Andrea Politte has put every penny she has earned and every ounce of energy that her 5-foot-1-inch, 105-pound frame can muster into operating Fore Honor Golf & Event Center at Deer Creek USA in House Springs, Mo., for people like her son.
She has turned a forlorn golf property located 30 miles southwest of St. Louis into a therapeutic place for military veterans and first-responders, a sanctuary for fallen heroes. It is a public 18-hole facility, anchored to a 30,000-square-foot clubhouse that can host weddings, parties and other activities.
But above all, it is a place of pride and reflection, a place of respect and honor.
“History doesn’t get made very often, and it doesn’t get made easily,” Politte said. “But creating it is so special. I want to do something here that’s never been done, and it’s gonna work. I just need people to support it. I need people to get behind it.”
Politte acquired the remote property in late 2013. The golf course was built in the late 1980s, just before Tiger Woods mania would flood the country with golf courses. There were ownership changes, budget squeezes and things digressed. With 200 acres of scenic landscape, Deer Creek always had potential. But the overpopulated golf course industry is crowded with rose-colored potential.
Politte has started from scratch, with the course, the carts and the clubhouse. It is an all-in challenge, a work in progress, with no end in sight. From a business standpoint, she is her own worst enemy. Deer Creek offers free green fees to military veterans and first-responders, a sponsorship that added up to $33,000 worth of golf from 2014 to ’16. Last year, the club made $50,000 in charitable donations. Meanwhile the bills and expenditures keep coming.