The co-owners of the club, L.B. Wilson and the town of Hope Mills, closed the property because of financial losses. Wilson, who also served as the club’s operator, owns 35 acres of the property and plans to sell his portion, but believes the property “would never be a golf course again.”
Hope Mills (N.C.) Golf Club, which opened in the 1930s, closed on February 10 due to financial losses, the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported.
“It was strictly a financial decision,” said co-owner and operator L.B. Wilson.
“I’ve been carrying that place since I bought it,” said Wilson, who bought his interest in the course 11 years ago. “Business has been terribly bad since November. I had no more money to put into it. I can’t afford to keep it up.”
Wilson added that it was ironic the course was closing because “it’s in the best shape it has been in a long time.”
The general downturn in the golf industry in recent years combined with the unusually cold winter this year were too much to overcome, Wilson told the Observer.
“Saturday, the weather wasn’t that bad and we only had eight players,” Wilson said. “But we’ve had 12 weeks of bad weather this year instead of the six we normally have. We’re not making the bills.”
Wilson owns 35 acres of the property with the town of Hope Mills owning 80 acres. Wilson paid the town $1,200 in rent and all the maintenance costs, the Observer reported.
“We got along good,” Wilson said, “but no matter how much money I put into it, I was never going to own the whole course.”
Wilson plans to sell his 35 acres but added that the town is not interested in buying it. The YMCA owns the 20 acres behind Wilson’s property, and Wilson plans to give them the first chance to buy his land, the Observer reported.
Wilson said he thought the property “would never be a golf course again.”
Hope Mills Town Manager John Ellis could not be reached by the Observer for comment.
Wilson also owns Sandy Ridge Golf Club in Dunn, and Greensbridge in Sampson County, which he is trying to sell. He built Sandy Ridge in 1989 and Greensbridge in 1995, the Observer reported.
“I’ve put a figure on it that, if I was a young man, I’d buy it myself,” he said. “I’m trying to cut down to where I have only one course to look after.”
Wilson said the reaction from regular players at Hope Mills has been predictable, the Observer reported.
“They’re sorry to see it go but they understand it,” Wilson said. “They tell me they’ll come to Sandy Ridge or Greensbridge to play.”
Wilson, 63, said he is thinking about retiring and playing more golf himself, the Observer reported.
“I’m not mad or disappointed,” Wilson said. “I have no hard feelings. People were fairly loyal to it. But with this extra six weeks of winter, everybody is hurting. There is no way to get around the weather.”