Private and public golf courses alike are reaping the benefits of Meadowbrook Country Club’s closure in 2014, and will likely see an additional influx of business when the golf course at Brookridge Golf and Fitness Club is redeveloped. Canyon Farms Golf Club in Lenexa, Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills and Milburn Country Club in Overland Park each reported recent increases in membership.
The closure of Meadowbrook Country Club and the planned closing of Brookridge Golf and Fitness Club has Overland Park, Kan.’s golf scene in a state of transition regarding memberships and course traffic, the Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported.
Meadowbrook closed in October 2014, leaving 400 to 500 golfers searching for a new venue. That, combined with the recent announcement that Brookridge Golf and Fitness Club’s course will be transformed into a massive mixed-use development project, has left other county private and public courses reaping the benefits, the Star reported.
“We’ve definitely had an increase in membership,” said Steve Specht, General Manager at Canyon Farms Golf Club in Lenexa, Kan., which went from a public course into a private one in April, the Star reported.
“The Meadowbrook crew has been looking for a place to play,” Specht said. “We were an option for them. I’ve heard Brookridge is in flux, and I think that has helped other courses. Whenever there is one less private course, those members are going to find another place.”
Chris Fink, General Manager of Deer Creek Golf Club in Overland Park, noted there’s been a trickle-down effect for other courses, private and public ones,with just the Meadowbrook closing, the Star reported.
“You have one course that used to do 20,000 rounds, and those rounds are looking for other places to play,” he said. “I think all the private clubs benefitted with Meadowbrook closing, but it sure didn’t hurt the public courses. The private clubs become closed or close to it, and then that helps the public courses get more rounds.”
Michael Stacks, General Manager of Indian Hills Country Club, said he “absolutely” has seen a recent increase in membership at the private club in Mission Hills, the Star reported.
“Most new members don’t specifically say if they’re coming from another club, but I know three families from both Meadowbrook and Brookridge that have come here,” he said. “When a club closes and another club is going to close, there’s a ripple effect. Our numbers are certainly up.”
Milburn Country Club, a private course in Overland Park, has also seen a significant jump in memberships over the last year according to General Manager Tim Mervosh, the Star reported.
“I think it’s more due to what we’ve done recently with renovations than the Meadowbrook closing,” Mervosh said. “Those people went to a number of different places.”
Steve Price, General Manager of Falcon Ridge Golf Club in Lenexa, contends there are already too many courses in the area, the Star reported.
“From the time the economy went in the tank in 2008, that’s the time golf development has stopped,” said Price. “The sport itself has lost players over the years. The millennials are largely growing up playing other sports. All that translates to fewer players playing golf. Other courses closing, that’s only a good thing for the market, honestly.”
Business at Falcon Ridge, however, is up this summer, though Price said he couldn’t automatically attribute it to Meadowbrook’s closing and the situation at Brookridge, the Star reported.
“We’re not lacking any business,” he said. “I know I might get a couple of events from those two. We feel lucky. We’re in a really good location.”
Fink agreed with Price’s assessment of golf in Johnson County. “At the end of the day, the market is saturated,” he said. “There’s too many golf courses. It would actually help if a couple more closed.”
Mervosh noted, however, he’s witnessing positive signs for golf in Johnson County, the Star reported.
“We’re seeing people come back to the game and our average age has decreased quite a bit,” he said. “There’s always going to be clubs that survive and ones that don’t. The market will level itself. There’s always going to be competitors out there for dollars. We’re not only competing against other clubs, but other entertainment options.”