Willowbend Golf Club owners Rod and Rick Nuckolls have a new partner: PGA Tour golfer Woody Austin . "I will not be a silent investor who will not show up," Austin says. "Part of the allure for me is I love to tinker.... I will be out on the golf course trying to fix a bunker or fix a green.
"It's a big, long-term deal for me. It's nothing on a short-term basis."
The Nuckolls brothers say they couldn't have a better partner than Austin.
"Everyone knows that Woody Austin is truly one of the best players in the world," Rick Nuckolls says.
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He says Austin's presence will have an impact with members and the club.
"The capital influx will definitely help us run the operation," Rod Nuckolls says. "There's been a lot of things we wanted to do."
Austin's first goal?
"First and foremost for me would be to fix the driving range so I will have a nice place to practice when I'm home and getting ready to go back out on the road."
Austin, who lives in Derby, travels 35 weeks a year.
Rick Nuckolls says partnering on Willowbend and having more time to play is "kind of the dream job, if you will."
"No true golfer wants to be stuck behind the desk all the time," Austin says.
He says that's especially true for Rod Nuckolls.
"That guy can flat out play, and he shouldn't be stuck behind a counter," Austin says.
The Nuckolls brothers previously negotiated to sell to the owners of Echo Hills Golf Club , but Rick Nuckolls says it wasn't anything they set out to do.
"They came to us."
The brothers, who have been friends with Austin since 1991, have been talking to him for a couple of years about partnering.
"He's looking for life after golf," Rod Nuckolls says.
"We're going to enjoy the trip for quite a while," he says of their plans to keep Willowbend.
"We want people to understand that Willowbend is about golf," Austin says. "Willowbend is about having the best golf. We don't want this to be the best country club. We don't want to be the best high society night spot."
So how is all of this likely to affect Austin's golf game?
"Hopefully, it'll free me up from worrying about what I'm doing on the road," he says. "It'll give me less time to worry about how bad I'm playing. I'm playing like an absolute dog right now."
Michaels to close
Not surprisingly, when the new Michaels craft store opens at NewMarket Square next month, the existing one at 6610 W. Kellogg will close.
No one with the company will comment officially, but an employee at the west-side Michaels says the Kellogg store will close in late February.
The new store is scheduled to have a grand opening Feb. 28, with a soft opening likely in the day or two before that.
When the current west-side Michaels will close depends on how quickly the inventory sells. The last couple of days, almost everything will be on clearance.
You don't say
"You're the sheriff, and you've got a gun... so you can do whatever you want."
—Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan's response to Sheriff Robert Hinshaw when Hinshaw asked if the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council could stay in Buchanan's conference room to meet as long as it needed Thursday morning