More golf balls have been flying off tees the last couple of seasons at Perfect Swing driving range.
The facility on Highway 54 past Country Heights Elementary School has been owned by Floyd Tapp since 2010.
Although the first few years of ownership were tough, Tapp said there has been steady growth the last few years.
"Part of it is money; people have more to spend," Tapp said. "Fifteen balls for a dollar. Nobody can get near that. I know I'm gonna make some money. It didn't take me long to figure out, about three months, to go to self-serve, I knew I had that option. It's a decent return on my money, it's not too much work."
Perfect Swing is a self-service facility where a machine takes money/tokens and distributes a bucket of golf balls to customers, who can get 75 balls for $5.
Those prices have attracted business.
"Balls are really cheap to hit some," said Isaac Rhodes, the golf coach at Whitesville Trinity who was at Perfect Swing on a pleasant late afternoon this week. "For us, this is a good place, close to Whitesville, kind of a perfect spot for us. Some days we come up here and there may be two people on the range. Some days we come up here and it's back-to-back all the way up and down here. There might be a dozen people out here. He gets tons of traffic through here, for sure."
Rhodes thinks public driving ranges like Perfect Swing are good places for young golfers to hone their games.
"Most of the time, we start them out on the range for hitting their irons. Once they're comfortable hitting their irons, they hit their wedge. Once they get the feel of their swing with irons, we switch them to driver," Rhodes said.
Charlie Wood, a longtime area golf pro, runs the pro shop at Perfect Swing on a day-to-day basis, and he basically takes care of the range, which is open from dawn to 9 p.m., daily.
"We have steady play," Wood said. If the weather is good, the range is open, even during the winter. It would be tough to put exact numbers on how many."
Wood repairs clubs and shafts, gives lessons and does some mowing -- a little bit of everything.
"Charlie Wood, I've known him a long time," Tapp said. "I knew he would take care of it."
Getting the property back in shape to be a driving range took some time once Tapp bought it 11 years ago.
"I had a log cabin and a farm over here, I had basically retired," Tapp said. "Every day I passed by, saw this thing, trees and everything growing up. It had been about a year and a half that it had been let go. My wife said don't even look at that direction anymore, it's too much work."
Not heeding the advice of his wife, Elaine, it took about four months of hard work to get the range back in shape to open, working seven days a week, 10 hours a day sometimes.
"It was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be," Tapp said.
Tapp used to "hit five or six buckets a day and play 18 holes" even when he and his wife were owners of Atlantis Swim Club.
"I used to play about every day," Tapp said.
Now, a chronic back problem keeps him off the golf course, but he stays involved in the game with Perfect Swing.