Long-time Madera County golf center under new ownership

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The start of a new year brings new beginnings to what has been known for the last 19 years as River Park Golf Center.

In October, owners sold the property to Valley Children's Hospital, who planned on using the 59-acre property for a possible expansion on the Madera County campus.

"We don't have anything like it in town so I think they saw the need for it and so decided to lease the property," said owner and operator Cindy Vining.

After proposing the idea to the hospital board, LPGA teaching professional Vining will operate Valley Golf Center.

Those coming to the grand opening will notice some changes to the 9-hole course and added targets for the 60-station driving range.

"It's been really friendly in the past and we want to make it a place where people want to have fun on a Friday or Saturday night and cater to all golfers," said Vining.

Twenty-nine school teams in the Fresno-Madera area, including Fresno State, use the greens for practice as well as The First Tee.

The first tee is a non-profit organization offering youth development programs that use golf to help children learn the importance of sportsmanship, honesty, and integrity.

"Not that they have to be fantastic golfers but just that they can enjoy the game of gold and the comradery that comes with it is just a wonderful thing," said First Tee Board member Todd Hansen.

In the last seven years, First Tee has reached 10's of thousands of children in the Central Valley.

"It just makes me feel like I'm just out on stage being calm and I'm happy even if I don't hit it that far," said First Tee golfer Danay Ferguson.

"Golf is about having fun and if you hit a bad shot you just have to let it go and move on," said First Tee student Ky Duong.

Duong, 13, has been playing this course since he was seven.

"The range is really nice and I love playing the course too," said Duong.

New Year's Eve is your last chance to play River Park Golf Center, before it becomes Valley Golf Center, which opens January 12th.
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