Residents worried following golf course closure

Residents worried following golf course closure

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The fate of one local golf course has been decided. The Heron Point Golf Club is officially closed.

The course has been closed since November 25 and there is a sign on the door saying that closing is permanent.

Roy Clyburn, a managing partner for the course, said the premature closing was because the golf cart lease was up. East Coast Golf Management says the weather forced an early close.

According to leaders with the course and the HOA Manager, they feel construction on Highway 707 made it difficult for people to get to them.

The main reason they say they had to close came down to a financial one, and simply put not enough people were coming to play a round of golf.

A lot of people who live in the Heron Point Golf community bought into this development because of the course, but now with them closing up shop, people are worrying that their homes will be hard to sell.

"Property values have plummeted, now they're on the mend and now that would be a draw for potential buyers," said resident Gary Stephens.

The neighbors from the Heron Point Community are feeling like they're in limbo and the rumors that have been circulating aren't helping.

"A lot of rumors, we don't know which one is true, we don't know what's going on because I think they said there's more than one owner," said resident Bill Flock.

To clear up those rumors, we reached out to all those people involved in this closure.

The golf club reservations department said, they were shut down for good.

Clyburn said re-opening is an option but nothing is in place at this time.

Then, Jerry Spearman, also part of the ownership group of the land, says the biggest problem, overall, is that the course was losing money year after year and couldn't keep up with the costs. One expense specifically is a roughly $10,000 fee that the course must pay the HOA for the road in the neighborhood leading up to the course. Spearman said small fees makes a big difference in staying opened or closed.

Spearman said if it were waived for six months, he would consider re-opening next year.

While there are no concrete plans to reopen , or even what to do with the land, the conversations are underway.

"We've got a nice little community, pretty much retired for the most part, people here, hate to think an integral part of it is just gonna kinda go downhill so to speak,” Stephens said.

Some neighbors questioned what their course closing means for the local golf tourism industry.

From the landowners to East Coast Golf Management Company, they all said the same thing, the golf business is tough these days.  Some even say they find less people are playing, and competition can be tough with even more courses showing up everywhere.

Cypress Bay closed earlier this year and Wicked Stick could be up for grabs.  Nevertheless, local golf experts say we still remain a top golf destination.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.