Chippewa Golf Club smoothly changes hands

March 27, 2013
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Chippewa Golf Course near Bentleyville is changing hands to David Wylie, who also is a co-owner of Lindenwood Golf Club in North Strabane Township. Order a Print
Image description
Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Chippewa Golf Course opened in 1962. Order a Print

Chippewa Golf Club will continue to be family run, but for the first time in its 51-year existence, that family won’t be Hess.

David Wylie, co-owner of Lindenwood Golf Club in North Strabane Township, has purchased Chippewa from siblings Patty Riley and Dave Hess.

“It was just time to retire,” Riley said. “I have family out of state, and we’ve been doing this a long time. We thought we’d take a step back.”

Wylie, of Peters Township, said he doesn’t plan any changes at Chippewa, an 18-hole layout in Somerset Township, near Bentleyville.

“They’ve been doing a good job,” he said, referring to Riley and Hess. “We’re going to continue the tradition. People may not know there is a new owner.”

Hess and Riley likewise anticipate a seamless transition.

“We don’t think customers will notice any change,” Riley said.

“We want people to have the feeling that things aren’t changing, that the club will have the same atmosphere as people are accustomed to,” Hess said.

Hess will stay on at Chippewa as general manager. The staff will remain, as well.

Chippewa, a par-70, 6,051-yard layout from the longest tees, opened in 1962. It was built by three uncles of the siblings: Mike Petro, Steve Kibelbek and Steve Balent.

Speaking of family ownership of courses, this purchase gives the Wylies oversight of 72 holes in Washington County.

David Wylie and his father, Russell, now own three courses between them. They are Lindenwood co-owners, and the father is sole owner of Rolling Green Golf Course in Somerset Township.

Lindenwood has 36 holes, including a nine-hole executive course that opened in 1997. “My dad built (the first 18 there) and Rolling Green from scratch,” David said.

Russell Wylie of South Strabane Township opened the first nine at Lindenwood in 1965 and the second nine in 1967. More than two decades later, the son built the final 18 holes, including the third nine in 1993.

Rolling Green is the oldest public course in Washington County. The first nine opened in 1958, the second nine in the 1960s.

Chippewa, as with most courses in the county, is rolling and scenic. It is challenging as well, and popular – an attraction to buyers such as David Wylie.

“When Chippewa went up for sale, we realized it was in our backyard and certainly worth a look,” he said. “They have a nice course that is well run and well received.”

After more than a half-century in the golf business, Riley wanted to pitch a fond adieu to those who have patronized Chippewa.

“I’d like to thank all of the customers over the years, a lot of friends.”

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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