Brett Melton, the owner of nearby Country Club of Old Vincennes (Ind.), purchased the 26-year-old golf course with plans to sell the land for real estate development. Melton noted that the county has three golf courses and each one is struggling: “It’s a business. It’s no different than selling hamburgers; if you’re not selling enough hamburgers at two places, one is going to go under.”
Brett Melton, owner of Country Club of Old Vincennes (Ind.), completed his purchase on the Vincennes (Ind.) Golf Club on December 6, with plans to close the 26-year-old golf course and sell the land for real estate development, the Vincennes (Ind.) Sun-Commercial reported.
“The county is blessed with three golf courses, all of which are struggling,” Melton said. “Something had to be done or we all were going to die.”
Melton bought the property from Hillcrest Golf Investors owner Mark Ide for an undisclosed sum. The golf course originally opened as Fox Ridge Country Club in 1988, the Sun-Commercial reported.
“I didn’t know it was for sale until about a month ago. Mark, I guess, had other people trying to purchase it and it fell through,” Melton said. “He called me and asked if I wanted to be the sole owner of all the golf in Vincennes.”
Melton purchased the previously semi-private Elks course in 2009. He made it a public course and changed the name to the Country Club of Old Vincennes and built a new clubhouse, which also houses a restaurant/bar, and put in a new irrigation system for the course, the Sun-Commercial reported.
It was the first time Vincennes had two public golf courses, and that appears to be one more than the market could bear. Melton said there’s not enough golf played in Vincennes to keep two courses open, the Sun-Commercial reported.
“In order to break even, I need 15,000 rounds a year played. We’ve been close, between 13,000-14,000 rounds. So we lose a little,” Melton said. “(VGC) had about 9,000-10,000 rounds a year.
“So it doesn’t take long to look at the numbers and see we were all losing money,” he said. “It’s a business. It’s no different than selling hamburgers; if you’re not selling enough hamburgers at two places, one is going to go under.”
After opening as Fox Ridge in 1988, the property became Hillcrest Hills in 2004 and the Vincennes Golf Club in 2006. In the midst of its first name change, the course was closed and went unkempt for a year. The picturesque layout had some “quirky” holes with it being near impossible to walk because of the long distances between some greens and the next tee, the Sun-Commercial reported.
“It doesn’t make me happy to close a golf course. I know a lot of families are impacted,” Melton said. “If we had 15,000 rounds at each place, we would keep it open. But it’s not in the cards.”
Melton plans to turn the VGC clubhouse into a restaurant-night club, with plans to open in March. One of the names he’s considering is “Fox’s Den,” the Sun-Commercial reported.