5 On Your Side

Widow wonders: Will golf course do the right thing?

Posted June 4, 2013
Updated June 5, 2013

A lot of people love to escape on the links.

Henry Smith was one of them. An avid golfer, he had a platinum membership at the Riverwood Golf Club in Clayton.

He was a member for more than a decade – then he got sick.

Cancer put Smith in the hospital for a month before he died in early May.

“When the doctors told us on April 29 that these are your options, and you need to consider them, there’s a lot of things that go through your head that you really don't want to think about,” said Tammie Smith, Henry’s widow.

“But knowing that you're losing an income and what you have ahead of you – your husband's been in the hospital for a month, insurance only pays so much. So I was hoping to cancel the membership.”

The monthly membership cost: $211.

Tammie Smith knew Riverwood had a 30-day cancellation policy. But considering the circumstances, she thought the club managers would help.

"I had one individual tell me that rules are rules and we can't help you,” she said. “I had another individual tell me that once it's gone to accounting, there's nothing I can do about it.

She added, “I couldn't argue with them, it's legally 30-day notice. But you would think that, just being human about it."

Five On Your Side called Riverwood Golf Club and left a message for manager Keith Heiner. He called the next day saying he mailed a check two days earlier.

Ironically, that afternoon, Smith said she “came home and opened the door, and it was in our front door.”

Smith feels there's something to be learned from the situation.

"There are sensitive issues out there that could be handled in a different way," she said.

The chief operating officer of the Fred Smith Co., which owns Riverwood Golf Club, told WRAL News on Tuesday that he actually approved the refund 12 days before it was hand-delivered to her on the day that 5 On Your Side called.

He said maybe the company could have done a better job communicating that to her.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • same ole story Jun 13, 2013

    This story needs to come down. If I was the golf course I would consider this bad publicity - they did what they should and still got bad press. Enough already. They title SHOULD be: Golf Course Does the RIGHT THING! How about that?
    Just Once

    Another of the Freddy trolls. This should have not even been a story!!! BUT They got caught trying to be greedy and bot caring about the customers that PAY THEIR SALARY!!!!!!!! Just one more example of the small town corporate greed!!!!! You seem to forget that this family had paid well over $25,000 to play a game of golf over the years. They couldn't even have the common courtesy to give back a mere $211???????? When confronted with the facts they did nothing but out right lie about it!!!! "Cut a check 2 weeks ago" Yeah right!!!!!! Were they waiting for the Pony Express to stop by????? If it wasn't for Monica this woman in a time of extreme distress WOULD NEVER HAVE GOTTEN A DIME!!! Keith Hiener needs to be held accountable! FIRED!!!

  • Just Once Jun 12, 2013

    This story needs to come down. If I was the golf course I would consider this bad publicity - they did what they should and still got bad press. Enough already. They title SHOULD be: Golf Course Does the RIGHT THING! How about that?

  • same ole story Jun 10, 2013

    MichaelOps Well said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • HomeBrewDude Jun 10, 2013

    I live here in Riverwood. These guys are crooks. We pay a good deal for maintenance and they never ever do anything with that money. Landscaping is at a pure minimal, cheap effort. There is more mud in this neighborhood then grass. Garbage is all over the place. A bunch of cheapskates.
    The staff is rude and abrasive and I can tell you with my experience that the company would not have written any check if WRAL did not get involved.

  • nufsaid Jun 10, 2013

    "superman, it was $200 a month :(

    This was about a requirement of 30 days notice to cancel. Thus it was about $200.

  • whyalltheproblems Jun 7, 2013

    superman, it was $200 a month :(

  • whyalltheproblems Jun 7, 2013

    better job communicating? ya think? glad this worked out.

  • Indifferent...sometimes Jun 7, 2013

    itneverchanges, review the story again without reading between the lines. Sounds like you have a prior beef with this company. It says the approval was given 12 days earlier, but the story doesnt report if there were docs shown to support it. Sounds to me like someone just dropped the ball on sending the refund. The guy apparently fibbed when he stated he put the "check in the mail" and then it mysteriously shows up in the door. Common sense would tell you to fess up to the oversight and state the facts. Just saying.

  • superman Jun 7, 2013

    She must be pretty desperate to go to such lengths to get $200.00. I feel sorry for her.

  • albegadeep Jun 7, 2013

    Yeah, itneverchanges, whatelse is new IS comparing an apartment payment to a golf payment. Both are long-term contracts with a 30-day required notice. And the apartment is MUCH more expensive.

    The golf course was quite gracious to waive the 30-day notice in this case, but they had no legal requirement to do so. That's not greed - it's called a CONTRACT. If it was a 1-year notice, it would be different; but you just have to tell them one month in advance. This is NOT an unreasonable requirement!

    itneverchanges, your screed is dangerously close to "how dare you disagree with me!"