Friday, December 28, 2012

Memento Mori, december 28, 2012

The final rounds at Patch Golf Club, in Groves, Texas, will be played on December 30. “The constant rise in fuel prices, insurance, insecticides, herbicides, and the cost of maintaining equipment, combined with declining revenues, left us no choice,” said Brad Bailey, the course’s owner and the town’s mayor. The Patch’s nine-hole, 67-year-old course was nothing special -- the Port Arthur News called the club “pretty much a bare-bones operation” -- but it nurtured Chris Stroud, who’s now a PGA pro. “The Patch has a special place in my heart,” Stroud told the newspaper. “When my friends were going to parties, I was at the Patch, often playing by myself.” The News believes the course “is being sold as part of a real estate development.”

The end is near for a U.S. Navy golf course on the island of Guam. Admiral Chester Nimitz Golf Course, which opened in 1952, will close on February 10, 2013. The reasons: It’s in the path of military development and it loses money. “The golf course has been incurring a significant revenue loss over the past three years,” the navy said in a press release, “and is not considered the best use of tax dollars, particularly in today’s challenging fiscal environment.” The 6,785-yard track was said to be “a favorite for all levels of golfers because of its wide fairways and friendly rates.”

In what a local newspaper described as “an emotional auction that disappointed many members,” Lake View Golf Club in Sterling, Illinois was sold last month. “There were a lot of tears shed, mine included,” admitted one of the club’s officials in the wake of the sale. The club, which had been foreclosed upon by its lender, featured an 18-hole golf course that now belongs to Charlie Lawrence, the owner of a local trucking company. Lawrence declined to tell reporters what he plans to do with the property, but a club official said it would be converted into a cattle farm.

A residential developer has agreed to buy Hillcrest Golf & Country Club, in Altoona, Wisconsin, and a closing is expected to take place before the end of the year. “We’re in the process of creating a conceptual plan to develop the entire site,” Jim Rooney told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. “The possibilities are endless, but we are a real estate company, not a golf course company.” Hillcrest, which features an 18-hole golf course that opened in 1926, had seen its membership shrink to fewer than 100 members this year. It reportedly owed its lender $2.1 million, most of it borrowed to build a new clubhouse a little more than a decade ago.

After experiencing what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel calls “a drastic decline in rounds played in recent years,” Raymond Heights Golf Course has closed. The nine-hole, par-3 track in Caledonia, Wisconsin rang up 15,000 to 20,000 rounds annually from the mid 1990s through the early 2000s, but its owner, Tim Stare, says that in recent years the number has dropped by about half. The course, which used to describe itself as “a beginner- and child-friendly” layout, opened in the early 1960s. “We do not know what the new owner has planned,” Stare wrote in an e-mail to the course’s customers, “but we do not anticipate that he will be operating it as a golf course.”

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