DAYTON – When Bob Runge first started running Oak Park Golf Course in Dayton, the place hurt. She needed a new greens keeper and manager and it was straining the city’s budget.
That’s when Runge stepped in and filled both roles. And now, 11 years later, the golf course is doing well and being a major attraction for the Dayton area.
Runge has made a lot of changes and improvements to the nine hole course.
“To have mowed them where people are not really looking for their ball, wasting time there” he said.
Inside the clubhouse, the town had stopped selling food because it was losing money, but Runge convinced the town to restart the kitchen.
“Now we are making money” he said. “It’s probably the biggest improvement here.”
The club house is open for breakfast and lunch daily in summer.
Membership has increased and the golf course is generating more green fees, Runge said.
A golf worker, Runge enjoys spending time outdoors and meeting everyone who comes to play the links.
The golf course attracts golfers not only from Dayton, but from across the region. One of the things that attracts golfers are the tournaments Runge hosts twice a month.
“Our tournaments are where we bring a lot of our foreigners”, he said. “And we do a cash refund (for the winners) and some courses don’t. “
The golf course also hosts many golf outings for different community groups or businesses.
“It remains quite busy” said Runge.
Runge has not always been the head of a golf course. Before starting at Oak Park, he spent 20 years working in a factory.
“It was a big change” he said.
But thanks to the management and leadership experience he gained from working in factories and the guidance of his son, who studied turf management, Runge was able to make this big change a success for his career. Oak Park golf course.
Runge has been described as a “Amazing chef” and loves to smoke meat.
Recently, when a member of the Dayton community passed away, Runge donated his time and a lot of meat, which he smoked for the family.
Off the golf course, Runge is involved with the Dayton Community Club and Celebration Committee. He helps organize parking for the annual Dayton Rodeo over Labor Day weekend.
Runge, originally from Stratford, moved to Dayton many years ago and enjoys small town life.
“I like people” he said. “I mean, everyone knows everyone.”