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Columbus News

Posted on: October 12, 2023

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Van Berg’s growing popularity fuels need for purchase of 10 new golf carts


One good thing that came out of 2019’s historic flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020 was the resurgence of interest in Van Berg Golf Course.


NOTE TO READERS: “Your Tax Dollars At Work” is a new ongoing series exploring how sales tax revenue helps the City of Columbus fund a variety of services, programs and projects to benefit the community at large.

One good thing that came out of 2019’s historic flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020 was the resurgence of interest in Van Berg Golf Course.

Located in historic Pawnee Park, the nine-hole Van Berg Golf Course was built in 1928 on property donated by Marion Van Berg, holder of horse racing owner's most career wins. The course has well-conditioned fairways with small, faster-than-average greens.

Its 5,800-yard layout makes it the perfect place for golfers who are beginners, juniors and even experts.

“It’s a nice place to play and work your game, get in a quick nine,” City Golf Course Superintendent Shawn Riedmiller said.

The historic 2019 flooding that occurred ravaged much of Nebraska, including Columbus, caused monstrous damage to the City’s 18-hole Quail Run, which continues to be rehabbed and is finding its footing once again. But Van Berg became a haven for golfers when Quail Run wasn’t an option and throughout the pandemic when people desired safe outdoor recreation.

“People were showing up who maybe hadn’t played Van Berg in 20 years after the flood and during the pandemic,” Riedmiller recalled. “Golf was one of those activities you could do during the pandemic where you still felt safe.”

The interest in Van Berg has continued to blossom even today, with local golf league play filling up slots at Quail Run during the weeknights in season.

“But the public golfer who works until 5 p.m., they need a place to play,” Riedmiller said. “I think people really just got reacquainted with Van Berg.”

Van Berg has become quite popular to the point that its 18 carts are constantly in use, with staff having to turn golfers away particularly on weekends and during the summer when none were available and people didn’t want to walk the course.

But that shouldn’t be a problem going forward. The Columbus City Council during its Oct. 2 meeting unanimously approved a quote from Nebraska Golf and Turf in the amount of $60,000 for the purchase of 10 more carts for Van Berg, which will bring its total to 28. City Public Property Director Doug Moore is excited about the purchase, noting he is hopeful they’ll be on hand by the time golf season picks up again in spring 2024.

Moore said there are 60 carts at Quail Run, though acknowledged some of those are getting toward the end of their life and will need to be replaced in the coming years.

The City public property director and golf course superintendent said they’re happy to see so many local residents and visitors put both courses to good use. Van Berg might be smaller than Quail Run, but both offer their challenges for even the best golfers.

“The greens are a lot smaller at Van Berg. You have to be a lot more accurate on shots when it comes to hitting the green. There will be a lot more chipping,” Riedmiller assured. “You won’t have a 60-foot putt at Van Berg.”

Copyright © 2023 City of Columbus

(ABOUT THE PHOTO: Golf carts at Van Berg Golf Course. Additional carts have been purchased to beef up the amount available due to demand from the public. See an enlarged version of the photo by clicking here.)

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