After filing for bankruptcy and reorganizing, what was formerly the private, members-only Lockhaven Country Club in Godfrey, Ill. is now “thriving” and seeing “extremely heavy” play after being reborn as the Lockhaven Golf Club.
Lockhaven Golf Club, in Godfrey, Ill., officially left behind its legacy as Lockhaven Country Club (LCC) with the signing of bankruptcy papers by Dr. Frank Bemis, LCC’s former President, on August 13, reports the Alton (Ill.) Telegraph. But as a now-public operation that is run by St. Louis-based Walters Golf Management, the future has become much brighter for the property with its new identity as Lockhaven GC the Telegraph reports.
The former country club became public as of January 1, 2013, the Telegraph reports, formalizing the transition from a private, members-only country club that began after LCC’s Board of Directors filed for bankruptcy to reorganize the club.
Walters Golf Management then eventually took over operations of the entity as a golf club open to the public, and since becoming public, Lockhaven has begun to thrive again, said Bemis, who stayed on to help run the club, along with the rest of the LCC Board, on a volunteer basis after the bankruptcy was declared.
Lockhaven Development Corp., which still owns the property and is a separate entity from the former LCC board, took over operations until Walters Golf Management was brought in to run it as a golf club, the Telegraph reports. Walters operates 18 clubs, both public and private, including Sunset Hills CC and others in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
“The reason for the demise of the country club model was because of a declining, aging membership, and it could not continue to function at the level a country club should with the amount of existing members,” Bemis told the Telegraph.
The transition to public began before the beginning of 2013, the Telegraph reports, with the LCC Board deciding to make the swimming pool and golf course available to non-members on a limited basis. In 2014, it was noted, extra perks for members, including locker room privileges, preferred tee times and driving range access, will be available to anyone who wants to pay extra for those benefits.
During the past several months, the Telegraph reports, the main dining room has ceased to operate as a sit-down restaurant, and the space has been made available for special-event rentals, including weddings, receptions, golf outings and private parties. “It has been very successful in booking many events,” Bemis said.
And while the main dining room closed, Lockhaven GC still offers a bar and grill with a full bar and limited food menu.
The general public must buy a swimming pool membership to use the pool, but anyone can do so with no prior association with the country club, the Telegraph reports. The pool will be closed after Labor Day weekend, but will reopen next summer season with a similar program.
“We’ve been very satisfied with Walters Golf Management,” said Bemis, who no longer is affiliated with the golf club in any Board or operations capacity. “Play has been extremely heavy. I feel the future of Lockhaven as a golf club is bright and feel very strongly that we have one of the finest golf course layouts in the St. Louis metro area.”
New “dynamic pricing” and extended hours for play have helped boost golf rounds, it was noted.
Feedback from first-time Lockhaven golfers has also been favorable, Bemis added. “We have had numerous comments from folks coming across the river [from Missouri] who are playing [Lockhaven] for the first time and have been extremely satisfied,” he said. “And these have been people who never played the course before, because they never could.”
The success of public play at Lockhaven came despite this summer’s weather challenges, it was noted. “As all golf courses [in the area] experienced, we had trials and tribulations with weather; it flooded and covered the number-one green and fairway, and the number two tee,” Bemis told the Telegraph. “We lost a number of weeks there.”
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