HUNTINGTON – Lee Cutting and Jason Kennedy share a passion for golf. Kennedy has been involved with business operations of one kind of another for almost 30 years with Kevin Killen. So naturally the three got together and bought a golf course.
The three friends officially became owners of the Norwood Golf Club on July 1, with the goal of restoring the 45-year-old course to the one that was host to the 1985 Indiana State Open.
I grew up on this golf course, Kennedy said. It was a lifelong dream to have some stake in a golf course; it was not something that I thought would happen this quickly. The right opportunity came available and here we are. We are looking forward to bringing back some of the pride in the community, the neighborhood and the whole nine yards with the reconditioning.
Along with Cutting’s wife, Stephanie, and Killen’s wife, Mandy, they bought the course from Lance Feightner, who had owned it since 1993.
Cutting, who was the acting associate head professional for the last three years, now becomes the director of operations in charge of the day-to-day business of the course, the golf shop, the lounge and the bar.
Cutting and Kennedy have been members at Norwood for almost two decades.
The game of golf within our community has kind of fizzled out a little bit, Cutting said. We just want to bring it back to what it used to be, kind of get Norwood back to the glory days. In the 1980s, the Indiana Open was held here, and it has kind of gone downhill since those days. We want a good place for our members to be and enjoy coming to and enjoy the camaraderie among others in the community. That’s kind of our goal.
All three graduated in the 1990s from Huntington North. Cutting and Killen graduated from Huntington University, while Kennedy got a degree from Indiana University.
Kennedy said he and Killen have been friends since around the age of 6 when they sold candy to friends, which led to getting into sports collectibles.
We have been in business together in one form or another for almost 30 years, Kennedy said.
Kennedy is the general manager for Bart’s Car Store in Fort Wayne, Killen owns Thorne Insurance agency in Huntington and Cutting has been involved in sales and marketing in the medical field.
Between the three of us, we have a lot of different talents and resources we bring to the table that another ownership group or individual may not have access to, Kennedy said. Without these two gentlemen, I would not be involved in this.
The changes to the course have already begun to take shape with new sand and work on the cart paths.
There are plans to renovate the two buildings. Also in the works are increasing the leagues for children, women and seniors and getting more food options in the lounge and bar, as well as adding a golf simulator for winter-time indoor golf.
We are jumping in right away, Cutting said. But we are not going to change everything overnight. We want to show subtle changes in the beginning and continue to work on things week by week to let people know we are making the proper changes, and we are going to keep moving forward.
But the three are also working on increasing membership by getting the word out about the change in ownership and the plans for the future. Kennedy said increasing membership will be critical to the course’s success.
The biggest challenge has been making sure the community is buying in with us at this point and make sure they know we are here to stay and the changes we need to make to get the community excited about coming back to Norwood again, Cutting said.