In 1989, he captured our hearts when he was the main character of the movie “Field of Dreams.”

Yes, every hardcore baseball fan can still remember vividly Kevin Costner standing in the middle of that corn field deep in the heart of Iowa when he heard “The Voice” whisper, “If you build it, he will come.”

Ray Kinsella, a die-hard Major League Baseball fan portrayed by Costner, did indeed build a baseball field in the middle of his acres of corn — and come they did.

That same scenario can be said today of the newly renovated Burnside Island State Park Golf Course.

Come they have, and in droves. And why not? This new course is absolutely beautiful.

The course at Burnside Island State Park underwent a big-time face lift a little over two years ago, as the entire course went through a re-design stage, with new grass being placed all throughout the 18 holes, with many new holes and challenges being added on the back nine, replacing the old ones that had been in place since the beginning.

On May 23, 2008, the course re-opened to the public, and to say the first year was a big hit would be somewhat of a gross understatement.

“We were just a little shy of 23,000 rounds of golf being played here in our first year after we reopened last May,” stated the course’s golf pro Ron Roberts.

“We’ve had rave reviews from the golfers who have came down here and played our new course, and they especially love the back nine, which is totally different than the old back nine,” Roberts added. “We have been very pleased with the response that we’ve had from the public during our first year.”

The old Burnside Golf Course consisted of Bermuda Grass on both the tee boxes and the fairways, but like the course layout, even the grass has been replaced with today’s new and improved version.

Burnside’s course superintendent Greg Blevins, who has served in that capacity for the past six years, says that he’s been extremely pleased with how things have gone so far with the new course.

“We replaced the Bermuda on the tee boxes with L93 Bent Grass, and then we put Zoysia Grass throughout all the fairways,” pointed out Blevins. “Zoysia Grass is the Cadiliac of grass.”

“We had it all sodded in during the reconstruction phase of the course, and I’ve been very well pleased with how it’s stood up to the test, and I think the golfers like it better too,” said Blevins. “I’ve really been pleased with the results we’ve gotten so far, and I think it will only get better with time. Of course, we couldn’t do it, or enjoy the course we have today, without the hard work of our maintenance staff. They put in the time and put in the work, and they all do a great job.”

Par on the new course is 71, and there are 52 bunkers throughout. (I should know, I was in several of those bunkers last Thursday when I played the course for the first time.)

While playing the new Burnside Island Golf Course last week, I ran into Whitney Casada, a 2005 graduate and former standout on the Lady Briar Jumper golf team at Somerset High School.

Casada, who was only playing her second round of golf this summer last week, pared three consecutive holes on the back nine, and totally agreed with both Blevins and Roberts, that the new course at Burnside is simply fabulous.

“This is not only a beautiful golf course, but the way they changed the back nine is simply awesome — I love playing here,” stated Casada. “I would like to thank state representative Tommy Turner for all of his hard work in helping get this done, because I know he had a large part in it. I’m sure everyone in Pulaski County is grateful to him for all of his hard work in makiing this happen.”

“The citizens of Pulaski County now have a state park golf course that is simply amazing, and one that is beautiful too,” Casada added.

Blevins says that in the future, his hope for the new course will be to host some major tournaments down the line.

“We’d like to get some amateur tournaments down here in the future, like a state qualifier or something along that line,” Blevins stated. “Right now, we’re just happy to have a very good and beautiful golf course to offer the citizens of Pulaski County, as well as all of the guests that may visit Burnside Island State Park.”

For now though, they keep coming and coming to enjoy a new golf course — one that is absolutely beautiful.

Unlike Ray Kinsella’s dream, this isn’t baseball, but the folks at Burnside Island State Park Golf Course certainly hit a home run when they unveiled these 18 holes last May.

The new course at Burnside Island is certainly every golfer’s “Field of Dreams.”

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