Members of the Evans, Ga. property played their final round on September 8th as many took time to reminisce. The decision to close the club was made due to the “delay and uncertainty of the ongoing litigation against Columbia County,” according to a letter sent to club members. The attorney for the club stated that the club is not backing down from its current lawsuit against the county in regards to stormwater flooding.
Jones Creek Golf Club is now closed, and the attorney for the recently closed Columbia County golf club said the club is not backing down from a lawsuit against the county government in a dispute over stormwater flooding, reported The Augusta Chronical.
You could feel the pain the members are going through, knowing they will never hit a birdie again on that property, reported WJBF-TV in Augusta, Ga.
“This is literally my entire childhood and adulthood,” explained Dylan Lyons. “I spent my entire life here.”
Jones Creek Golf Club suspended operations Sunday evening “driven by the delay and uncertainty of the ongoing litigation against Columbia County,” according to a letter sent to club members and signed by club general manager Ray Mundy, reported the Chronicle.
It’s the last swing anyone will ever take at Jones Creek Golf Club, reported WJBF-TV.
The environmental group Savannah Riverkeeper and Jones Creek Investors filed federal suit in October 2011 against several entities, reported the Chronical. The suit contended the club’s Willow Lake and waterways downstream have been damaged by flooding and excessive sedimentation, both on the golf course and on residential property in the adjoining Jones Creek subdivision.
Homeowners around Willow Lake have blamed the damage on poor planning and such developments in past years as Evans Towne Center Park and the Marshall Square retirement community, which was destroyed in a 2015 fire, the Chronical reported.
A ruling in the federal suit earlier this year favored the county.
Dylan Lyons joined other golfers September 9th remembering fun times and trying to enjoy the last time, reported WJBF-TV.
“We’ll probably take a ton of pictures, but we are going to play until dark at least,” said Lyons. “At least 36 holes, but yeah we’re just going to take it in. It is what is, and we just got to enjoy it.”
The golf course has been a staple in Columbia County since 1985, reported WJBF-TV.
In a statement issued September 7th, Columbia County denied liability in the case and said the county would continue to defend itself in court, the Chronical reported.
The county also said it has “not yet been given an accounting by Jones Creek” of about $800,000 in settlement monies that it said the club received from other defendants in the federal suit, the Chronical reported.
“This is important because Jones Creek promised to set aside part of these settlement funds to address the problems and impacts allegedly caused by those other defendants,” the county said in its statement. “These settling defendants included 100 percent of the parties that Jones Creek alleged to be the source of flooding in the federal lawsuit.”
Harry D. Revell, the attorney representing Jones Creek Investors LLC, called the county’s assertion about settlement proceeds a “red herring,” reported the Chronicle.
“We believe the Jones Creek Golf Club members and homeowners in the neighborhood support JCI’s efforts to find a reasonable solution to this longstanding flooding problem,” he said. “They are naturally troubled by the likelihood of a negative impact on property values and home sales in this neighborhood. One would think the county would want to avoid such a negative impact on our tax base.”
Regarding the future of the golf club itself and its obligations to members, Revell said the club is “still determining its next steps.”
“Jones Creek will honor any existing agreements for community and special events scheduled at the clubhouse for the rest of this year,” Revell said. “We have not yet determined what, if anything, can be done in the way of refunds for golf memberships.”
Lyons, who has been a part of the community for 27 years, says the golf course was the reason why his parents moved there, reported WJBF-TV.
“They never moved anywhere else outside of the neighborhood, and this is home,” said Lyons. “It’s more than just a golf course; it’s also the neighborhood, the homeowners and everything else.”
Devin spoke with several homeowners who say they moved to the area for Jones Creek Golf Club.
Billy O’Grady has called the neighborhood home since he moved there with his parents at the age of five. He says now part of his childhood will be missing, reported WJBF-TV.
“We live by number nine, so I have continuously played number nine my entire life,” said O’Grady. “I’ve probably played it a 1000 times, if not more. It’s my backyard.”
Not only will the golf course go, but some employees tell us they will have to find work elsewhere, reported WJBF-TV.
Members including O’Grady told Devin, they hope someone buys the course, reported WJBF-TV.
“Hopefully, we have somebody come buys this great golf course here soon,” explained O’Grady. “It deserves the attention; it deserves the play, it’s one of the best in Augusta.”