Easters sell DeMor Hills to Justen & Kristy Reitzel 2013.03.27

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Justen and Kristy Reitzel don't see a lot of changes ahead for DeMor Hills Golf Course. As the new owners of Morenci's 18-hole course, their first objective is to continue with the services already in place.

Reitzels"I've been telling Charlie [Easter] we want to keep a good thing going," Justen said.

After several delays, former owners Charlie and Diana Easter met with the Reitzels Monday afternoon to sign the sale papers, ending  28 years of ownership for the Easter family.

There is one change that golfers and non-golfers alike will notice when the course first opens this spring: there will be no full-service restaurant.

With the closing on the sale just this week, the Reitzels are getting a late start to prepare for the golfing season. Golf is the chief product, Justen said, and the restaurant will have to wait.

"There will be food and beverages for golfers," he said. "Just not the full restaurant as in the past."

The Reitzels are well aware of the popularity of the restaurant—even to those who never touch a golf club—and they aim to restore service as soon as possible.

Justen earned a turf grass management degree and has worked as an assistant golf course superintendent for four years. Kristy has office management experience. Visitors will see her in the office, Justen said, while he'll spend a lot of time out on the course.

The Bowling Green couple had heard about DeMor Hills as a good golf course, but had never played a round here until they heard that it was for sale and came to take a look. They liked what they saw. The country atmosphere with its natural setting, the small town link, a family operation—it was just the kind of business they wanted to be associated with.

The Reitzels are in the process of contacting representatives from last year's leagues and they've sent post cards to everyone on last year's membership roster to make sure they know the course will soon open. After all, the word got around that offers were made to turn the property back into farm land after 50 years as a golf course.

"Charlie gets credit for keeping it as a golf course," Justen said.

The offers were there, Charlie said, but he and Diana hated to see that happen.

“We stuck with the plan to keep it a golf course,” he said. “You put 28 years of your life into something and you don’t want to see it go away.”

The Reitzels have heard there was a lot of concern that the facility might close for good.

"It makes us feel good to know that people want it to stay open," Justen said, but for the near future, he wouldn't mind seeing snow in the forecast for a while longer.

There's a lot of work to do with equipment and grounds before an opening date is established, and the Reitzels are still settling into their new home at the course.

“It’s been a bittersweet day,” Charlie said after signing over ownership, but already he knows his life is going to be a lot less stressful.

There’s plenty of hard work involved in running a golf course and restaurant, but there’s a good side, too.

“All the good people we met—that’s how we justify it,” Charlie said. “We wouldn’t have traded it for the world.”

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
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  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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