Published May 05. 2022 01:10PM
For longtime golfers in the area, White Birch Golf Course has always served as an oldie, but a goodie.
The 18-hole championship course and nine-hole executive course nestled within the mountains and valleys in Barnesville has always given players the true “mom and pop” feel with a welcoming allure for players of all skill levels.
In December, White Birch was sold, with longtime owner Linda Godshall selling the course, restaurant and houses on the property to new owners Randy Kurzinsky and his girlfriend Jasmine Colon. Kurzinsky, who is a Barnesville native, was residing in Florida when his father, Dave Kurzinsky, started to pursue the deal for the course after a previous deal between Godshall and another interested buyer fell through. Once the ink was dry on the dotted line, Kurzinsky and Colon packed up and moved north where they now live in a house that is located on the property. The couple will manage and operate both the course and restaurant.
“By December, we had an agreement and then by the first or second week of January, we were driving here from Florida. I really have to thank my dad for doing all the negotiations and all the preliminary work to get the deal done,” said Kurzinsky. “Being the owners of a golf course – a course that I grew up playing on and that I have always loved – is honestly a dream come true.
“I’ve always loved the game and no matter what job I’ve had in my life, I’ve always worked in the golf industry on the side. I’ve always wanted to do something with golf, and now I am. So this is exciting for sure.”
Kurzinsky played golf for three years at Mahanoy Area before transferring to Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida for his senior season to pursue a playing career in golf. Kurzinsky then attended Lasalle University in Philadelphia, where he competed on the golf team, and then continued to pursue a professional golf career by playing on the mini tours in Florida.
Ultimately, Kurzinsky decided to put aside his dream of playing golf professionally to pursue a career in accounting, which is the profession he was employed in before recently taking over White Birch.
“It was a great experience to pursue a playing career, and to play at some of the best courses in Florida. Our home course for Dr. Phillips High School was Bayhill, so you can imagine how great of an experience that was getting to play on that course numerous times,” said Kurzinsky. “But as anyone who has pursued a career playing golf knows, it is very difficult, so I decided to get my accounting degree and work in that field, which was going really well.
“But when the opportunity to own and operate a golf course where I grew up came about, it was just too good to pass up.”
Kurzinsky and his staff have already been hard at work to make improvements at the course. They have been clearing dead trees and limbs, trimming overgrown bushes and trees, eliminating clover in the fairway, reshaping bunkers, and improving the greens. In addition, 40 new Yamaha golf carts have been added to the courses current fleet of 50 carts.
“There has been a lot of tree trimming – especially on holes one through five,” said Kurzinsky. “Green-wise, we want the greens to be around an eight or nine on the stimp rating, which would be a nice speed for the type of experience we want golfers to have here. The big issue coming in was with clover in the middle of the fairways, and we wanted to address that right away. I brought in a good friend of mine from Orlando, Hayden Jones, who is experienced in course maintenance, to be our greenskeeper and he has done a great job.
“John Rizzo and Alex Danasavich have also been a big help here early on, and of course my dad; he’s been helping out a lot too. We have a great team here that has helped us get going, and my girlfriend is doing an amazing job with the restaurant, which we’re excited to keep that tradition going as well.”
This Saturday will be the official grand opening for White Birch, which will be sponsored by the Yuengling Brewery.
The entire day will be centered around the “best of Schuylkill County” featuring golf at White Birch, Yuengling beer, Kowalonek’s Kielbasy, Mrs. T’s Pierogis and homemade bleenies, which will be complimentary to all those in attendance throughout the day.
Golfers are urged to contact the pro shop (570-467-2525) for a tee time.
The White Birch Golf Course in Barnesville under new ownership. The course has already undergone numerous changes in preparation for this Saturday’s grand opening. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO