Neighbors blame poor upkeep for Wake golf course's possible closure
Posted June 29, 2014
“This was a dream,” said Withers, who started the club in the early 1990s with four business partners. “I love this place.”
The Fuquay-Varina golf course could soon be sold and replaced with houses – a necessary change, Withers says, because of growing competition among local golf clubs and shrinking funds.
That change is not sitting well with some neighbors, including Dan Lake, who was among the first to move near the golf course in 1993. His house stands guard on the fifth hole.
“(It’s) very disappointing,” Lake said. “I did move here because of the golf course.”
Neighbor Randy Wells says he’s worried about what will be behind his house if the course is sold.
“Is it empty space or is it going to be another house – or a number of houses?” he asked. “I am disappointed, more than anything.”
The golf course owners say they have never been able to make any money out of the greens and that competition has been fierce. In the past 20 years, more than 20 other golf courses have opened in the Triangle, taking a swing at their business.
Some neighbors say they believe the owners have been lax with the links, driving good golfers away by not properly maintaining the course.
“If you don’t take care of it and continue putting money into it and support the people who are helping you, you’re going to lose it,” Lake said.
Withers says he and his partners have done all that they can with the revenue they have.
“Even if we made this the most pristine course in the country, it still wouldn’t generate enough revenue,” he said.
Further, Withers says, golf's popularity has been on downswing for years.
“It’s a small mom-and-pop operation. Golf is dying, and the revenue return for real estate is exorbitantly different than running a golf course,” he said. “The competition is ruthless.”
Withers says the property will soon be under contract, but he declined to identify the buyer. He says the course will remain open at least through the end of the year, and he might try to keep it open as a nine-hole course. He says it grieves him to have to sell it, but that he has no choice.
The covenants and conditions for the neighborhood say that the golf course could someday be developed into homes, but Wells is still saddened.
“At the time, I never dreamt that could happen,” he said. “I would say, up until a year ago, I never thought that would happen, but here we are.”