Letter to the Editor

Haskins bids farewell after 10 years

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To the editor:

During my first tour of Blytheville in March of 2001, Ron Dawson was showing me all the sights and attractions Blytheville had to offer while trying to convince me to take the job as superintendent at Thunder Bayou.

Thunder Bayou and the Sportsplex were a real leap of faith for Blytheville, and everyone involved was apprehensive about coming through for the city and its residents. I found the small-town charm and the challenge of the situation in general to be something I just couldn't wait to be a part of.

As I move on to my next opportunity in the golf business, I look back on the time my family and I spent here with a lot of joy. I understand the cloud of politics has hung over Thunder Bayou from the start, but my family and I were treated with so much warmth and hospitality by you all that, looking back, I can hardly remember the negatives at all.

I leave behind a golf course in much the same condition as many courses throughout the country. All the basic elements are there, but the need for capital investment and the improvements that come along with it are a big necessity at this point. Blytheville should not feel alone in having a golf course that is struggling -- the vast majority are, and will also require leaps of faith to survive. I hope to see Thunder Bayou successful right alongside Blytheville, and I believe the leadership is in place for that to happen.

Mayor Sanders and his administration are working hard and in the right way to bring a bright future to Blytheville. Things are looking up in Blytheville and the team is in place to face the bumps in the road ahead and come out better in the end.

On that first ride, Ron Dawson told me the decision to move to Blytheville may seem hard, but not in comparison to the decision to leave. He was so right. I just want to thank you all for your hospitality, kindness and support over these last 10 years. To all my close friends and co-workers, thank you so much for everything you have done for me and my family. You will be missed.

Jeff Haskins
Former golf course superintendent, Thunder Bayou Golf Links