Neighbors blame poor upkeep for Wake golf course's possible closure

Posted June 29, 2014

— When Tony Withers looks out on the green grass at Crooked Creek Golf Club, alive with back-swings and golf carts, he sees a life achievement.

“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.”


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  • Tracy Watson Jul 1, 2014
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    From what I have learned from a friend who lives in the neighborhood the owner will not discuss that option with the residents. He is not being very cooperative at their meetings. The residents have hired a lawyer to assist them.

  • MrX-- Jun 30, 2014

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    Golf is an extremely time consuming sport. A year ago I decided to take back up the sport after about 15 years away. I have taken lessons and hit the range several times but have yet to find time to go and play a round.

  • Mods Hate Me Jun 30, 2014

    If you don't want your real estate value to drop then buy the course yourself. These homeowners have benefited from this course for years without having to deal with the stresses of its upkeep. And now that sale of the course is the only option for the owner of the golf course, the homeowners complain that he's greedy?

  • A person Jun 30, 2014

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    Again, no impact on the structure, just your wallet , which is absolutely no concern to anyone other than the owners of those houses. If they had been more careful with their home purchase, this would not be an issue for them either. Live and learn

  • A person Jun 30, 2014

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    My house, and yes I do own a house, would never drop in value for those reasons as I am never going to have townhouses built behind me. I was careful where I bought my home to make sure nothing like this can ever happen.

  • packfan1752 Jun 30, 2014

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    How a little course in Lillington can make a profit, but a nice course in Wake County cannot, is beyond comprehension.

    FYI, the renovation to fix the greens is in the millions. I remember many people saying Withers made a bad decision by using bent grass instead of bermuda (which is low to no maintenance)

    The guy built the golf course to fail as he didn't know what he was doing.

  • sunshine1040 Jun 30, 2014

    The golf course is a business the business is loosing money of course it will close You still want the course there then you and your neighbors make a purchase offer to buy and run it. You still live on the golf course and maybe even have another income.

  • packfan1752 Jun 30, 2014

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    You must not own a home, as property value will plummet in Crooked Creek. Do you really think your home will be appraised for the same or more if your back yard is a row of town homes and a parking lot?


  • Lightfoot3 Jun 30, 2014

    "I stand by my statement that the houses will not be impacted at all." - A person

    Of course you do. It also doesn't impact the orbit of Jupiter. But in the realm of real estate, property value is a huge component of "impact". You said it wouldn't involve their homes in "any way". You didn't limit it to structure only. Value is one of those ways it will impact it.

  • A person Jun 30, 2014

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    So it impacts your net worth, but still has no impact on your house at all. Those houses will continue to stand there, and will be just as livable after as they are before, so again I stand by my statement that the houses will not be impacted at all.