Hidden Hills’ bookkeeper, said he had “no idea” what he was getting into when he bought Hidden Hills, but he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“The price was appealing,” he said. “We bought it, and the first day we had it we started learning what we had to do. We had to get a food license, and the septic tank was in bad repair. We bought the liquor license with the facility, we’re remodeling the pro shop. It’s going to be really nice. We hired a (course) superintendent (Paul Rising) the first week we bought it, and we’re real happy with him.
“We want to make it a nice community golf course, a nice place where people don’t have to drive to Toledo to go golfing. We’re having fun, but right now is a hectic time. The Orians family was our ‘golf’ people. Their son works here and is doing a real good job for us. I’m learning, but we feel we have some good people in place.”
The new owners have done everything from removing and upgrading bunkers, repairing and installing bridges over Toussaint Creek, streamlining the cart paths, hauling away dead Ash trees and, perhaps most importantly, renovating the clubhouse.
“The clubhouse is all handicap accessible,” Orians said. “It was so outdated, and we wanted to update the bathrooms. We had to gut the whole thing to make it handicap accessible. We got a superintendent right away and he’s doing a good job. Our greens are good. He’s really brought them back; right now we’re trying to maintain them and make them better at the same time.
“A couple years ago the parking lot was always packed and it was a really nice place, and that’s what we want to get back to. We’ve basically started from zero, and it can only get better.”
Orians added that the course renovation is three-quarters of the way completed. She said the new owners plan to have a full league schedule and golf outings.
“Things are very positive at this point,” Orians said. “We’re looking for the future to be real positive. We’re serious, we’re back, and it’s going to be good. Everyone should come out and check us out. Be patient with us. We hope the people come out and see it and keep coming back.”