New homes will be built on the golf course, which had been the centerpiece of the White Hawk Estate development. American Golf had operated the Bixby, Okla., course for 20 years until Roger Rodich bought it in 2018. But losses of $273,000 in his first year of ownership and rounds that fell well short of break-even projections forced the decision to close, Rodich said.
The White Hawk Golf Club in Bixby, Okla., has closed, the Tulsa (Okla.) World reported. Owner Roger Rodich made the announcement on February 10. Since 1993, the 165-acre course has been the centerpiece of the White Hawk Estate development, the World reported.
Rodich said that new homes—comparable in size and quality to those already on the property—will be built on the golf course acreage, the World reported. Within the White Hawk Estate subdivision, the average home price is more than $300,000.
The American Golf management company operated the White Hawk course from 1998 until February 2018, according to the World’s report. Having had a minority stake in the ownership, Rodich purchased the golf property in 2018.
To reach break-even status, Rodich explained, there had to be a minimum of $75,000 per month in golf and food revenue. But actual income fell far below that figure, he told the World—In his first 11 months of ownership, Rodich said, the club’s losses amounted to $273,000.
When Rodich became the owner, he hoped for a 12-month total of 30,000 rounds of golf at $30 per round, he told the World. But in the 11-month period, only 13,808 rounds were played at an average of $27.50.
During a February 10 meeting, Rodich informed White Hawk residents of the golf course closure, the World reported. He and his wife have been White Hawk residents since 1996.
“I have more investment tolerance than anyone I know,” Rodich said, “but there weren’t any positive indicators. If we had doubled our rounds, we’d still be losing money.
“If we had been anywhere near 30,000 rounds, then you would have some hope,” he told the World. “If we had been [on pace for] 25,000, then you would have some hope. We worked hard and spent money on improvements, but people just aren’t playing as much golf as they used to.”
As the course had lost money for several years before he bought it, Rodich added, “I knew it was going to take a miracle” for White Hawk to flourish at desired levels. “Or even to survive,” he added.
The White Hawk GC website now has a notice that says the club has been “permanently closed.”
“After a 20-year ownership and one year of private ownership, White Hawk Golf Club will be closed effective immediately as a result of 15-plus years of in golf business decline,” the notice reads. “The golf club will not reopen for the 2019 golf season.
“We want to thank all of the loyal community supporters and club members for a valiant effort in an attempt to save a course [that] has lost money for several years,” the notice continues. “We wish everyone the best, and please continue to get out and play the game of golf to preserve the history and allow the future to enjoy the sport we all love.”
Since 2013, the World reported, six Tulsa-area courses have now closed: Catoosa’s Scissortail, Glenpool’s Cotton Creek, Okmulgee Country Club, Broken Arrow’s Emerald Falls and Sapulpa’s Clary Fields, in addition to White Hawk.
The closing results in the displacement of Bixby High School golfers, the World reported, who had used White Hawk as their home course. Bixby Athletic Director Jay Bittle told the World that the Spartan golfers will now play on two Broken Arrow, Okla. courses (Indian Springs and Lit’l Links) and at The Links on Memorial in Bixby.
One Bixby resident living in the White Hawk Estate development, Brent Mackey, told the World that the news of the golf course’s closing was “just disappointing.”
“I bought my home with golf being a huge factor,” Mackey said. “Everybody is worried about what will happen to their property values. I don’t think everybody was worried about the golf course, or they would have supported it more.
“The condition of the golf course improved under [Rodich’s] ownership,” Mackey added. “It’s just a shame that the support wasn’t there. The truth is, nobody’s making any money in the golf business right now.”