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Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Week That Was, september 17, 2017

     Our industry’s investment in last summer’s Olympics may not be having a measurable impact at the grass-roots level, but it’s given our major stakeholders a victory they can crow about. The International Olympic Committee voted to include golf in the 2024 Games, which will be the sport’s third consecutive appearance in an event that the civilized world takes seriously. The IOC won’t extend an invitation to the 2028 Games for several years, but the handwriting is already on the wall: Golf is an Olympic sport.

     A financially troubled venue on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia is betting its future on 270 houses and a redesign by Greg “the Living Brand” Norman. Pelican Waters Golf Club reportedly hasn’t turned an annual profit even once since it opened, in 2000, and now, with its back ever closer against the proverbial wall, it’s dusted off a redevelopment plan it formulated several years ago. The club’s proposed residential development will require a significant makeover of the 18-hole layout that the LB co-designed with Bob Harrison, a course that Darius Oliver of Planet Golf views as “one of the state’s top modern tracks.” The re-do isn’t expected to begin until the second half of next year at the earliest, and it’s safe to assume that Pelican Waters can’t wait to get started. Even with the overhaul, the club thinks it may up to eight years to get its finances in order.

     Nova Scotia is home to two of Canada’s premier destination-worthy golf courses, Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links, but many of the province’s properties are said to be struggling. The head of a prominent club believes that many golf operators will be fortunate to “break even or make $5,000” this year, and a PGA pro predicts that “we’re going to lose a few courses” over the next few years. So it’s fair to ask: Why isn’t golf’s recently created high tide in Nova Scotia raising all boats? Or, to ask the question another way, is destination golf in the province producing a “trickle-up” economic effect? And, for those who ponder such matters, do we see similar patterns elsewhere?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Week That Was, september 10, 2017

     Golf participation in the Old Country peaked in 2009 and has been falling ever since, but the European Golf Course Owners Association believes that the market has “stabilized.” In “European Golf Statistics for 2017,” its latest data crunch, the EGCOA counts more than 4.15 million “registered” golfers across the Continent (and a significant number of others who don’t register), which it views positively as only a slight decline from the number posted a year earlier. The group finds growth in registrations in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Belgium but worrisome declines in Spain, England, and Wales. In fact, England’s longtime hold on golf participation – it’s home to 16.86 percent of the Continent’s golfers – is in jeopardy. The report states that Germany, with 15.49 percent of the total number of golfers, is “quickly catching up,” and it “may not be long until it leads demand for golf in Europe.” For what it’s worth, more than half of Europe’s golfers are in five nations: England, Germany, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands.

     Golf Canada’s search for the future permanent (or semi-permanent) home of the Canadian Open may be over. The Oakville Beaver reports that Golf Canada is thinking that RattleSnake Point Golf Club, in Milton, Ontario, might be a suitable replacement for Glen Abbey Golf Course, which has hosted the Open on 29 occasions but may very well do it for the final time next year. By happy coincidence, ClubLink owns both Glen Abbey and RattleSnake Point, so it gets to profit on the sale of the 3,000 houses that it intends to build at the former while it continues to bank revenues from the nation’s premier professional tournament. RattleSnake Point has a pair of 18-hole, Tom McBroom-designed golf courses (plus a nine-hole “academy” track), and for years it’s hosted qualifying events for the Open. Plans for a redesign of the complex are said to be “still in their earliest stages.” The newspaper didn’t name an architect, but RattleSnake Point is almost certainly one of the three properties that Jack Nicklaus evaluated during a recent scouting trip to the Toronto area.

     Pipeline Overflow – Royal Hobart Golf Club, which has hosted the Tasmanian Open several times and the Australian Open in 1971, has hired Richard Chamberlain to oversee a substantive makeover, the goal being to ensure that the venue on Seven Mile Beach “keeps pace with the changes in the game and the expectations of its members.” Royal Hobart’s Vern Morcom-designed course is more than 50 years old, and club officials believe it’s “lost some of its design principles.” Chamberlain also figures to beef up the club’s practice facilities and add a nine-hole pitch-’n’-putt course. . . . If golf was priced by the minute, Gil Hanse’s new layout at Pinehurst – the Cradle, it’s been named – might be the resort’s most expensive course. This fall, golfers will reportedly pay $50 for a round at the nine-hole, 789-yard course, with prices to presumably increase during the high season. . . . Prince Ned Nwoko, a member of a royal family in Nigeria, is plowing ahead with plans to build a golf course in his home town, Idumuje Ugboko. The course will be part of the prince’s proposed Stars University, a legacy project that’s stirred controversy since it was originally announced, in 2011.

     Confident that they have “a solid foundation” to build upon, Dan Glick and three partners have acquired the cash-poor Meadia Heights Golf Club, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The club, which has been in business since 1922, has reportedly lost roughly half of its members since the late 1990s (it’s now down to about 160) and has therefore “lacked the money to fund changes that its leadership believes are necessary to grow its membership.” But the new owners don’t believe they’ll affect a turnaround by simply investing in overdue improvements. They also plan to slash monthly dues (by $70 for singles and $100 for families) and eliminate the club’s annual “operating assessment” (on average, $600 per member), an approach that some quick math suggests will trim about $110,000 from the end-of-year bottom line. Glick believes the lower prices will be “really advantageous for growing our membership,” and he’d better be right, because he’s giving up some significant income.

     Surplus Transactions – In what it believes is part of its “natural evolution,” the Union League of Philadelphia has agreed to buy its second golf property, Sand Barrens Golf Club, an 18-year-old venue just down the coast from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sand Barrens, which features a 27-hole, Dana Fry-designed golf complex, will operate as Union League National Golf Club when the transaction closes. It’ll complement Union League Golf Club at Torresdale, a venue in Philadelphia that was acquired in 2014. . . . A half-dozen investors operating as Clinton C.C. LLC have acquired Plattsburg Country Club, a distressed property in Plattsburg, Missouri. The club, which was reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy, is said to have only 140 members, less than half the number it had at the turn of the century. Its members unanimously approved the sale. . . . In March, Lucas Armstrong and some of his family members bought Silver Lake Golf Club, a nine-hole track outside Kingsport, in the eastern tip of Tennessee. The course now operates under its original name, Bays Mountain Golf Club.

     A former home of the Dallas Open, an event that evolved into the Byron Nelson Golf Classic, is in a home builder’s crosshairs. Huffines Communities wants to buy the 150 acres currently occupied by Golf Club of Dallas, a site that the area’s developers view as “a beautiful piece of property in a close-in location.” The club is home to an 18-hole, Perry Maxwell-designed golf course that opened in 1953. Its ownership group has said that the property isn’t for sale, and nearby home owners are upset about the prospect of losing an important asset, but Huffines has reportedly made an offer that’s “pretty unbelievable.” Huffines and the club’s owners are said to be negotiating.

     Desolation Row Extended – Tartan Pines Golf Club, an 18-year-old venue outside Dothan, Alabama, will likely soon become a subdivision. The club has closed, and its owners have concluded that “pursuing development of the land is a more viable financial option than to continue operating the golf course.” Tartan Pines’ 18-hole layout was co-designed by Alan Blalock and Glen Day. . . . A supermarket chain plans to purchase Vince’s Sports Center, a 17.5-acre venue in Newark, Delaware that features a nine-hole, par-3 golf course. Phil Santucci, the seller, told the Newark Post that he’s “ready to make a change,” and Lidl, the prospective owner, needs a site for a new store. . . . The last rounds have been played at River Cliff Golf Course, a nine-hole track in Fremont, Ohio. Bob and Adam Crockett have sold River Cliff, originally known as Thornwood Public Golf Course, to a conservation group that will turn the 75 acres into a park. The Crocketts own two other golf properties, Green Hills Golf Course in Clyde and Woussickett Golf Course in Sandusky.

     For an online feature that blurs the lines between journalism and self-promotion, Golf polled its course raters – “evaluators” is what the magazine calls them – on some questions related to its recently published best-of lists. Regarding architects, the prevailing opinion is that Bill Coore (with Ben Crenshaw) is the greatest modern architect and that Alister MacKenzie is the greatest Golden Age architect. The most over-rated course, the raters say, is Seminole (“by a mile”), while North Berwick’s West Links is the most under-rated. And for their final round on the planet, this select group of anonymous individuals would play at Cypress Point, which is also the course they’d play every day if they could.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Week That Was, september 3, 2017

     When it re-opens, in the spring of next year, the Tom Fazio-redesigned track at Adare Manor will be “among the finest golf courses in the world,” its owners believe, and it’ll be priced accordingly. According to the Limerick Leader, Adare Manor plans to charge the top price in Ireland for a peak-season 18-hole round – €340 ($400) – plus €60 ($70) for a cart and €55 ($65) for a caddie. If it’s any consolation, the course is said to be in line to host the Ryder Cup matches of 2026.

     With China now almost completely off the boards, Schmidt-Curley Design is turning Vietnam into a major profit center. The Paradise Valley, Arizona-based firm opened its first course in the socialist republic, FLC Quy Nhơn Golf Links in Bình Định Province, earlier this year, and within the next few months it expects to debut FLC Hạ Long Bay Golf Club & Resort, in Quảng Ninh Province. Brian Curley, the designer of Hạ Long Bay, contends that the track is “certainly one of the most photogenic properties we have ever had the pleasure to work on,” and he thinks many of its holes will eventually “be known throughout Asia and the World.” As the course names indicate, both tracks were commissioned by FLC Group, which has also hired Schmidt-Curley to create the first two courses at FLC Đồng Hới Golf Links, a 7,500-acre resort community in Quảng Bình Province. FLC isn’t Schmidt-Curley’s only client, however, as Trường An Golf JSC has appointed the company to produce two 18-hole layouts at Stone Valley Golf Resort in Hà Nam Province. In a press release, Curley notes that the foundation for his firm’s Vietnamese work was laid in China, and he promises “to fully execute the most successfully designed and constructed courses possible with the greatest economic potential.”

     Some information in the preceding post first appeared in the January 2017 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

    Pipeline Overflow – After more than a decade of stalemate, elected officials in Hong Kong have agreed to a land swap that will lead to the construction of a golf course by Sha Lo Tung Development Company. The city will extend a lease on property at the Shuen Wan landfill, while the developers will surrender environmentally sensitive property in Pat Sin Leng Country Park. Construction on the golf course isn’t imminent, as the developers must still secure approvals and permits. . . . CLIQIT, a group of Nigerian developers, has set out to build a business park, including a golf course, in suburban Abuja, the nation’s capital city. The park, to be called the Arena, will also feature a hotel, a convention center, research facilities, and a helipad. The golf course will reportedly emerge in phase two of construction. . . . Bruce Weller, a British course architect, has agreed to design a family-friendly course in Liverpool, England. The nine-hole track will take shape on what’s been described as “scrubland” at the Liverpool Golf Centre, which is eager to establish itself as a high-quality practice facility. Over his 20-year career, Weller has produced numerous courses in England and others in Italy, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States.

     A corporate slice of Jimmy Buffet has come to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. A Coral Gables, Florida-based investment group, Driftwood Acquisitions & Development, has paid an undisclosed amount for the Tan-Tar-A resort, which is getting a “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Last Mango in Paris,” “License to Chill” vibe via a Margaritaville re-branding. Tan-Tar-A, a 45-year-old a vacation spot in Osage Beach, includes 500 hotel rooms, a marina, a water park, meeting space, an 18-hole course that was co-designed by Bruce Devlin and Robert von Hagge, and with what’s said to be “one of the best nine-hole courses in the country.” Driftwood’s CEO, though not identifying himself as a Parrothead, called the partnership with Margaritaville Holdings “a dream come true.”

     Surplus Transactions – An 18-hole track that’s said to be “one of Chicagoland’s premier championship facilities” has been sold. An unknown person or group has paid an unknown price for the Course at Aberdeen, a 20-year-old venue in Valparaiso, Indiana that was co-designed by Mike Hurdzan and Jack Kidwell. Chris Charnas, who brokered the sale, hasn’t revealed any details about the transaction, but it appears that the seller was a group led by Barbara Young. . . . The University of West Florida is going to take a a major haircut on its investment in Scenic Hills Country Club. In 2012, the school paid roughly $2.2 million for the 18-hole layout in Pensacola, and the best offer it can get today for the 150-acre property is $1.1 million. “We are selling it at a loss,” UWF’s president confessed. “I think the assumptions that the university made in order to make the acquisition just didn’t materialize.” Scenic Hills, a Chic Adams course, opened in 1958, and it was spiffed up by Jerry Pate in 1992. The purchasers are a group of home owners in the course’s accompanying community. . . . The clock is ticking on Deer Run Golf Club, a 44-year-old venue in Lowell, Michigan. Deer Run’s 140 acres have been purchased by the Kent County Youth Agricultural Association, which needs a new home for its annual youth fair. The club’s 18-hole course will operate until 2019, which is when its lease with the property owner, Kamak LLC, will end.

     In somewhat belated news, one of Vietnam’s best-known golf properties has changed hands. Last year, according to the Vietnam Investment Review, Indochina Land sold Montgomerie Links to TBC Group, an entity that can apparently write a $25.5 million check despite having no presence on the English-speaking internets. Montgomerie Links, which features an 18-hole, Colin Montgomerie-designed track, is one of the high-profile “signature” venues that has made the Đà Nẵng area ripe for golf development and one of Vietnam’s most popular golf destinations. (The others are Nick Faldo’s Laguna Lăng Cô Golf Club, Greg Norman’s BRG Đà Nẵng Golf Club, and Luke Donald’s Bà Nà Hills Golf Club.) Golfasian says that the course, which opened in 2008, comes “as close as you can get to true links golf in Vietnam” and conveys “the feeling of being in Ireland or Scotland without the cold temperatures of the British Isles!” Just what your travel agent ordered.

     Grow-the-game initiatives developed in recent years by England Golf are paying dividends. The governing body for amateur golf in the nation says that more than 640,000 people have given the sport a try over the past four years, and more than 44,000 of them have joined British clubs. Needless to say, the organization is thrilled to announce such results. Its strategy, says an official, “puts the customer at the heart of everything we do” and provides golfers with “the golfing experience they want, whether that’s competitive play, social golf, short-format golf which fits into busy lifestyles, or the opportunity to meet friends and make new ones.” Easier said than done.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Week That Was, august 27, 2017

     Brazil’s golf industry is still waiting for its post-Olympics bump. The course that hosted the golf competition at last year’s Games, in Rio de Janeiro, is ringing up only 700 rounds a month, a number that would jeopardize the future of any venue that needs to survive without outside financial support. Let’s break down the numbers: According to its operators, roughly 15 percent of the course’s 8,400 annual tee times are filled by foreigners who are charged $150 a round. Total income: $189,000, presuming that every round is fully paid. If all of the 7,140 remaining rounds could somehow be played at the $75 weekend rate – and unfortunately, many of them are played at the $50 weekday rate – they’d generate $535,500. Total ideal-scenario revenues: $724,500, not counting cart fees, merchandise and food-and-beverage sales, and other income. The Golf Channel reports that course’s operators have set out to double the number of rounds played on the course. If they aren’t successful, then what?

     It’s become difficult, if not impossible, to develop golf communities in China, so a Chinese group hopes to develop one in the United States. I say “hopes” because Yihai Group, a home builder based in Dalian, has picked a promising but wet place for its first U.S. golf venture: Cleveland, Texas, a town northeast of Houston. Yihai’s Grand Oaks Reserve will occupy 615 acres and feature 976 single-family homes, 256 condos, and 416 apartments, along with commercial and retail space and a variety of recreational amenities, including a nine-hole golf course. The course has been designed by Mike Nuzzo, who’s best known for creating Wolf Point Golf Club, outside Port Lavaca, Texas. Grand Oaks Reserve will no doubt be delayed by the flooding in southeastern Texas, but Yihai can look on the bright side: The demand for housing in metropolitan Houston is about to explode.

     The next time he signs his name, Mike Keiser can legitimately add the initials HOF. The celebrated Chicago-based developer of Bandon Dunes and other world-class golf destinations has been elected to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, an honor shared by more than 300 other sports luminaries, among them Scotty Bowman, Ron Jaworski, Jack Kemp, Christian Laettner, O. J. Simpson, Warren Spahn, and Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer. Keiser, who grew up in suburban Buffalo and caddied at East Aurora Country Club, will be inducted on November 1.

     Time has run out on an A. W. Tillinghast-designed golf course in White Plains, New York. Ridgewood Real Estate Partners, a firm that targets golf properties for residential development, has paid $13 million for Elmwood Country Club, a formerly member-owned venue that’s operated since the late 1920s. Elmwood, which had reportedly “lost a number of members” and was skating on thin financial ice, will host its final rounds in late September. Ridgewood hasn’t commented on the purchase, but it’s expected to build houses on Elmwood’s 120 acres. History always serves as a guide, and the company owns three other golf properties that are slated for development: Apple Ridge Country Club in Mahwah, New Jersey; Edgmont Country Club in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Grande Pines Golf Club outside Orlando, Florida.

     Surplus Transactions – Boonville, Indiana will soon own Quail Crossing Golf Course, an 18-hole, Tom Doak-designed track that was reportedly styled “in imitation of Shinnecock Hills.” The city has voted to issue $950,000 in bonds to pay for the 20-year-old venue, but it’ll probably pay less. The seller is an affiliate of Warrior Asset Management, an entity that claims to own and operate 19 other golf properties from coast to coast. . . . A defunct golf course on the Grand Strand may soon come back to life. Harry Karetas, the owner of a self-storage company, recently paid $650,000 for Wedgefield Plantation Country Club, a 45-year-old property that he hopes to overhaul and lease and reopen by the spring of 2019. The club, in Georgetown, South Carolina, features an 18-hole track that was co-designed by Porter Gibson and Bob Toski. The property had been owned by Ray Watts, a developer who defaulted on a loan made by Phoenix, Arizona-based Paramont Capital. . . . Greg Bower has acquired what’s said to be the oldest public golf course in York County, Pennsylvania. Bower and some family members reportedly paid $2.15 million for Grandview Golf Course, an 18-hole track that was once owned by Fred Waring, the big-band leader who invented the Waring blender. Grandview opened in two phases, the first nine in the 1920s and the second in the 1930s.

     Even More Surplus Transactions – A company that builds communities for seniors has agreed to buy Ashley Plantation Country Club, an 18-year-old venue outside Roanoke, Virginia. Ashley Plantation once had a 27-hole golf complex, but nine holes have been closed and will likely be developed by the prospective buyer, Runk & Pratt Healthcare Enterprises Inc. Runk & Pratt owns two other courses in the state, Ivy Hill Golf Club in Forest and Willows Golf Club in Hurt. It’s buying Ashley Plantation from Bank of Fincastle, which took possession of the property a year ago. . . . At an auction last month, Andres Castellanos bid $902,000 to make what he called “a dream come true for me.” Castellanos, a co-owner of self-storage properties, agreed to buy North River Golf Club, an 18-hole, executive-length track in Stuart, Florida. The Arthur Young-designed layout at North River has operated since 1977 (it was originally called Pine Lakes Golf Club), and Castellanos grew up playing it. . . . Terry Reinhart has purchased Wayside Golf Course, a nine-hole track in Findlay, Ohio that caters to families, beginners, and seniors. A purchase price hasn’t been disclosed, but Reinhart bought the course from Earl and Jackie Risner, who’d owned it for 22 years. The course now operates as Broken Birdie Golf Course.

     Myanmar’s golf dreams may be short-lived. The nation is hoping that a spate of golf construction might help to spark a tourism boom, but it’s fighting an uphill battle against vestiges of its cruel past. Hotel Management reports that Myanmar’s hotels “are sitting idle” and that travel numbers have “continued to plunge,” largely due to “continuous ethnic violence” fueled by a corrupt military. Citing data provided by the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, the magazine says a mere 2.9 million international travelers visited Myanmar last year, 38 percent fewer than the 4.7 million who visited in 2015. Two new golf courses are expected to open this year, including a Lee Schmidt-designed course in metropolitan Mandalay, but Myanmar isn’t going to become a tourist destination until it sheds its image as a human-rights violator. Political repression is bad for business.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Week That Was, august 20, 2017

     In an effort to jump-start his sagging Japanese mission, Greg “the Living Brand” Norman has entered into a partnership with a well-connected, 95-year-old, Tokyo-based civil engineering company. The LB outlined plans to redesign a parade of lackluster, under-performing Japanese golf courses last spring, his goal being to secure six to eight commissions annually until the river ran dry. To date, however, his West Palm Beach, Florida-based design firm hasn’t announced any commissions. Hence the alliance with Ohba Company, Ltd., which is said to be the largest company of its kind in Japan. The partners will be targeting “all the courses built in Japan during the 1980s but never modernized,” properties that the LB views as “dormant assets that can increase in value through redesigns.” Presuming clients can be found, Greg Norman Golf Course Design will “renovate, restore, reposition, and rebrand” the courses, while Ohba will handle permitting, construction management, and related matters.

     Advance Golf Partners has acquired what it views as “a premium public course” in “one of the top growth areas in Texas.” The venue so described is Bridlewood Golf Club in Flower Mound, a property that features an 18-hole, D. A. Weibring-designed layout that opened in 1997. Neither Advance nor the seller, Dominion Golf Group, has announced the price. Bridlewood is one of 11 courses in Advance’s portfolio, a collection that includes two others in Texas (Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club in Keller and WestRidge Golf Course in McKinney), four in Florida, and the remainder in Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. And if you’re wondering whether Topgolf is influencing golf operations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, take note: The Cross Timbers Gazette reports that Dallas-based Advance intends to spiff up Bridlewood’s practice area “by adding music and making targets and the driving range experience more fun.”

     Surplus Transactions – It took more than a year, but the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority has found a buyer for Suneagles Golf Course. Pending a successful closing, the 18-hole, A. W. Tillinghast-designed track in Eatontown, New Jersey will belong to Salvatore Martelli, a developer who’s agreed to pay $5 million for Suneagles’ 171 acres. Martelli thinks Suneagles is “a diamond in the rough,” and he intends to “restore it to its former glory.” . . . A group of nine families have seized control of the Club at Wynstone, a financially troubled, formerly member-owned venue in Chicagoland. The 28-year-old property, originally known as Wynstone Golf Club, features an 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus “signature” golf course, and it aims to rebrand itself as a “friendly, inclusive, comfortable, and respectful family-centered environment.” A price hasn’t been announced, but the Daily Herald says that the new owners paid off the club’s $6 million in debt. . . . Scott Greenseth, a golf-course builder, is the new owner of South Fork Creek Golf Course, an 18-hole, Joel Goldstrand-designed track in St. James, Minnesota. KEYC-TV reports that South Fork Creek, which has had numerous owners in its 95-year history, had been “on the brink of closing down for good.”

     The Inn at St. John’s, a former Catholic seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, has agreed to sell one-third of its 27-hole golf complex to a home builder. The inn, owned by the Archdiocese of Detroit, hasn’t said which of its Bruce Matthews-designed nines will go, but the choices are the Matthew, Mark, and Luke tracks. The archdiocese considers the transaction to be “a way to build on St. John’s financial and spiritual success.”

     Desolation Row Extended – It also appears that Hombre Golf Course, in Panama City Beach, Florida, will lose nine of its 27 holes. George Roberts, the complex’s owner, wants to build houses on the Hombre’s Good nine – as opposed to its Bad and Ugly nines – because the venue “is not doing very well.” Roberts, who just happens to be a home builder, bought the Hombre last year. . . . Elected officials in Courtland, Alabama have pulled the plug on Valley Landing Golf Course. The 18-hole track, a John K. Millhouse design, opened in 2001, and it reportedly cost $5 million to build. The Moulton Advertiser reports the city based its decision “on the lack of revenue Valley Landing was bringing in.” The city hopes to find a buyer. . . . The clock is ticking on Hiawatha Golf Club, a fixture in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1934. After much debate involving water-related issues, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board has voted to close Hiawatha’s 18-hole course, which was redesigned by Garrett Gill and Paul Miller, at the end of the 2019 golf season. The number of rounds annually played at the course has fallen to about 20,000 in recent years, a decline that the board reportedly attributes to “wet conditions and market changes.”