A new generation takes a swing at Pasco Golfland
For as long as she can remember, Justine VerMulm has known Pasco Golfland as both her playground and her workplace.
“My mom was pregnant with me when they were selling golf balls out there from a fireworks stand,” she said. “I worked out there as a kid. As a family, we’ve always celebrated birthdays there, had family gatherings there. My grandparents were always working on the weekends there.”
Her grandparents are Bill and Donna McIntyre, who have owned the golf course and driving range at 2901 N. Road 40 in Pasco since 1993.
Donna recently passed away. Bill, 79, decided to sell the business to Justine and her husband, Nick.
“I had kind of talked about selling it for a while. They decided they’d like to buy it,” he said. “So they’re getting the family price.”
What that is, no one is saying, but the 29-acre site has a tax value of about $500,000 according to the Franklin County Assessor.
But what’s important to both McIntyre and VerMulm is that the business stays in the family.
When it became McIntyre’s facility 27 years ago, it had a couple of practice greens and three holes.
“When I took it over, to play nine holes, you had to go around three times,” he said.
So one summer, he had six more holes built for a nine-hole course. Over the years, McIntyre added on to the facility and improved it.
In 2000, he built an overhang so golfers could practice not only with overhead shelter, but at night too with the lights.
“Billy put in all of the irrigation out there, then he built six more holes. He developed the place into what it is now,” said VerMulm of her grandfather. “He had those trees around the driving range planted. It’s such a nice facility. There is a reason we call the place the Jewel of Pasco.”
It’s the perfect place to work on all aspects of your game.
“The thing of it is, it’s not only a good golf course for beginners, but for good players,” McIntyre said.
VerMulm, who has worked there for the last seven years, starting while in high school, understands that.
“We want it to be a family-friendly course,” she said. “We have ideas, things like maybe Family Friday Nights. Have a Glow Ball tournament one night a month.”
Maybe even get kids to golf in some free events.
Not only is Pasco Golfland a good place to play nine holes or even 18, but “it’s a great practice facility, for new and old golfers,” VerMulm said. “It’s a really great place to develop your short game, with chipping and putting.”
PGA professional Mike Kasch has been Pasco Golfland’s head pro.
“Mike has been here for 17 years. We have two PGA pros who help with our younger golfers,” VerMulm said. “We have a large junior program, and Mike and Craig Lanning work with them. All of the local college and high school golfers come to our facility to practice – Chiawana, Pasco and CBC.”
VerMulm said Pasco Golfland also has played host to the annual district Drive, Chip and Putt event for several years.
“We also have a large men’s league and women’s league,” said VerMulm, who touts the facility’s cheaper prices compared to other area courses, as well as how quickly golfers can get around the course. “It’s a low-time commitment, and a low-price commitment,” she said.
Golf has been an outdoor activity that Gov. Jay Inslee has allowed during the pandemic – although all state golf courses were shut down most of March and all of April.
“Everything was a little rough this year,” VerMulm said. “The snow has shut us down before. But never a pandemic. It was hard, but we made it through.”
When the courses opened back up in early May 2020, VerMulm said Pasco Golfland got busy.
“Covid brought out a lot of golfers … because there hasn’t been much else to do,” she said.
VerMulm, 26, and her husband who is 27, plan to keep Golfland as her family’s place to be.
“We’re pretty young to take this over. We have young children,” she said. “We have a 1-year-old and 3-year-old. But it’s always been a fun place to hang out.”
As for her grandfather, “Billy is trying to decide what he wants to do. He poured his life into Golfland.”
McIntyre thinks he might try living in Arizona in the winter.
“I’m not going to miss too much (at Golfland),” McIntyre said. “I’ll still help out, but I won’t have any titles anymore.”
VerMulm said she and her husband are excited to keep the family business going.
“We’ve been in the process of (getting the deal done) for a few months,” she said. “It’s always been in the back of his head, and in the back of our heads for a long time. And I think grandpa was happy to keep it in the family.”