Man decides to buy golf course while playing one day


Drew Bracken, Correspondent
Published 4:00 p.m. ET July 14, 2019

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Tim and Karen Messerschmidt purchased Wildfire four years ago

NEW CONCORD – Tim Messerschmidt grew up in Cambridge. He always loved trucks and heavy equipment.

“I used to sit with my back to Tunnel Hill Road in Cambridge,” he recalled, “and quiz myself to see if I could identify the truck approaching by the engine sounds. I always dreamed of working with equipment.”

His dream came true.

After graduating from Cambridge High School (class of 1960) and Ohio State, where he studied industrial education, he owned an excavation/construction company for 40 years. Then four summers ago he bought Wildfire Golf Club.

“I don’t have any technical background or education in golf course management,” he said. “But I learned from the construction business, like grading and how to roll slopes.” (To which he added, “I don’t wear golf clothes. I look like I just came crawling up out of a ditch.”)

“Down by Marietta,” he continued, “there was an old gas station and there was a little restaurant in it and the guy kept it immaculate. That’s the way I like it. Keep it clean, and you can see improvements. We’ve had many, many people tell us this year that we now have one of the nicest golf courses in this whole part of the country. And it’ll continue to get better.”

Interestingly, it’s not so much the fact Messerschmidt and his wife Karen own Wildfire Golf Club as the way they bought it. 

“When I started my business, I didn’t have time for golf,” Tim started the story. “When I turned 55 some guys invited me to a golf outing, and I enjoyed it. So by the time I was 60 I was playing once a week. We had a membership at the country club and after I sold the company, I took some equipment to the club and we worked there about three years redoing some fairways and cleaning all the ponds.

“Well,” he continued, “my brother retired and started playing golf. So I said, ‘We’ll go to Wildfire and start playing.’ So we got in the senior’s league and after a year or so we heard it was sold. Then we realized it didn’t go through. I knew the owner so I said to him, ‘What will you take for it today?’ He told me. I went home and I said to my wife, ‘I think we’re going to buy the golf course.’ So my wife said, ‘Well, just go buy it.’ And I did.”

This is where Karen picks up the story.

“After he retired,” she said, “he worked at the Cambridge Country Club. After they got all that done, he didn’t have anything to do again. So he joined the senior league out here and he came home one day and said, ‘Honey, is it all right if we buy the golf course so I’ll have something to do?’ And I said, ‘OK.’ So here we all are. I didn’t know I was going to have something to do too.”

Which, as it turns out, is just fine with Karen. “It’s fun,” she said. “I’m having a ball out here. I work the inside and he works the outside. In fact, if I say something about the outside work, he reminds me that I’m the inside person and he’s the outside person – and there are a few times I have to remind him!”

Then she added as a last thought, “We’ve got the best hot dogs between New Concord and Bloomfield. But no beer. I’m not going to sell beer to somebody and have them drive down 83.”

Wildfire Golf Club is located at 4230 Friendship Drive in New Concord. For more information, call 740-826-7606 or log on www.wildfiregolfohio.com.

About the series

Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at trnews@zanesvilletimesrecorder.com.

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