Amelia Shotgun Sports was founded in 2008 by Army Vietnam Veteran Clyde Goodbread, with financial support and hard work from some dedicated founding members and 1990 Beretta World Sporting Clays Champion, John Woolley. Along the way D.J. Nelson joined the crew, keeping the operation running smoothly on a daily basis.
The completely revamped club house of the Amelia Island Shotgun Sports.
After Mr. Goodbread passed away in 2012, his wife Jutta jumped in to fill the breach. Despite the efforts of Ms. Goodbread and Mr. Nelson, problems with a new management team and the departure of Mr. Wooley ultimately left the club in dismal condition.
To turn around a small business that involves gun powder, firearms and fast moving targets takes more than commitment, more than money and more than vision….. it takes a love of people and a love of the sport and the leadership to accomplish it.
Enter our local heroes: newlyweds Dawn Grant and Jimmy Muller.
Dawn Grant, Jimmy Muller and pals in the remodeled club house of Amelia Island Shotgun Sports.
In November 2017 Ms. Goodbread realized she couldn’t hold the operation together anymore. She wanted to retire and spend more time with her sister in Germany. She approached Mr. Muller and Ms. Grant to purchase the Amelia Shotgun Sports. Ms. Goodbread knew that the vision and expertise of these two people could save the club for her friends and neighbors.
Mr. Muller, a “former” and returning Master Class Sporting Clays/FITASC competitor is the visionary entrepreneur who invented and patented his revolutionary namesake shotgun choke tubes made of space age materials that also reinvented the constriction identifications used since the 1950s.
Ms. Grant pioneered hypnotherapy in shotgun sports. In 2007 as a board certified hypnotherapist, she trained professional PGA Golfers. She is known to having helped V.J. Singh beat his putting stupor and win the Fed Ex Cup using her unique Mental Training Techniques.
From golf she started working with professional clays competitors such as John Woolley and Wendell Cherry – adding hundreds of clays shooters to her practice over the years (as well as elite athletes in other sports such as rifle, pistol, equestrian, tennis, baseball and football). Ms. Grant has kept her appointment book filled with private sessions and after they married she also helped manage and grow Muller Chokes.
Bottom line: They really did not need the income from Amelia Shotgun Sports.
During the remodeling a new lounge area was added to the Amelia Island Shotgun Sports club house.
The sale of the club closed on November 28, 2017. Ms. Grant and Mr. Muller became 50/50 partners in the 37-plus acre venture. They immediately started pouring their savings and time into the run down facility.
“One of the reasons we wanted to buy this place is because we love helping people” Mr. Muller said.
Shortly after we arrived on a balmy Florida morning, Mr. Muller drove up in one of the new golf carts wearing Muck Boots. He had been making the rounds on maintenance and course setting. Speak to him and Ms. Grant and you’ll find out that they spend many days working sunrise to past sunset perfecting the club and expanding their choke and mental training businesses.
Jimmy Muller after a morning of target setting and maintenance at Amelia Island Shotgun Sports.
“We love seeing many of the original members and founding members coming back and new members pouring in,” he said.
While Mr. Muller brings his clays shooting, target setting, ballistics, choke tubes and engineering/metallurgy/machinist background to the venture, Ms. Grant is a believer in positive thinking, Grace and spirituality. For her, overcoming fear, doubt, worries and sometimes even paranoia as a clay shooting athlete, hypnotherapy and mental training is part of a more holistic and real approach to everyday life in general – a mandate to overcoming inconsistencies on the score card and in everyday living. Having a positive mental state certainly helped as they embarked on the rehabilitation of Amelia Island Shotgun Sports.
“If you have the skills and know-how to be happy at home, happy in life, and happy with yourself, then you ultimately have the skills and know-how to be a successful and happy competitor... as it’s just one other aspect of your life.” he said.
So one of the first things they did was remove all the negative, derogatory signs, notes and postings from the clubhouse walls and course.
The clubhouse was modernized into a lodge, expanded and finished with a classical rustic décor. There are plush leather arm chairs, smooth leather wing chairs, leather sofas, Oriental rugs, beautiful chandeliers from their wedding and a handsome fireplace to top off the ambience.
The fireplace in the club house of Amelia Island Shotgun Sports.
All new computer systems with iPads facilitate a speedy check-in. The 60 or so Promatic Trap machines were all refurbished with new disarm switches, gear boxes and motors. Twelve new Promatic machines were purchased. Twenty new mobile shooting stands were designed by Mr. Muller, allowing him to move them around the three-quarter mile 20-station course (since he changes the targets and course weekly). All 20 stations have the Long Range Wireless Trap Release system that use a Count Up or Count Down” card of your choice.
Nearly all of the 20 stations were strategically positioned in the shade of the abundant tropical flora on freshly groomed trails. One of our favorite touches was that many of the 20 stations have three trap machines to throw a variety of targets. Mr. Muller characterized them as Trap 1: beginner target, Trap 2: intermediate target and Trap 3: master class target.
One of the freshly groomed trails at Amelia Island Shotgun Sports that cuts through the tropical foliage.
Fresh primer and paint was applied to all the buildings, skeet and trap houses, benches, new fences, new shooting fences on skeet and trap fields.
In addition to the sporting clays course the club has two trap and skeet fields as well as a 15-trap 5-Stand/FITASC layout overlooking a large Blue Lagoon Pond that is stocked with brim, largemouth bass and big catfish. The 5-stand targets range in difficulty from novice to Professional Sporting Clays Association level presentations. The 5-Stand throws everything from belly-facing chondels to 75-yard battues and 45-yard crossing rabbits that run up over 12-foot berms. A spacious screened-in gazebo will be built on the upper level of the observation area.
Currently Amelia Shotgun Sports is finalizing phase three of development.
The famous Catfish Pond station on the Amelia Island Shotgun Sports sporting clays course.
We spent several enjoyable hours shooting the sporting clays course and had a great time. The weather was perfect. The stations with three trap machines let us mix-and-match for maximum fun. A few stations were adorned with ponds and beautiful native Lantana and Plumbego plants that the new owners planted at every station.
Some of the master targets set by Mr. Muller included fast chondels, quick diving incomers, quartering-away rabbits, high and fast quartering outgoers and true pairs that would make your eyeballs spin.
Jimmy Muller works his target-setting magic on Station 14 of the Amelia Island Shotgun Sports sporting clays course.
Our conversation with Ms. Grant and Mr. Muller revealed their plans that would establish a community culture.
Memberships provided reduced pricing on shooting, ammo, golf cart rentals and Rugged Gear push cart rentals. League shoots would be started, along with possible night shooting, extended summer hours of Wednesday through Sunday of 9:00 to 8:30 starting on or around June. Mr. Muller and Mr. Nelson change the targets every week to keep the course interesting and exciting.
Both Mr. Muller and Ms. Grant would instruct clay shooters using their own respective methods for private and group lessons. Mr. Muller plans on teaching shotgun ballistics on top of all the mechanics and myth busting techniques, while Ms. Grant will be honing everyone in on their mental game. There will be free lectures and plans for rustic barn weddings. NSCA Certified Tournaments are already running once a month and on the Scoring Pro system for pre-registration.
After a great day of clays shooting we drove to the nearby village of Fernandina Beach with its historic waterfront downtown populated by excellent restaurants and bars among tourist shops.
Long live our local shooting clubs and the heroes who keep them going.