In Memoriam - The Golf Course Graveyard
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
With every boom, there is eventually a bust. Golf course operators are struggling and the industry has suffered from the overgrowth of courses in the late 90s and early 2000s. One of the big reasons we started this site was to provide exposure for courses that didn't have the means to do it themselves. Every time we hear of a course closing, we feel for the people that called it their home course, their job or their happy place.
We've seen our share of favorites put out to pasture as well. Economics don't play favorites. Munis, resorts, semi- or high-end private - it doesn't matter if people don't show up and pay to play.
Here is a look back at some of our favorites that aren't around anymore and a list of those places we've played that will always be a part of The Golf Crusade.
Executive South Family Golf Center-par 3 (NY)
St John Fisher Golf Course (NY)
Shadow Pines Golf Course (NY)
Seneca Lake Country Club (NY)
Harbour Pointe Golf Course (NY)
Cayuga Links (NY)
Newark Country Club (NY)
The Monster (NY)*
While the original course may be extinct, a Jurassic Park version (same DNA but blended with the other shuttered 'International' course on property) may be coming soon to a new Catskills casino near no one. The Monster was once world famous, ranked in the top 100 courses in America and was still listed in Golf Digest's Most Difficult Courses rankings. Rees Jones is the lead on the new course project, here's hoping it's not too easy and some of the reasons people came from all over the world to play remain.
Cypress Bay (SC)
Marsh Harbor Golf Links (SC)
Heather Glen Golf Links (SC)
Old Silo (KY)*
This course is a former #1 public access track in the state of Kentucky. At the time it closed, it was still ranked in the Top 10 in 2017. Then again, Notre Dame is going to be in the Top 25 to start every college football season regardless of the team they have coming back. This place is the proof that a great layout does not equal success. It's fall from grace is highlighted in a bleak review by One Bearded Golfer. It was a fun place to play while it lasted.
The Meadows (VA)
Virginia Oaks (VA)*
This P.B. Dye quirkfest on the shores of Lake Mananas on the D.C. metro's western edge had a lot going for it. Good architect, fun course, a daily fee drop in the private course bucket. Heck - you can even see Robert Trent Jones Golf Club across the lake in the first picture below! The topography and the lake should have helped, as should have the hundreds of homes in the neighborhood that engulfed the course. It made it to voting age (1999-2017) but never got to see who won the first election it voted in.
Orchard Hills (WV)
Miry Run (NJ)
Bear Brook (NJ)*
BBGC was a great example of building an average golf course that looked pretty but was too difficult to play. I don't mind a few target golf holes here and there, but every hole? No thank you. The sad thing is that land wasn't that severe that it had to be built that way. There were some good one-shotters, but not every shot needed to be played that way.
Dodger Pines (FL)
Westview Country Club (FL)
Grenelefe West Course (FL)
Big Hollow Par III (TN)
Nolichucky View/River Trace (TN)
Buffalo Valley (TN)*
The ones above were all semi-private or resort builds. This was built as a resort that never really got going before a local municipality took it over. Sadly, it didn't improve the play and the course was shuttered January 1, 2018. It did have some scenic holes, like this fall off the world par-3, but it is as secluded as you'd expect given the surroundings in the photo below. With another (and more playable) course already on the town's ledger, this course was closed in favor of a greater strain on public dollars.
RedTail Mountain (TN)*
(UPDATE 5/1/19 - The entire course is now closed) Nine holes (or maybe ten depending who you talk to) are still open at this mountain getaway resort. They're very nice, but they certainly lose a lot of panache with the loss of the mountain nine. Here are some of the best shots from the holes that were some of the best in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
Wake Forest (NC)
Quarry Hills (NC)
The Carolina (NC) Woodlake Resort - Maples Course (NC) Woodlake Resort - Palmer/Seay Course (NC)
Keith Hills - River (NC) (9 are still open as part of combined 27 holes now vs 36)