The golf course hosted a farewell tournament on March 26 before officially closing its doors today. The property filed for bankruptcy in October 2013, and despite attempts by the course professional to lease the golf course for continued use, Ridgewood Real Estate Partners has opted to transform the land into a residential development.
This weekend marked the final rounds for golfers at Edgmont (Pa.) Country Club, the Primos, Pa.-based Delaware County Daily Times reported.
A farewell tournament on March 26 offered members a final goodbye, as the club ceased operations following Easter Sunday to make way for a housing development, the Daily Times reported.
It was a bittersweet end for many longtime members who said the 18-hole, par-70 course had never looked better, the Daily Times reported.
“It’s the best shape through winter it’s ever been; we were very excited to see how it would turn out this spring,” said course professional Craig Susalka. “It’s so disappointing and disheartening to see the course in this shape close its door.”
The short, 6,537-yard course sprawls high and low over a 190-acre plot bordering Ridley Creek State Park, and spreading from Delaware County into Chester County, it was finalized in a development deal to Ridgewood Real Estate Partners, the Daily Times reported.
At the final hole Saturday, Pam Mariani, daughter of Edgmont CC instructor Nazz Mariani, who said her job as a young girl was to introduce the children of members to the game of golf, gave hugs to longtime members and said, “It’s not ‘goodbye,’ it’s ‘see you later,’” the Daily Times reported.
“It’s heartbreaking, it’s like planning a funeral,” Mariani said. “But that, too, is a celebration of life. There are fourth-generation of members leaving with sweet, wonderful memories. I’ve been honored to serve them.”
Deals had been sought to change hands of the course over other clubs who would have kept operations going as usual. Edgmont CC Chief Financial Officer Peter Mariani, whose father Frank Mariani and uncle Nazz Mariani constructed the course in 1963, said keeping the course active was their first choice, the Daily Times reported.
“The talks were very active, we were trying to do it,” Mariani said. “We worked very hard to keep the course open, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Between entertaining the idea of selling parts of the property to various groups to finding different methods of funding, Mariani said the course, which is marketed to the middle-class golfer, was untenable with the market decline, the Daily Times reported.
Edgmont CC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2013 when the business owed more than $2.2 million to PNC Bank in the form of a line of credit and two mortgages, as well as $266,000 in unpaid real estate taxes. Mariani said the bankruptcy filing stemmed from an “aggressive” PNC Bank seeking Edgmont CC’s technical default of loans, the Daily Times reported.
“All creditors have been paid 100%, all debtors, all vendors paid, all members have received full value of their membership,” Mariani said. “The bankruptcy was strictly a defensive move.”
However, through the bankruptcy there were talks to sell the course. Part-owner and General Manager Pam Mariani held a 50% share in the company, according to the bankruptcy document filed in 2013, while the other 50% was held in trusts. Peter Mariani said the value for the development exceeded the value as a golf course, the Daily Times reported.
Plans for development of Edgmont have not been announced, but Mariani stated that it will be developed into homes, the Daily Times reported.
This all came as a surprise to longtime members when the announcement was made in the beginning of the month. Susalka got to work immediately trying to lease the course from the new owners, promising between $250,000 and $300,000 to cover taxes, cart fleet leases, insurance and maintenance. He wanted to lease the property directly, retain the existing members, and keep the course operational for as long as possible, the Daily Times reported.
“I was frantically trying to get in front of members to say ‘don’t go anywhere else,’” Susalka said.
Enlisting the support of Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, which is dealing with an issue that has left greens unplayable, Susalka was hoping to bring in members, food and beverage vendors and maintenance equipment. He knew that in a couple weeks the course would be too “cost-prohibitive to turn around.” But, Ridgewood Real Estate Partners didn’t bite, the Daily Times reported.
“They didn’t want to deal with the potential liability,” Susalka said. “They just wanted to be done with it.”
Under the direction of Mark Hendrixson, the superintendent of the courses, players said this week that Edgmont had never looked so good. “It becomes our passion, it’s more than a piece of land,” Hendrixson said. “I thank the good Lord for giving me the opportunity to work here.”
Hendrixson has already picked up a new job at Flying Hills Golf Course in Reading, Pa., but he said his three years at Edgmont CC won’t be easily forgotten, the Daily Times reported.
“The most important aspect is our livelihood, and this is a total lifestyle change,” he said. “It’s more than just a paycheck.”
No words were spoken with more weight than PGA and Champions Tour golfer Ed Dougherty, who from his home in Florida spoke over the phone and expressed his dismay that he won’t get to play Edgmont one last time, the Daily Times reported.
“I went to Edgmont on August 5, 1969 to play a free round of golf, and I never looked back,” Dougherty said. “ I was a golf professional and I wanted to see it stay. I only ever said I was from Edgmont.”