|City/Town: • Benton|
|Location Class: • Commercial|
|Year Built: • 1955 | Year Abandoned: • October 1, 2012|
|Status: • Restored (2016)|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • Grant King|
Established in 1955, this beautiful 18 hole golf course was Bill and Berneice Martin’s dream to build a golf course that would be a vital part of the Arkansas community. , Carol Martin Blann looked at land throughout the state, but settled on the rolling hills of Saline County. In a leap of faith, they made plans to leave their secure jobs and move to Benton. Bill Martin approached the Benton Chamber of Commerce and talked to city leaders including John Ashby, Bob Alsobrook, U.S. Floyd, Bill Millsapps and others. The community came together and made their dreams come true.
People of all incomes began to play golf and swim at the course. In 1986 the Buskens and Hamms assumed management of the course and continued with the dream that Longhills would be vital to the community. Programs for juniors have continued to grow, and high school golf and swim teams have been provided services at the course. Under the leadership of the Buskens and Hamms, many charitable organization have conducted fundraisers at the course, putting thousands of dollars back into the community. Organizations such as the Civitan Club, Benton Booster Club, Christian Community Care Clinic, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, Humane Society of Saline County and many others have benefited from the events.
Lifeguards at the pool were nominated as Red Cross Heroes in the 2000’s. The successfully rescued a drowning boy on opening day. A boy was floating face down in the deep end of the pool and the lifeguards took immediate action. After saving the child they were nominated and featured in the Saline Courier newspaper.
In 2012, the new owners of the course closed the entire facility with hopes to find new management to reopen it once again. After many legal issues, the were no longer able to keep Longhills open. It’s last day was October 1st, 2012.
Update October 2016:
Happy news for Benton and surrounding areas, Longhills Golf Course has been renovated and is back in service!