The course is now known as Saginaw Valley Public Golf Course, the pool is slated to close, and member locker rooms will be converted into banquet rooms. The family that bought the club in 2010 said having “country club” in the name was keeping potential players away.
After years of struggling to attract private members, owners of what had existed for 117 years as the Bay City (Mich.) Country Club have opened the once-exclusive golf course entirely to the public, MLive.com reported. Effective February 1, the property has been renamed Saginaw Valley Public Golf Course, because having “country club” in the name was keeping potential players away, the club’s owners say.
Wendy Dore, daughter of Bay City businessman Art Dore and a Director of Bay City CC, told MLive.com that the goal after her father bought the 117-year-old club in January 2010 was to continue running it as a private club with some available golf times for the public, but it ultimately didn’t make business sense.
“The model has changed over the years,” Wendy Dore said. “Private country clubs just aren’t as popular, or as important to people as they were years ago.”
Daily golf rates for the 18-hole course are to range from $25 to $45, MLive.com reported. There will no longer be a restaurant for members, but the facility is to continue operating as a banquet center. A sports pub and grill is to offer beer and basic food, like hot dogs, to golfers.
The pool is slated to close, Wendy Dore said. Member locker rooms are likely to be converted into banquet rooms, she added, noting that there are several weddings already on the books for the 2015 season.
After the Dores took over the business, its 120 members, who paid $4,200 per year for a family membership, continued to enjoy amenities such as a private locker room, dining privileges and reserved golf times, MLive.com reported. And while golf times were offered to the public, Wendy Dore said, the name “Bay City Country Club” kept potential players away.
“I’ve heard many people tell me they’ve always wanted to play the course, but thought they needed to be a member, or know a member,” she said. “When people hear ‘country club,’ they think it’s private and that they’re not welcomed there.”
Jerome Yantz, a member of the club since 1974 who served as one of its past presidents, said members are disappointed that the club’s historic run is coming to an end.
“It feels like the community is losing something special,” Yantz told MLive.com. “But those of us who are members realize the way private country clubs are going. The Dores have done everything they could have, and I’ve admired their work.”
No new members had signed on since the Dores took over in 2010, Yantz added. “Younger people don’t seem to have the time to do it and as members get older, they just seem to fade away,” he said.
Art Dore purchased the country club for $1.6 million from Terra Management Inc., a Phoenix-based property investment firm that defaulted on its mortgage of about $3.2 million held by National City Bank, MLive.com reported. That 2010 sale also cleared up more than $41,000 in back property taxes that the club owed to Bay County (Mich.).
James Kruszynski, who recently partnered with Greg Matekel in purchasing Maple Hill Golf Course in Saginaw County, Mich., is to continue operating the golf course, MLive.com reported. Public league play will be $20 for nine holes, including a cart.
“We plan on underpricing everybody and keeping the course in the same impeccable shape it has been in,” Kruszynski said.