One of the owners of Old Bridge says Boyle County’s only public golf club may be sold.
Bruce Brown, head golf pro and general manager at Old Bridge, said membership is at its lowest in recent memory for the semi-private club, which has dues-paying members as well as public play.
“The golf business is about as down as it could be,” Brown said. “We are in the process now of possibly selling the course or reorganizing in some way. We are also considering shutting down for the winter, which would be the first time we have closed for the season. No permanent decisions have been made.”
Brown, who also has headed the club’s ownership group since it was incorporated in 1989, said there will be a stockholder meeting later this month to talk about what the next step will be.
Brown said the 18-hole course, located just outside the city limits of Danville off Ky. 34, has been hurt by some of the same factors that have caused the closure of around 100 courses a year nationwide.
Even before the current recession, Brown said golf courses have struggled to recover after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as more people have shifted their leisure time to family activities and staying home.
The weather also has played havoc with the grounds. Brown said droughts have made routine maintenance even more costly, and the 2008 ice storm destroyed or damaged 70 percent of the trees on the course.
Brown, who also serves as a swing coach for the men’s and women’s golf teams at Centre College, said closing the club would have ramifications beyond just one less place for duffers to go on the weekend.
“This has been a really tough, emotional time for me even considering some of these options,” Brown said. “When you think about the millions of dollars that have been raised here for different causes — 130 kids who have come through here are on or have been on college golf scholarships.”
The golf club also is the centerpiece of Old Bridge subdivision, which has been gradually developed around the course over the last two decades and now includes about 140 homes.
Although no decisions have been finalized about the future of the club, Brown conceded that the local and national financial outlook does not bode well for a quick turnaround.
“A lot of courses just continue to borrow money, and you think about how long that can last,” Brown said.
“I just don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel with the economy right now.”