Fashion Golf relies on family, volunteers to weather harsh times
Fashion Golf in Hahnville has managed to stay afloat without assessing or raising membership dues. Jeffrey and Melanie Ryan, owners of the business, call the nine-hole course a “true old fashion business” since it is completely family-run.
“It saves on cost, but it doesn’t make it easier because it’s all on your back. It’s a 24-hour job when it’s a family business, but that’s how we’re staying out of trouble,” Melanie said. “We’re not in it to make a killing; we’re just in it to pay our bills.”
The entire family, including Jeffrey and Melanie’s children and parents, help out at the course, even if they have other full-time jobs.
The Ryans work at the course constantly while Melanie’s father helps in the office twice a week and their children come by when possible to cut the grass and help to maintain the course.
Volunteers from the community have also helped to do handy work around the course in their spare time.
“Everybody here is so nice. It’s like one big family,” Melanie said. “It doesn’t have that big old country club atmosphere. It’s more like visiting somebody’s house - you walk in and everybody knows your name.”
Besides having their own family working there, the Ryans try to keep it a welcoming environment for other families.
“Jeff and I have always tried to make it a place where people would want to bring their kids and their family to play golf,” Melanie said. “If you keep it inexpensive and nice enough to where people want to bring their families, they’ll keep coming.”
The business is called Fashion Golf because it is built on what is believed to have once been President Zachary Taylor’s son’s plantation, Fashion Plantation. It’s rumored that the plantation was captured and burned to the ground by Union forces in the Civil War and then used as a prison camp.
The 50-year-old golf course land is leased from the Sanders family and the business has been owned and operated by the Ryans for 15 years.
While the course is doing well, the Ryans have faced their share of weather problems like all of the other clubs.
“For the first time in 16 years, we’ve had a struggle to stay open,” Melanie said. “The Sanders really have been very nice. They even worked with us through the rainy season.”
Besides not assessing or raising dues, the course already offers some of the lowest rates in town for members and non-members.
Non-members can play for $20, including a cart, on any day of the week and there is an $18 ladies’ special on Mondays. Membership dues are $45 for the entire family. The club is open every day from 7 a.m. to sunset.
Melanie added that while there are only nine holes, many people play it as 18 since there are separate tee boxes in order to do that.
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