MEEKER I The new golf course manager, Becky Ridings, keeps it in the family, taking over for her brother Scott Bowman, who managed the course last year.
Ridings, who is almost a Meeker native (moving here when she was 2 years old), helped out at the course last year. At first she was just part of the kitchen staff, but this developed into much more. Bowman was not able to be inside as much as needed, so Ridings—with the help of her children, Viney Bowman, and Julie Bowman—took care of all the inside duties.
It was this background that actually prompted Ridings—who is not a golfer herself—to put in her proposal to The Rio Blanco Golf Association board to manage the course this year.
“I got a taste of it last year, and I just loved it up here,” Ridings said. “The board asked me to put in a proposal, so I did.”
Running the course is, indeed, “a family affair,” as Ridings put it. Viney Boman is again helping with all the inside duties. Ridings’ children also lend a hand when they can.
“We have had so many comments on this being such a family thing last year,” Ridings said. “We were just all up here, we all worked well together—it was so cool. Honestly, without the support of Scott, my mom, and my husband (Bud Ridings), I just couldn’t do this.”
Laurette Sykes will also take on Pro Shop duties periodically when needed, as she has done for several years.
This is not Ridings’ first management experience. She managed Angels and Outlaws, a daycare center in Meeker, for four years. She and her husband Bud also owned and operated Ridings Trucking Company for nine years, which hauled fuel from Denver to Flattops Fuel.
The golf course is pretty much running as it did last year, Ridings noted. While there is a desire to offer food services in the clubhouse, there just isn’t enough money to pay for additional staff. Players can still purchase drinks and packaged snacks, however.
She also added on this point, “We do have people ask about food, but I don’t think it’s enough people that would make it so we wouldn’t waste a lot of food, and that we just can’t afford.”
Managing this golf course is more than a full-time job. Ridings already puts in 12 hour days, but as the weather improves, that will quickly increase to 14. She will do very little course maintenance. This is being handled mostly by Scott Bowman, who is doing it on a volunteer basis, and any others who want to contribute. There will, however, be at least one other paid summer worker to help with maintenance.
The only major problem on the course at present is one of water. Before the course can be adequately watered using the sprinkler system, a water line will have to be replaced.
One concern has arisen among some players, namely, the new payment schedule that has been adopted by the board, which was necessary simply because of rising costs of operation.
Ridings, however, offered the encouraging news of a monthly payment option that has been implemented. “If you play only four times in a single month, 18 holes each round, you’ve paid for it,” she said. “This really is a great deal!”
Ridings also recounted just how much this little golf course is known outside of Meeker. “There was a group last year (for example) from Glenwood Springs—they called it their ‘Meeker Monday’—who came every single Monday. They love it here, and I’m betting they will be back this year.”
Just like a mother hen, Ridings even looks for other regulars and notices their absence. “All the members that you expect to be here every day learned I’m a worrier, so they would call and check in,” she said with a laugh. “Because I would tell them, if you don’t call, I’m just going to assume you’re dead in a ditch.”
Even as a non-golfer, Ridings hopes to increase her knowledge and experience so as to make improvements to the course.
“I love to learn, I’m up for the challenge, so we’ll see where it leads,” she said.