Jim, Debbie Cook to retire from Meeker Golf Course

Early golfers worked diligently whenever they could to get the Meeker golf course up and running. Jim Cook (far left) had his earliest professional ties to Meeker Golf Course in 1991, when he began working there.

Running Meeker Golf Course was a family effort for golf pro Jim Cook. He took care of the grounds while his wife, Debbie, and daughters Jennifer and Wendy ran the restaurant and pro shop.
Running Meeker Golf Course was a family effort for golf pro Jim Cook. He took care of the grounds while his wife, Debbie, and daughters Jennifer and Wendy ran the restaurant and pro shop.
MEEKER I Meeker Golf Course is absolutely beautiful this year, largely due to the endless time and effort Jim Cook has put in over his near 20-year career. It has been a family effort over the years for Jim, his wife Debbie, and two daughters Jennifer (Steve) Vandyke, and Wendy (Jason) Lay.
“They are going to miss Debbie the most out here,” Jim said.
For several years, the Cooks ran the restaurant, pro shop and Jim not only took on pro duties like giving private lessons and running golf tournaments, he also made incredible improvements to the course year after year.
From planting countless trees to adding bunkers, adding and improving the water system, enlarging the greens and improving their quality and speed, Jim has made the local golf course a favorite among his peers and for avid golfers visiting the area. In fact, when asked what he will miss the most he said, “Getting the greens exactly how I like them and then playing.”
The greens are perhaps the most visible aspect of the course that Jim devoted so much time to. Early on, he recognized the need for something that would make the course unique and set a trend now popular in other area courses.
Jim began working at the course in 1991 when his father decided to sell the Meeker Herald. His father asked Jim if he wanted take over the paper, but Jim said he did not want to buy the paper, he wanted to mow greens.
He began doing just that. At the time, he had five years to get his professional certification.
The course officially opened in 1970 thanks to the efforts of many local participants. People like Sam Barone, Charlie Holmes, Mary Villa, Frank Cooley, Floyd Lischke, (namesake for the tournament), and others who spent countless days picking rocks, painting the clubhouse and making the course all it has become.
“Hats off to those guys who got the golf course going,” Cook said.
Local businessman Doyle Berry, devoted to getting a public course, bought a school house located in a small town on the Wyoming-Colorado border. He had it transported to become the clubhouse and the stockholders pitched in to get it looking nice and in working order.
The land and first equipment was purchased with a $100,000 FHA grant eventually paid off by the county during the oil shale boom.
Early golfers worked diligently whenever they could to get the Meeker golf course up and running. Jim Cook (far left) had his earliest professional ties to Meeker Golf Course in 1991, when he began working there.
Early golfers worked diligently whenever they could to get the Meeker golf course up and running. Jim Cook (far left) had his earliest professional ties to Meeker Golf Course in 1991, when he began working there.
During the early years, Jim’s family practically lived at the golf course — preparing meals, cleaning the area, managing the grounds and simply welcoming people in their own special way. They hosted countless public events and the large tournaments limited extra help to pull everything together.
It all made forlong days and, often, sleepless nights, but the events were always well-attended and filled with good memories.
A golf course scrapbook shows a packed house for dress-up parties, New Year’s celebrations and people simply sitting around laughing, enjoying the always-friendly environment the Cooks created.
Jennifer, Wendy and Debbie worked endlessly in the heat of the kitchen, cooking, serving, waiting tables and then found the energy to interact with guests, help in the pro shop and ensure everyone was enjoying themselves.
It was a family affair that helped instill the ability to be gracious hosts.
The golf course was as well known for its golf as it was for its service in the clubhouse, and the combination was a task so difficult only a family with great energy could pull it off, particularly over the long term.
Through the years, Jim has had three invaluable employees in Lorrette Sykes, Donny McPherson and Irv Griffin. Sykes and McPherson will be saying goodbye this year as well. Their dedication to the course has been a gift and will certainly be missed.
Along the way, there have always been great volunteers, such as Rod Crawford, as well as young kids finding their first jobs at the course and learning to work extremely hard. This year, Chase Rule has done exactly that.
The golf industry, along with the entire U.S. economy, has taken a hit due to the many outdoor recreational options, the ever-growing entertainment industry and more competition.
“It has been an effort to keep the golf course alive,” Jim said. “It is a nice golf course reasonably priced,” and his family’s labor has kept it in prime condition for 20 of the 40 years it has been in operation.
It is the Cooks’ commitment to the public and dedication to spending as much time as necessary to maintain such a great community attribute that has made the difference for the Meeker Golf Course.
Their commitment will be greatly missed. This weekend will be the annual “Old Farts In Carts” tournament on Saturday, but Friday night at the golf course will be a celebration honoring Jim’s long-standing career.