In 1972, our founders, Dave and Helen Sandfort, were looking for a way to begin saving for their young childrens' college expenses. At the time, Dave was working as a CPA for a St. Louis accounting firm and one of his clients suggested a driving range as a good business to help raise these funds.
Taking this suggestion, Dave and Helen purchased 15 acres of pastureland on the southwest corner of the Sandfort family farm in St. Charles. This land fronted West Clay Street giving the new business good visibility to prospective customers. Using a loan from Dave’s parents, Irvin and Alice Sandfort, and Helen’s parents, Wilbur and Ruth Staggemeier, they began the process of improving the land and erecting a building to serve their new customers.
The new business, Cave Spring Golf Center, opened its doors in May of 1973. The business started slowly but then grew quickly in those early years. In fact, it grew so quickly that the parking lot needed to be expanded so customers would not have to park on the shoulder along West Clay Street when the old parking lot became full.
In 1974, the facility was expanded to include a miniature golf course. The original mini course featured many obstacles one could see on a family farm including a wagon wheel, barn, covered bridge, and windmill among other design features.
The business continued to grow throughout the late 1970’s and 80’s. Dave and Helen's two children as well as many nephews, nieces and children of family friends took their turns spending summers working at the range under the direction of their first golf professional, Frosty Byers.
In the 1990’s when Frosty decided to retire, Dave and Helen hired PGA Professional, Dan Buffington, to take the helm. Under Dan’s leadership, the driving range was transformed into a fine practice center including top level instruction and clubfitting, bent grass practice greens, improved target greens, and a large, well-manicured Bermuda grass practice tee.
As the business continued through the turn of the century, Dave and Helen’s grandchildren and great-nephews and nieces joined the many other young men and women who enjoyed spending their summers working at the family business.
In January of 2022, Dave and Helen’s son and PGA professional, Scott, returned to the family business after a 30-year career working as an Assistant Professional, Head Professional, and Director of Golf at private golf clubs in Kansas City, Chicago, and St. Louis. Scott joins Dan Buffington to continue providing an enjoyable golf experience to all our valued customers.
To all who have practiced, played miniature golf, or just enjoyed hanging out at the range, we would like to express our gratitude.