The small town of Casey, Ill., is taking a novel – or novelty – approach to economic development.
The town already boasts the world’s largest wind chimes. Now, thanks to Bolin Enterprises, a pipeline servicing company, the town of about 2,700 is home to the world’s largest golf tee – measuring slightly more than 30 feet in length and weighing more than three tons.
The massive tee and the enormous wind chimes are designed to give people a reason to make a stop in Casey, said Jim Bolin, co-owner of Bolin Enterprises and creator of the massive wind chimes and co-creator of the huge golf tee.
“The goal is to drum up interest in Casey,” Bolin said after an official measurement confirmed the tee is more than three feet longer than the current world record golf tee.
The tee, which is made of yellow pine and is completely solid, can help create interest in Casey, bring new visitors to restaurants and gas stations and encourage new private investment, Bolin said.
“Like all communities, we’re fighting for economic growth,” he said.
The tee, which weighs 6,659 pounds, is expected to be standing by this summer on the grounds of the Casey Country Club near U.S. 40 and south of Interstate 70. Plans are already underway to place a giant ball atop the tee. The ball will include a large opening allowing golfers to hit real golf balls from inside.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Illinois State Representative Brad Halbrook, who attended Tuesday’s official measuring of the tee, the results of which will be submitted to Guinness World Records. Ideas such as this can generate positive interest in a community that can only help, he said.
Nicole Weigand, economic development director for the City of Casey, called the tee project a “snowball event,” meaning it can spur other creative ideas and investment in the community.
“It also pulls people together,” Weigand said after the official measuring, which was attended by about 50 Casey residents in addition to more than a dozen 3- to 5-year-olds from Casey Head Start, one of whom mistook the tee, at first glance, for a giant flashlight.
The big wooden tee will eventually stand at its full height near the first tee of the Casey Country Club’s nine-hole golf course. If all goes according to plan, its tip will be below the surface of the ground, but still visible thanks to a large, submerged tank, said Mike Bohannon, operations manager at Bolin Enterprises and co-creator of the tee along with other members of the Bolin team.
Bolin Enterprises has no intention of allowing Casey to rest on the laurels of its massive wind chimes and golf tee. Plans are already in the works for a third “world’s largest” project, details of which are to be announced later.
The folks at Bolin Enterprises “care about Casey,” Weigand said after ensuring the measurements taken Tuesday afternoon met all Guinness standards. “We haven’t heard the last of Jim Bolin.”
Terre Haute Tribune-Star reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.