The 37-foot, multi-million-dollar waterfall on the 18th green at the Wynn Golf Club will flow no more. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor) The sixth hole is one of five holes on the Atlantic Ocean lost during the closure of Ocean Links at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor) A cannon is positioned behind the 14th green at Cannon Ridge Golf Club in Fredericksburg, Va. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)

Bye, Bye Birdie: 2017 brought more notable golf course closures



This past year brought more painful golf course closures.

Golfers lost five of the best ocean holes on the eastern seaboard, one of the most exclusive (and expensive) Top 100 public golf courses in America, arguably the best public play in Kentucky and one of the "best modern designs" if you follow the preachings of Golfweek.

Losing this dynamic fourball - the Ocean Links at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Wynn Golf Club, Old Silo Golf Club and Wolf Run Golf Club - should surprise no one. Ocean Links was considered the stepchild of the three courses at the resort, Wynn was never more than a toy for casino mogul Steve Wynn, Kentucky doesn't attract many traveling golfers and Wolf Run has been a rumored casualty for years.

The final tally for course closures in 2017 won't be known for several months until the National Golf Foundation releases its annual report. Last year, 211.5 courses closed, according to the NGF, which projected "150 to 175" closures this year. In researching this story, I found dozens upon dozens of courses either closed or on the brink. Expect more of the same in 2018 as course supply continues to more properly align with customer demand.

The futures of high-profile places to play such as Bulle Rock Golf Club in Havre de Grace, Md., and two award-winning Mike Strantz designs in Virginia - The Tradition Golf Club at Stonehouse in Toano and The Tradition Golf Club At Royal New Kent in Providence Forge - are in limbo (Both Strantz courses no longer have operating websites). Pete Dye's Top 100 Bulle Rock, a former host of a major on the LPGA Tour, is for sale.

Municipal courses around the country from Stockton, Calif., to Tucson, Ariz., and beyond are also under attack as government officials look for ways to cut costs. Two prominent munis - Fitzsimons Golf Course in Aurora, Colo., (home to "Ike's Tree" named in honor of President Dwight Eisenhower) and the Highland Park Country Club in Highland Park, Ill., - shuttered for good in December.

The final Deegan's Dozen of 2017 looks at 12 of the best golf courses to close this year:

12. Winchendon Golf Club, Winchendon, Mass.

Comment: Any time a course with a Donald Ross lineage dating to 1926 closes, it's time to shed a tear. Winchendon, adjacent to a prep school of the same name, never opened in 2017, according to a clubandresortbusiness.com story. Golf Advisor user 'u000007635743' titled her 2015 review 'Donald Ross Beauty but Getting Old'. She wrote: "If you like Donald Ross the golf course designer then you'll LOVE these greens. Quick, many false fronts and in GREAT shape. The rest of the course is very tough (conditions-wise). Many, many boulders coming up through the fairway plus you'll need to ride your golf cart like a jockey on the horse or you will need a chiropractor later. Some very tough par 3's and short nearly driveable par 4's."

11. San Geronimo Golf Club, San Geronimo, Calif.

San Geronimo

Comment: The consensus best public course in Marin County north of San Francisco closes Dec. 31 after being bought by the county for a maximum of $8.85 million, according to a to a marinij.com story. The land trust buying the 157-acre golf course will thwart a potential sale to a private developer and "protect endangered central coast coho and threatened steelhead trout in (the) San Geronimo Creek and its tributary, Larsen Creek." Golfers lose a hilly and serene 6,801-yard course by Robert Muir Graves dating to the 1960s. Golf Advisor user 'u000004394450' wrote in his four-star review: "Its really so sad an area so beautiful will be just wild growth in a year. I feel for the people with the beautiful houses looking over the course. Soon it will just be wetland and they will lose serious money."

10. Cannon Ridge Golf Club, Fredricksburg, Va.

Cannon Ridge

Comment: Cannon Ridge tried to make a comeback in 2016 after a multi-year closure, but it just wasn't meant to be for the demanding Deane Beman/Bobby Weed design on the outskirts of Washington D.C. Built upon a historic Civil War site in 2003, Cannon Ridge tried to piggy back on that theme with Civil War plaques spread throughout the routing. Golf Advisor user 'u00000304969' wrote in his review: "This has been one of my go-to courses since it reopened, and I'm sad to hear that it's closing at the end of this season. Conditions are above average - the putting surfaces are inconsistent, but the fairways are mostly outstanding (among the best I play all year). Layout is pretty challenging - quite a few forced carries, and you definitely should stick to the appropriate tees for your game. Hole #16 is a monster par-5 that is one of my favorites (and also one of my most-feared). And Hole #5 is probably the toughest par-4 I play all season. Thanks for the memories, Cannon Ridge. It's a shame to see you go."

9. River Ridge Golf Club, Sealy, Texas

Comment: Built in a floodplain, Hurricane Harvey was the final blow for the 27-hole facility, which closed in November, according to the Sealy News. Major floods have plagued the Jay Riviere design the past few years. Golf Advisor user 'ksdrewes' called River Ridge "worth the drive", writing in his 2014 review: "The 3 nines offer a wide variety of interesting holes that are both fair & fun to play. Practice facilities are ample & the new enclosed area by the food stand is great. Maintenance is usually excellent and I especially like their greens. They will hold mid-iron approach shots and, though usually on the quick side, they roll very true. All in all, one of the best courses in Houston area for the money."

8. Stoneridge Country Club, Poway, Calif.

Comment: The future of Stoneridge, a former LPGA Tour host from 1987-92, remains uncertain after local voters rejected a zoning change that would have led to redevelopment, according to a story at KPBS.org. During its heyday, Stoneridge hosted the Kyocera Inamori Classic, attracting winners such as Laura Davies (1991), Judy Dickinson, Kris Monaghan, Patti Rizzo and Ayako Okamoto (twice). As its pool, tennis and clubhouse facilities aged, it opened up to the limited public play before getting caught a political showdown with a local developer who also bought and closed the Escondido County Club.

7. Twin Lakes Golf Course, Canton, Texas

Twin Lakes

Comment: Golf Advisor users loved Twin Lakes, voting it among the top courses in the country in the friendliest (no. 21), value (no. 6) and place of play (no. 10) categories in 2016, all of which added up to a fifth-place finish among the best courses of Texas. Unfortunately, a series of tornadoes hit the 1,000-acre property in April of 2017, causing significant damage that forced the Dekkers family to make the tough decision to close the 7,239-yard course designed by Robert Hay 17 years ago. "I live in Dallas, and this is by far my favorite golf course in Texas, and am very sad to see it close down!" wrote Golf Advisor user 'Ronny5465254'.

6. Thornapple Creek Golf Club, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Thornapple Creek

Comment: My childhood home of Michigan has lost some good ones over the past decade - Elk Ridge (2016), Yarrow Golf & Conference Center (2015) and Tom Doak's High Point (2008). This year, the closures were personal. I last played Thornapple Creek during a college roommate's bachelor party in the 1990s. I recall a fun, wooded track with a great log-cabin clubhouse. Years later, I played my family's first three-generation round of golf with my dad and young son at the now closed Lower Huron Par 3 Course near my former home in Belleville. Thankfully, the golf course at Hudson Mills Metropark near Dexter - where I last played in a weekly golf league with Ann Arbor News colleagues a decade ago - got a five-year reprieve from closing, according to a livingstondaily.com story.

5. Old Silo Golf Club, Mount Sterling, Ky.

Comment: From its splashy debut in 2000, this Graham Marsh course east of Lexington was a fan favorite. Deteriorating conditions throughout 2016, though, haunted the course until it closed this May. Oddly, Golf Digest ranked Old Silo no. 1 among the state's public courses and ninth overall in its 2017-18 ratings released in June. Golf Advisor user 'shuttfu' ranted about the neglect in his review in October of 2016: "I played this course because Golf Digest listed it as the #2 Best Public Course in Kentucky. The layout reflects that! It is an excellent challenging layout. Course conditions - horrible. It appears that the Grounds crew was greatly reduced. Weeds, lack of attention, overgrown plants, grass, bushes - etc. Very Poor condition. The wooden steps walking up to the Pro-shop are breaking apart and are dangerous!. Many holes had no ball washers, and half that did there was no towels, handle broken, no water. One of the locals that I talked to stated - ever since the owner die(d), his son took over and has stopped maintaining the course. ... I only paid $14 which included a cart - a great buy almost anywhere. But I think I overpaid!"

4. Heather Glen Golf Links, Little River, S.C.

Heather Glen

Comment: What a fall from grace for Heather Glen, named by Golf Digest the best new course in America when it opened in 1987. The 27-hole facility - Willard Byrd did its original 6,783-yard routing with Clyde Johnston adding nine more holes in 1990 - is set to become a real estate development according to a MyrtleBeachonline.com story , adding another casualty to the Grand Strand. Golf Advisor user 'rkimbrell' wrote in his review: "I wanted to play her one more time while I had the chance. This course never disappoints. Some very very good holes. Lots of character, challenging but fun to play."

3. Ocean Links at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, Fla.

Ocean Links

Comment: The abrupt November closure of Ocean Links hits hard for this reason: There's nothing like playing golf on the ocean. Although the rest of the 6,108-yard course felt too much like hemmed-in, target golf, losing five magnificent ocean holes feels like a gut-punch to the game. I once ranked the scenic Pete Dye/Bobby Weed design among the best courses in America playing less than 6,500 yards.

2. Wolf Run Golf Club, Zionsville, Ind.

Wolf Run

Comment: Wolf Run has been rumored to be closing for years as the owner shopped it around and began allowing public play to the once-proud private club. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Wolf Run will be redeveloped into 360 single-family homes, 200 multi-family housing units, 50,000 square feet of retail uses and 50,000 square feet of office space. The course could theoretically open next spring as the legal and rezoning process plays out, but the end seems inevitable. Truth be told, its demise is probably for the best. The Steve Smyers design is symbolic of golf's past sins. It opened in 1989 when harder, tougher, longer was the mantra. For most golfers, it's good riddance to designs like Wolf Run.

1. Wynn Golf Course, Las Vegas

Teeth of Dog

Comment: I've already admitted that I'll miss the Wynn in reporting its closure Dec. 17, but again, most golfers won't. The Tom Fazio design was too expensive for the masses, and you can debate all day whether it was worth the $500 price tag. It makes perfect business sense to turn the golf course's 137 acres into the Wynn Paradise Park. The $1.5-billion Paradise Park's 20-plus-acre lagoon with a beach, possibly another hotel tower and casino and extensive dining and nightlife attractions will be inclusive for all tourists instead of exclusive as a country club for golfers only.

Did a golf course near you that you loved to play close this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Dec 26, 2017



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Burt Mead's avatar
Burt Mead wrote at 2018-03-28 14:46:41+00:00:

I think we have to get the youth in our country interested in a game that is time consuming, expensive and difficult. There are too many other things that our younger generation are busy with: smart phones, Ipads, laptop computers, violent computer games, etc. We have to get them off the couch and out on a golf course and teach them how to play this wonderful game that we love so much. Clubs have to provide programs at reasonable costs and encourage local schools to have youngsters come out and use their facilities. You just don't see that many youngsters at golf clubs these days.

MARVGOLF's avatar
MARVGOLF wrote at 2018-03-28 02:01:29+00:00:

The tornadoes didn't hit the golf course, at Twin Lakes in Texas. Only some of the tree farm around it. The Decker family was tired of messing with it and decided to go a different direction and turned it into a cattle ranch. More money with less staff and upkeep!

mikeybomp's avatar
mikeybomp wrote at 2018-03-09 01:38:11+00:00:

Salt Creek Golf Course in Chula Vista CA, is closing on 3/18/18. A great public Links style course. Very sad day indeed.

Robert B's avatar
Robert B wrote at 2018-02-26 16:36:07+00:00:

Davis Monthan Air Force Golf course is closing 30 April 2018, used in BAT 21 film.

John W's avatar
John W wrote at 2018-01-24 15:09:17+00:00:

Lost Creek GC in Aledo TX closed on Dec 31.

Gino's avatar
Gino wrote at 2018-01-12 20:44:59+00:00:

Maybe if the owners weren't so greedy and made it more affordable for all then they would not have to close.Half the pie is better than none

TW Lemons's avatar
TW Lemons wrote at 2018-04-12 15:22:47+00:00:

Has less to do with greed and more to do with trying to survive. Property taxes are high, seasons are unpredictable, and more and more people want housing in suburbs. Many courses are being bought by developers for hotels and housing.

imwood88@gmail.com's avatar
imwood88@gmail.com wrote at 2018-01-06 02:25:51+00:00:

The Champions at the Retreat in Corona closed in 2017. Opened as a private course in 2003 or 05. Not enough members so they went public shortly after. Very tough track to play for the average golfers. Sad to see it go.

C. Gobert's avatar
C. Gobert wrote at 2018-01-06 02:14:48+00:00:

Thornapple was one of my most favorite courses in all of Michigan. It was a fun track that had financial problems forever. At one time the Feds even owned it. Sorry to see it go.

F W Petze's avatar
F W Petze wrote at 2018-01-06 01:16:32+00:00:

The Easton Club in Easton, MD, closed now 2 years ago. Wonderful course for seniors - not too long, not too difficult, but plenty of places to get in trouble. It always felt like family to play there.

Robert Freeman's avatar
Robert Freeman wrote at 2018-01-06 00:31:05+00:00:

Marshallia Ranch outside Vandenberg AFB near Lompoc, CA has closed. They even hosted the Air Force golf championship there. This was an outstanding track with lots of challenging shots especially trying to hit out of the ice plant.

RB's avatar
RB wrote at 2018-01-05 23:44:37+00:00:

Teal Wing in northern Wisconsin was closed this past year. I've played all over the country and this was my choice if I only had one course to play. Loved the serene north woods atmosphere, frequent encounters with wildlife, and the challenge of each of the unique 18 holes. I'll never get to play Pine Valley so Teal Wing ( listed on Golf Digest"s 50 toughest) was my substitute. Sadly missed.

DeeBee's avatar
DeeBee wrote at 2018-01-05 23:36:02+00:00:

How sad -- Wolf Run was a PHENOMENAL course that I played many times in the early 1990's soon after it opened. I remember seeing Larry Bird's locker there, along with many Indy 500 race car drivers lockers. Men only too!!! Heather Glen at Myrtle Beach and the Highlands in Grand Rapids were also excellent courses that many will now never get to play. I hope golf can experience a resurgence in new player involvement and a growth in rounds played by the existing player pool. I have played over 600 courses in my life, raised three active golfing children (1 with college golf scholarship) -- but now cannot get my grandchildren interested in even trying golf !!! Too many other distractions for the young adults/teens these days, lack of caddying programs, and rising expense of a day on the links all causing financial distress in the golfing industry. I offer no ideas for improvement, but lament the pain and shrinkage I fear is inevitable in this grand game that I have loved so much over the past 70 years. .

MGoBlue100's avatar
MGoBlue100 wrote at 2018-01-06 03:18:18+00:00:

The Highlands in Grand Rapids was a Donald Ross design that hosted the Senior PGA Tour for many years. Sad to see it go away.

Gary T Tanner's avatar
Gary T Tanner wrote at 2018-01-05 22:42:56+00:00:

My fondest memory of San Geronimo Golf Course was the day I played 54 holes on the course. I got off a graveyard shift in SF I got there at 0700 am. Walked first 18 then rode the next 36 holes. I started at 07:00 am . It was a Friday night when I sank my last put on 18 at 9:15 PM. I drove home went to bed when I woke up it was Sunday morning. Thanks for that memory SGGC

SC's avatar
SC wrote at 2018-01-05 21:35:57+00:00:

I’ve played numerous courses in MB... Heather Glen was easily my favorite. More memorable holes than other courses. Very sad to read this

DZ's avatar
DZ wrote at 2018-01-05 20:31:40+00:00:

Wolf Run closing prob for the better? Wow, I had the pleasure of playing 20 of the top 100 public courses in the us last year and 5 of the top 50 private tracks including gems like Cypress Point and Olympic Club and this course is among my favorite. Hard absolutely, but a true test of golf, and the kind of course that will make you better each time you play it and challenge the best. I would love to join a club like this and I am dumbfounded why they would tear this amazing course down to build houses when there is land all around the course to build houses on? Would have loved to see the pro's play Wolf Run!! If ou have a chance play it in spring you will not regret it.

Les's avatar
Les wrote at 2018-01-05 20:19:04+00:00:

Los Angeles County, Marshall Canyon Golf Course, seems to be closing down. Course is in poor condition, except for the greens. Word is the County is trying to sell the course to a developer for the private course down the canyon. Using the course land for housing. Wish they would complete the deal, or make improvements to the old course.

Audrey Darby's avatar
Audrey Darby wrote at 2018-01-05 20:04:33+00:00:

Re: San Geronimo Golf Course. What a shame it's closed. I used to play there on the week-ends when I worked in SF. One week-end the pro staff had me play with a member and we hit it off and got married. His ex-wife had recently run off with the Asst. Pro. An interesting, unusual terrain course. Has fond memories for me.

RogerH's avatar
RogerH wrote at 2018-01-05 19:19:32+00:00:

You may have covered this previously as play stopped a couple of years ago but we lost Wingpointe, a great links-style course abutting the Salt Lake City airport. In a fit of unreasonableness the FAA modified the property lease and drove the course out of business. Shamefully no other legitimate use can be found for the property as most is either wetlands or a contains below-ground hazardous waste so nothing was gained in the closing.

Mac Mullen's avatar
Mac Mullen wrote at 2018-01-09 02:26:47+00:00:

Closing Wingpoint near Salt Lake City airport is a tragic FAA blunder. This municipal course was fun to play and reasonably priced. Another Knuckle-headed FAA mistake.

nickj's avatar
nickj wrote at 2018-01-05 18:19:08+00:00:

The Highlands Golf Course in Grand Rapids Michigan was a Donald Ross design from the early 1900's that started out Private then went public for a few years before being purchased by the adjacent Blandford Nature Center. Great layout which had Palmer and Nicklaus and many other Pro's brought in to play it during the glory years. Also hosted Senior Tour events as well.

nickj's avatar
nickj wrote at 2018-01-05 18:12:55+00:00:

The Highlands golf course in Grand Rapids Michigan was a Donald Ross course designed in the early 1900's.

nickj's avatar
nickj wrote at 2018-01-05 18:06:52+00:00:

The Highlands Golf Course in Grand Rapids Michigan closed last year.

ted's avatar
ted wrote at 2018-01-05 17:53:36+00:00:

Lockford Springs in Lodi,Ca.

A Sandy Tatum layout Over 6,000 from the tips, bent greens with very challenging breaks.

The course will be reduced to 9 holes which takes 1-4 then 14-18. The balance of the property is planned to be turned into a winery event site. Holes 5- 13 will be turned into more vineyard space.

Ill miss this course as it had its own character and challenging holes, and bunker positions. Tatum's layout was fun to play while challenging you one a number of holes to place your ball in a position to gain access to the challenging greens he had other holes that allow you some opportunities to pull off good pars and sometimes birdies. The family who owned it unfortunately lost their patriarch, which resulted in the family to selling .

Loskford Springs will be missed by , especially, the people in the surrounding area that played there on a regular basis.

I was lucky to meet some of them and chat about the course and there history with it.

The staff of the course was a really great group of people keeping the course up right to the last week of operation.

The course closed Dec 31st 2017 and is planned to open in March 2018 under the new structure.

rod's avatar
rod wrote at 2018-01-05 17:48:47+00:00:

One of Honolulu's previously listed Busiest Muni Golf Course in America, Ala Wai Golf Course, is being targeted for some alterations, due to the drop in play. It used to be difficult to get tee times previously, but now it's relatively easy to get on the course, so our City is looking at altering the facility a bit. Just a sign of the times; old golfers disappearing and not enough new golfers to replace them. Golf equipment companies need to help equip schools, so we can get more kids interested in this challenging game.

John H's avatar
John H wrote at 2018-01-05 22:30:36+00:00:

That is one of the better ideas I have heard in a long time, having golf equipment companies involved with getting younger generation interested in the game. They already give away tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment every year to people that can afford it. It would also be in their best interest and survival.

Robert Marx's avatar
Robert Marx wrote at 2018-01-05 17:35:08+00:00:

Southwick (MA) Country Club has closed after 98 years, selling to a real estate developer. This inexpensive muni attracted many locals, especially seniors, and was one of the few courses to stay open in the winter (depending on snow cover). Ironically it's neighboring course, The Ranch, appears to be doing well despite it's expensive greens fees. It seems that premium courses are holding their own, at least in the Western Mass/Northern CT region. On the positive side, two other area courses have upgraded considerably -- Keney Park and Gillette Ridge -- adding to the area's "premium" offerings.

Bruce's avatar
Bruce wrote at 2018-01-05 17:30:23+00:00:

Played Cannon Ridge. Loved it. Played Amelia Island's Ocean Course. Those 5 holes on the ocean were awesome. Could have played them 3 times in a row for a 15 hole round of golf! Went to Myrtle Beach for years on buddy trips. Heather Glen was great. All the smokies courses are fun. The problem with declining golfers and courses going under is cost. If you are working 5 days a week, have a family, and therefore have bills to pay, you cannot afford to play. The cost is driving the whole problem. The First Tee Program is great. How can these kids afford to play on a regular basis. Unless you are wealthy, the cost of golf is going to continue to erode the base of players and courses. Our youth and our middle class retirees can not afford to play!

Purnell's avatar
Purnell wrote at 2018-01-05 17:20:31+00:00:

Wow! Oceans Links at Amelia Island is closing. That really hurts! This is the course, I fell in love with golf over 30 years ago. The ocean holes are fantastic. Last time, I played it I shot 78 with an eagle. I am going to miss this special course.

Fred Billick's avatar
Fred Billick wrote at 2018-01-05 17:14:49+00:00:

Near Lima Ohio Hawthorn Hills closed and near Bellefontaine, Ohio,Treelinks closed A few years ago........

ernaldo's avatar
ernaldo wrote at 2018-01-05 17:06:16+00:00:

I really liked Winchendon and missed playing there, especially in the fall. It was a Sterling run course and another local Sterling club isn't looking good either, that being Shattuck up in Jaffrey, NH. That's the one with a tough layout (NOT for slicers) and rough cart paths. I almost sense a coming demise....I hope I'm wrong.

Kevin Osgood's avatar
Kevin Osgood wrote at 2018-02-23 03:19:46+00:00:

The Shattuck is on solid financial ground and the course was in the best shape in 2017 than the past few years. With the economy improving and a few courses closing in the area golf is stronger there and with a strong wedding and function business this Brian Silva Designed 43rd Toughest Golf Digest Course is a wonderful destination round of golf!

Sal from New York's avatar
Sal from New York wrote at 2018-01-05 17:05:01+00:00:

Jason:

Why not post a list semi- annually on course closings by state? It would help golfers knowing courses are closed or closing. As you know MOST courses cut back drastically on course maintenance and service when closings are coming. It WOULD help us spend our money at clubs no in their situations. Just a thought . Your articles are always informative. Thanks Sal

G E Jackson's avatar
G E Jackson wrote at 2018-01-05 17:03:30+00:00:

Also closing: 9 holes of the 18 hole Bobby Jones Golf course in Atlanta, GA. This is one of only two courses in the world named after Bobby Jones and is a muni course operated by the City of Atlanta. Half the course is gone and converted to a museum and college practice facility. The remaining 9 holes will be "reversible" but it just won't be the same.

Chuck 's avatar
Chuck wrote at 2018-01-05 17:03:00+00:00:

Fitzsimmons Golf Course in Aurora, CO. President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower would play this course when visiting Colorado. Even had a tree (his nemesis) named for him. Although the course was mediocre at best, the loss of its historical significance will be felt.

Ben Mercier's avatar
Ben Mercier wrote at 2018-01-05 16:58:38+00:00:

Although opened for limited play last summer, reports indicate that Chinese interests have purchased the land on which sits Hunters Pointe golf course in Welland Ontario Canada for development. A great links style track, Hunters Pointe was a must play golf course in the Niagara Peninsula. Portions of the film Casino Jack was filmed pn this course. Many of the members are sad to see it go.

Mark's avatar
Mark wrote at 2018-01-05 16:48:24+00:00:

Dutchess Golf & Country Club Poughkeepsie NY

Founded in 1897

It was a hidden Gem in Hudson Valley, NY

mtarte's avatar
mtarte wrote at 2017-12-30 16:17:53+00:00:

18 months ago, a nice private course open to the public, Sumol Golf Course closed. It was on San Francisco Water District land in Sunol Valley, near Fremont and had two courses, the Palm and the Cypress. You'd never mistake it for Augusta or Pebble Beach, but it was accessible and fun to play. Unfortunately, the course was losing money and Alameda County, who wanted to buy the land and from SF Water didn't want to pay the market rate. Had they done so, there was a deal in the works I guess to help with the lease payments, etc, that the course owed to SF Water. Now it is just a field of weeds.

Clay Caughman 's avatar
Clay Caughman wrote at 2018-01-05 19:55:13+00:00:

Sunol was GREAT! You could go there at dawn on a summer day, give the guy on the desk $16 & in return he would give you a "ticket" for lunch and the keys to a cart. You could play until it was too dark to see the ball. Many times I would get in 54. What a deal & the back nine on the Cypress side had really fun holes. I was saddened to drive by it the other day & see the weeds.

Doc420's avatar
Doc420 wrote at 2017-12-29 19:42:22+00:00:

Old silo hasn't been a top course in over 10 years, It just goes to show how lazy golfweek is with their rankings. They reprint the same list every year, without any changes. I still here there is hope for wolf run.

Erik's avatar
Erik wrote at 2017-12-28 20:59:20+00:00:

Here in Chicago we lost Green Acres Country Club. Was honestly one of my favorite north shore clubs. Drove by it the other day and saw it just completely grown over and abandoned and was so saddened.

Tim Cipolla 's avatar
Tim Cipolla wrote at 2017-12-28 19:34:47+00:00:

I played Lipoma Firs for the 1st (and only time) in December ‘16. It was down to 18 holes at the time. I live in Snohomish county and the word was that Lipoma was one of the driest winter tracks in the PNW. It didn’t disappoint; it’s really too bad it closed. I was told the original owner/builder passed and the kids didn’t want the hassle :(

David Heinrich's avatar
David Heinrich wrote at 2017-12-28 04:03:18+00:00:

Tower Tee in Affton, Mo will close in June 2018 after 58 plus years.

The operation also included a driving range, miniature golf, 15 Batting cages.

This operation will be missed by players of all ages.

Ryan's avatar
Ryan wrote at 2017-12-27 15:33:18+00:00:

Lipoma Firs in Puyallup Wa, 27 holes of tree lined fairways with views of Mt Rainier closed in Nov 2017 to make way for homes...

DrOldSchool's avatar
DrOldSchool wrote at 2017-12-27 14:36:00+00:00:

While I had heard of the demise of Heather Glen in Myrtle (which was a fun layout but I see how saturation around it led to its demise), I'm disappointed to read about Thornapple. Lived in Kalamazoo for a year and played it a few times, and enjoyed the layout a lot. I did not know that Yarrow closed a couple years too, it was a great layout in great shape when I played it 8-9 years ago.

There is some hope for Wolf Run here outside Indy via the rumor mill. The city apparently isn't completely sold on the rezoning idea. I greatly regret not getting on it this year when it allowed limited public play. Hoping there's still a chance, even if it's a Dumb and Dumber chance, to get on in the spring.

BrandonTuckerGA's avatar
BrandonTuckerGA Staff wrote at 2017-12-27 04:56:36+00:00:

In Central Texas, we lost Highland Lakes, but I doubt many miss it. An example of a poorly thought out residential community course on an extreme piece of land with not enough population near it. Private entity kicked it over to the city a few years ago and it was bleeding coin the whole time. Lago Vista is still open next door at least.

Grasshopper 's avatar
Grasshopper wrote at 2017-12-26 23:55:02+00:00:

The Roosevelt Classic has been played at Thornapple Creek the last weekend in September for over twenty years by fellow hackers from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois . It has always provided a fair test for everyone . But the closing of TC will affect those that worked there more than us who struggled to break 90 . Thanks for all your efforts and the memories created.

jim's avatar
jim wrote at 2017-12-26 21:29:43+00:00:

Carmel Valley lost 36 holes with the closing of Rancho Canada but that may have officially been 2016.

Jason Deegan's avatar
Jason Deegan wrote at 2017-12-26 23:07:15+00:00:

It was 2016.

ted's avatar
ted wrote at 2018-01-05 18:03:53+00:00:

I really liked the west course (older) at Canada it was fun to play with tight fairways and challenging par 3"s.

It all will be turned into housing and commercial property by Clint Eastwood"s development company

Glenn Procter 's avatar
Glenn Procter wrote at 2017-12-26 21:09:57+00:00:

Ocean course at Amelia Plantation was a great track! Not remembering the hole # but the Par 3 along the Ocean was almost career Ace 4. 6” away

Gordon's avatar
Gordon wrote at 2017-12-26 20:43:35+00:00:

The Wynn was special, well manicured and a fair test.definitely glad Glenn Peel and I played it in February with his son. Will always remember the experience. We heard it was going to close, I thought it was a rumour.

Gordon Gilmer ( South Africa)

Tom P.'s avatar
Tom P. wrote at 2017-12-26 20:32:15+00:00:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The Highlands Golf Club that saw golf greats in the 1980s and 1990s will be going back to nature. Blandford Nature Center and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan purchased the 121-acre public golf course in February 2016. The purchase essentially doubles the size of the nature center property.

Students at Grand Rapids Public Schools' C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy and Blandford School use the nature center as a part of their classroom.

The course is 109 years old and was designed by architect Donald Ross. Ross also designed the Muskegon Country Club and nationally-renowned courses including Oakland Hills and Pinehurst. It hosted a Senior PGA Tour event originally known as the Greater Grand Rapids Open for eight years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Highlands Golf Course, hosted some of the sport's icons including Arnold Palmer, Chi Chi Rodriguez and Nancy Lopez.

The course was owned by The Elks until 2011. This was very playable Donald Ross design that was a ‘Must Play” course for those of us in west Michigan.

nickj's avatar
nickj wrote at 2018-01-05 18:26:04+00:00:

Jack Nicklaus and other big name professionals were brought in by the Elks members to play the course as well.

Kevin's avatar
Kevin wrote at 2017-12-26 20:27:30+00:00:

Scovill Golf Course in Decatur, Il.

It was a beautiful, short and hilly course.

Lots of great risk reward holes. It was as Tom Bendalow design that just turned 75.

Gary upp's avatar
Gary upp wrote at 2017-12-29 18:35:05+00:00:

Grew up and learned golf in Decatur. Played this coursr often and it was a brute to walk but fun. Sorry it has to close.

Jim R.'s avatar
Jim R. wrote at 2017-12-26 20:23:59+00:00:

Tallgrass CC in Shoreham, NY . It was an early Gil Hanse design that Golfweek listed in the top 15 public courses in New York state. The property will be used as a solar farm.

Jason Deegan's avatar
Jason Deegan wrote at 2017-12-26 23:08:20+00:00:

It made our story last year. Check out the link below.

Randy's avatar
Randy wrote at 2017-12-26 19:04:27+00:00:

Real shame to lose Old Silo. Very interesting layout with diverse hole design. I felt the Lexington area had a pretty good offering of golf - Old Blue, Griffin Gate, Peninsula, Cherry Blossom - losing Old Silo is one less reason to visit.

Bryan Lee's avatar
Bryan Lee wrote at 2017-12-27 02:57:39+00:00:

I agree. Loved Old Silo. Even hit the namesake silo off the tee once. It was a slightly quirky challenge, with LOTS of bunkers. If I remember correctly, it was even used as a US Open qualifying site. How will good, semi-private courses remain in business? What is the proper business model for them? Especially if they are not in prime tourist areas?

Tim Cipolla 's avatar
Tim Cipolla wrote at 2017-12-28 19:41:00+00:00:

You pose an excellent question. As a daily fee golfer I really enjoy the chance to splurge on a semi-private track. We’ve got a couple here in Washington state. Hope business folks can keep trying!

Mike's avatar
Mike wrote at 2017-12-26 18:42:42+00:00:

Top Golf may also be contributing to demise of golf courses. Many people are spending their money (and the place is not cheap)

playing silly golf and drinking. The other side of the equation is the cost of many courses in vacation areas where they like to stick it to the visitors. I no longer go to any area where they charge visitors more than locals especially since I am bringing my spending dollars into your economy and you want to gouge me. Many casinos have started the "resort fee" which at times equals the room cost. This again is gouging the paying public. They wonder why indian casinos are taking away so much business and many have added great golf courses at great prices.

Tim Cipolla 's avatar
Tim Cipolla wrote at 2017-12-28 19:42:13+00:00:

Truely an excellent post; agreed.

Jeff Pett's avatar
Jeff Pett wrote at 2018-01-05 17:06:55+00:00:

I agree

Max Guajardo 's avatar
Max Guajardo wrote at 2018-01-05 20:35:18+00:00:

Excellent post.... common sense seems to have gone the way of many venerable courses; gone-not forgotten by some

Joe Jackson 's avatar
Joe Jackson wrote at 2018-01-05 20:48:27+00:00:

Totally agree, business greed has gotten to the point they are pushing more and more regular folks out. When golf courses double the green fees for out of town folks and then the place you stay charge resort fees that are a total ripoff and two summers ago we stayed in Chicago a couple nights not knowing they were charging us $75 a night to park my car. Corporate greed has so gotten out of hand and they also wonder why movie ticket sales are at record lows and sporting event tickets have greatly declined, maybe people have had enough. So it’s not just Golf, it’s almost anything you go do today. Everything has just gotten out of hand. I get a decent deal where I play because of an agreement with my union. Keep raising your prices and keep watching your rounds decrease.

Curt Piper's avatar
Curt Piper wrote at 2017-12-26 18:19:26+00:00:

Always enjoyed Heather Glen and played it (thankfully) last year during our annual Myrtle trip! Seems to be happening more each year!

Hersh levitt's avatar
Hersh levitt wrote at 2017-12-26 18:06:31+00:00:

Sad to hear about River Ridge closing. Nice course always worth the drive!

Shawn O’Donnell 's avatar
Shawn O’Donnell wrote at 2017-12-26 18:01:58+00:00:

Personally I will miss Cannon Ridge and the class it brought to the Fredericksburg VA golf community. Originally plans were approved for a total of four courses that would have made it a true golfing destination. Those plans never materialized but the one Dean Beaman layout had something for every level of golfer.

John T Jones's avatar
John T Jones wrote at 2017-12-26 17:59:56+00:00:

El Rancho Verde in Rialto, Carmel Highlands in San Diego, Calimesa in Calimesa California, El Revino in Riverside,

(2016 or 17?) All Southern California courses.

Reives's avatar
Reives wrote at 2017-12-26 20:29:59+00:00:

and we have San Bernardino golf club going down in April and now rummer's Shandin Hills going away with Paradise Knolls in Riverside only a vote away from closer...

J c Fite's avatar
J c Fite wrote at 2018-01-06 05:51:47+00:00:

WOW sand and trills is gonna close....sad,sad,sad guess the price of the real estate and the drought is hurting the business

J c Fite's avatar
J c Fite wrote at 2018-01-06 05:50:28+00:00:

wow played all of those courses at one time ,but I am guessing that the drought and other factors brought these to the end of their time....SAD

Tim C's avatar
Tim C wrote at 2017-12-26 17:50:54+00:00:

Bent Creek in the Smokies. Closed after the November, 2016 fire. Rumored to be re-opening in spring, 2018.

Jim's avatar
Jim wrote at 2017-12-26 22:45:00+00:00:

Hate to hear that, played it many times on trips to the smokies, what about the other courses there?

Tim C's avatar
Tim C wrote at 2017-12-27 16:31:16+00:00:

Gatlinburg golf course still open (despite nearby visible fire damage) and Sevierville has 2 courses right on 441 heading into Pigeon Forge. Bent Creek is unique and more intimate I thought. I hope reopening occurs as rumored.

Jim N's avatar
Jim N wrote at 2017-12-26 17:29:15+00:00:

What I don't get is why didn't the Wynn course drop their daily rate to around $200, at that rate it still would be exclusive but at the same time a one time bucket list that many would have paid ? At this rate and the increased volume could it have survived ?

Jason Deegan's avatar
Jason Deegan wrote at 2017-12-26 17:38:22+00:00:

Wynn Golf Course has reportedly always made money so that wasn't the issue. The fact that the water park can make MORE money is the reason for the demise of the golf course.


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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.