Struggles common for northern area courses

golfSeveral northern El Paso County golf courses have faced closures, rumored closures and declines in business within the past year. Some are making comebacks under new ownership and management and one remains in limbo, with no signs of reopening soon.

No answers for Gleneagle 

North of Briargate, Gleneagle Golf Club had been a popular 18-hole course for more than three decades. Club management cited rising water costs, fewer golfers and falling revenues as reasons for its closure late last year. No one residing in the 131 homes on the course knows what will happen with the 135 acres of open space, said Ken Judd, board member of Gleneagle Civic Association.

“We have no idea,” Judd said of the  future. “That’s the simple truth. It’s very frustrating for the homeowners association and very frustrating for residents.”

Much of that frustration, Judd said, is due to the fact that course owner Miles Scully and MCTN LLC, his limited liability company, have not been forthcoming with information as to the property’s future. 

Both Scully, an attorney with California-based Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP, and former club manager Rick Evelo did not respond to  requests for interviews.

“If Mr. Scully is talking to anybody, I don’t know who that is,” Judd said. “There’s been no communication. It’s not for lack of trying. It’s a private course, so he obviously doesn’t have to talk to us if he doesn’t want to. What will happen is entirely in his hands.”

Judd said development possibilities are “fairly limited.”

“There’s an agreement in place between Mr. Scully’s corporation and the El Paso County commissioners with strict limitations on development potential,” Judd said.

“I live within view of the course,” Judd said. “I want the same thing everybody else wants. I want it to either stay a golf course or be used as open space. No one wants to see development out there. It’s the greatest fear.”

All new at Monument Hill

A 18-hole course with swimming pool, tennis courts and a restaurant, the former Woodmoor Pines Golf and Country Club reopened last year as Monument Hill Country Club. As Woodmoor, the company went bankrupt. Touchstone Golf is the court-appointed receiver pursuant to an order made by the El Paso County District Court last year.

General Manager Grant Wingate said the course has undergone five bankruptcies since it was built in 1969. After Touchstone took over, “we had a major issue with our irrigation pond,” which required $150,000 in repairs, Wingate said. 

Touchstone drained the pond and mended the problem, opening after re-seeding the entire course, Wingate said.

“We got the course April 1 and reopened by the end of June last year,” Wingate said. “This is the best the golf course has looked in 10 years.” 

The previous owners walked away after learning of the irrigation pond problem, Wingate said. Last season, the course was closed to the public; this year, the public can play the course after 10 a.m. on weekdays and after 11 a.m. on weekends. 

During 2013, the course had 70-80 golfers on good days, Wingate said. This year, primarily because it’s public, on a good day, 150 will play, he added. 

“We’ve actually doubled now that we’re open to the public,” Wingate said. “And we’re doing direct marketing, getting the word out.” 

King’s Deer back in play

At King’s Deer Golf Club, an 18-hole course east of Monument, General Manager Jeff Kelly said he should have known something was up when vendors weren’t getting paid following the club’s best year in 2012. The club hosted 23,000 rounds that year, declining slightly to 19,000 rounds last season. 

Then the course went into foreclosure.

“The first day I got here, [Kings Deer] closed,” Wingate said. “They asked everyone to prepay for memberships and left after everyone paid.”

The course didn’t linger for long in limbo. Almond Golf leased the course in April and will have the option to purchase it once the foreclosure is completed in September, Kelly said.

Almond Golf LLC is a company created by Doug Almond, who lives in the King’s Deer development. The company was formed with his father, Larry Almond, a resident of North Carolina.

“Since the foreclosure, we’ve started over from scratch,” Kelly said. “We’ve jam-packed a bunch of things into a short period of three weeks.”

The course had a soft opening in early May for residents. It opened to the general public May 10.

Kelly said he’s already seen a difference under new ownership.

“[The Almonds have] invested a lot of their own capital,” Kelly said. “The club is going to be in good care under Doug and his dad. We’re expecting positive things.”