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Courses I Loved But Lost

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This weekend I thought about a course that I really loved - it was my local favorite - that closed. So, I decided to look up the internet existence of such courses. One that I first used to make a long drive to to play when I was starting out was Stevenson Ranch - out in the middle of nowhere in the San Joaquin valley. Seems it closed...because it was out in the middle of nowhere in the San Joaquin valley. But, it was a nice track. I hit my first really good shot there. My overall favorite, though, was a place called Trinitas. An olive farmer realized his land would fit a course beautifully over the terrain - and it did. It really was good enough, and beautiful enough to host a PGA event. However, reportedly it was built ("build it and they will come") without proper permitting and the local, retired busy bodies who valued their quiet jumped on their backs in the resulting fight. It really, really was nice, though. http://theaposition.com/robertfagan/golf/courses-and-travel/8099/the-demise-of-a-dream-the-trinitas-story  I was in a league that played there once each season and my scramble team set our league record on that course (15 under).

http://ncga.org/2015/05/19/stevinson-ranch-gc-to-close-july-20/

 

There are a few other courses that come to mind...

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I'm still in my "formative" golf years, and already a couple of local courses have closed, including one of the first places I ever played. It was an awful little Par-3, with tiny sickly greens covered in debris, and super narrow fairways that played like rough. The yellow jackets were hardly tolerable during summer. Beer cans littered the teeing areas, and I bet $100 some of those shirtless "golfers" out there were ex-convicts. However, the owners were very nice and prices were modest... It was a place where nobody was watching and nobody cared - the perfect place for a first-timer. I do miss it in a way.. I'll never get to live out my little goal of shooting par there.    

Edited by Kalnoky

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There was a course I use to play all the time. It was a great, flat walking course that was still challenging. It was called Craig Ranch, and was located in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The city bought it, and turned it into a regional park. 

They had an early morning back 9 special. There was always a waiting line. If you wanted, after your back 9 was done, you could pay a little extra and play the front 9. 

I got some par 5 eagles there, a par 4 eagle, and my first recordable hio on this course. 

I kind of miss it still today. 

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The Wake Forest Country Club in North Carolina, right off 301 and not in Wake Forest, closed apparently around 2007.  I played it in early 2000 several times.  Great course too, was a shame when I found out it was closed when I moved back to the area in 2010.

 

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We have had a number of courses close locally as well as a few fairly well known northern Michigan layouts.  Fortunately, most of the local closures were not particularly good courses. Still, there is one former layout that makes me a bit melancholy when I drive by the location.  Brooklane was an executive course of modest heritage.  It was on the way to my in-laws home so I drove by it frequently (married into a large Italian family).  We would take the kids there occasionally.  One year during a rare February thaw, my buddies and I stood in line with 40 other golfers like at the grocery store to tee off.  Now the place is a subdivision called, of course, Brooklane Ridge.

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4 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

We have had a number of courses close locally as well as a few fairly well known northern Michigan layouts.  Fortunately, most of the local closures were not particularly good courses. Still, there is one former layout that makes me a bit melancholy when I drive by the location.  Brooklane was an executive course of modest heritage.  It was on the way to my in-laws home so I drove by it frequently (married into a large Italian family).  We would take the kids there occasionally.  One year during a rare February thaw, my buddies and I stood in line with 40 other golfers like at the grocery store to tee off.  Now the place is a subdivision called, of course, Brooklane Ridge.

I have a couple similar stories. Right near Sacramento, across the river, there was once a place called "River Bend CC". It was a private, beautiful little place and a couple of my buddies here remember playing it when their dad's were members. Eventually, it became public and that's when I discovered it. The name, then, was Lighthouse. It was a challenging 9 hole course - target golf with plenty of water and beautiful greens. The very first time I played a round of golf it was there in a scramble and I won the contest for the most lost balls (had to have been around 16...haha). Anyway, a couple years before the big recession hit they closed it to build luxury condos on the river. They got a couple years into it until the bottom fell out of that. But, I understand it came back and is very nice now.

The other is up the hill from us - El Dorado Hills GC. It was a nice, casual course right at the base of the foothills. Always fun to play. Well, they timed their closure to put houses on it right in the summer of 2007 and nothing was ever built there. It's just overgrown now. Makes me sad every time I drive by it. We had some real fun out there playing some casual golf. One of my buddies was teeing off once and my wife exclaimed, "Don't hit the egret!" That was over a decade ago and we still say that line - haha...

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At a bit over 5 years, I'm still pretty recent in my stint as a golfer, but we've had a few close and a few more to come. 

Only one of the recent closures was a place I played. It was a goat track outside of Tipp City called Hidden Lake. Super cheap to play and for a good reason. Everything was one cut. Super long.

However, the place I got my golfing start is apparently on life support. It's a short executive course in the south Dayton suburbs called Rollandia. In my first few rounds I skulled a bunch of irons shots out there, but hit enough good ones that I kept coming back. It was a while a go that I last played a round there. It almost seemed too easy. The land owner has a deal to turn it into houses, but something hit a snag and the old par-3 will have one more year left. 

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Local private club & course  up here is in the process of being rezoned to allow the whole thing to be developed as a housing development. The course hosted an LPGA event for about 10 years, but the competition from upscale public courses and diminished interest in joining private clubs let to its demise.

It was a course of interest, but I never played it.....guess I never will

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23 hours ago, jsgolfer said:

The Wake Forest Country Club in North Carolina, right off 301 and not in Wake Forest, closed apparently around 2007.  I played it in early 2000 several times.  Great course too, was a shame when I found out it was closed when I moved back to the area in 2010.

 

That wasn't in Wake Forest?I used to play that course a lot when I lived in Raleigh in the early to mid 80s. Back then, it was well off the beaten path. Wasn't that first hole a great one to start on? What a monster!

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Geez... so many courses I loved to play have gone away.  

The first course I ever played on... Green Pond in Rockaway, NJ closed up awhile back.  It was a tiny little 9 hole course that was covered with what would BARELY qualify as grass on most holes.  I have great memories of my dad taking me out here.  Our first time out, my dad showed up in cut off jean shorts.  They sent us home to change.  I swore I'd never be asked to change at a golf course after that.  The first time I ever broke 100 was on this course.  I almost showed up late to my high school graduation because a buddy and I were out there playing and lost track of time.  My mom wasn't too happy with me.  I miss that course even though I'd probably hate it now.  

Another I miss was a course called Bear Brook in Newton, NJ.  It was only open for a short period of time but I felt like it was an underrated and underused course.  It was never busy and it offered a pretty stiff challenge for someone like me who wasn't capable of breaking 95 with any consistency.  

There are others, but... those are the two that stick out the most to me.  I'm a nostalgic type, so... I think back to different courses from time to time and like to wonder what I'd be capable of posting today now that I'm slightly better.

CY

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34 minutes ago, caniac6 said:

That wasn't in Wake Forest?I used to play that course a lot when I lived in Raleigh in the early to mid 80s. Back then, it was well off the beaten path. Wasn't that first hole a great one to start on? What a monster!

It's been now almost 18 years since I played it, but if memory serves me it was a Par 5.  I was working for Kiewit Construction Company at the time, I was installing fiber optic cable from Raleigh to DC.  We followed 301 from Richmond VA to Raleigh.  That was a fun project.

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44 minutes ago, Fairway_CY said:

Our first time out, my dad showed up in cut off jean shorts.  They sent us home to change.  I swore I'd never be asked to change at a golf course after that.  

That made me laugh. 

I remember being a beginner and showing up at Bodega Harbor GC in a tee shirt. I bought a nice polo shirt that day. Live and learn. I'll wear jeans to the range now but that's it. It gets so hot around here that I'll play in the dead of summer in a tank top and the muni courses don't care. That feels kinda nice, actually...

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Yeah, I have a few places like that. The first would be Candywood, not far up the road from me. Challenging layout, with the best greens in the county. It's now a hunting preserve. The other course was called Copeland Hills, was frighteningly long, and had the biggest greens I'd ever seen. And the greens didn't seem to be that severely sloped, but you could have a 15' putt with 6' to 8' of break! And once it started running downhill, God help you!

And there are more on the brink!

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Not sure what year it closed but when I started playing golf more (in college) I used to go play a 9 hole course in Kalamazoo MI called Oakland Hills. It was not the same caliber of the Oakland Hills in Detroit however. :content:Recently, Bridgewater golf club in Lakeland closed and I really liked that course. Plantation Palms (Tampa) just re-opened so we did get one good one back. Closed one course at Walden Lake (Plant City , FL). Used to be a hot course to play.

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In spring of 1970, I was a back-up player for the Meramec Community College golf team. Our home course was Crystal Lake CC in Des Peres, MO (just west of St. Louis). The course was open from 1929-1979.

The course technically was in Crystal Lake Park, one of those too-small villages that pockmark the St. Louis County landscape. About 470 persons live there now.

The course, the reason the village existed, was a 36 + 34 = 70 layout. About 6,170 yards total, with front about 500 yards longer than the back.  A par 5 and par 3 on the front, and a par 5 and three par 3s on the back. Definitely an old-style layout.

We never could figure out why lake was in the name - a meandering creek ran through the course, but no lake.

It had morphed to an early semi-private by the time we got there. Some members, but a lot of people with $6 and a bag of clubs. Most of the sand traps had become grass bunkers. The course was hard and fast, some treelined and some fairly open holes. The course was always touchy, little odd bounces and interesting greens. The shorter holes often had creek frontage - those risk-reward holes the golf ads always talk about.

In 1981 I was home visiting relatives, and decided to go out and play Crystal. I drove up Bopp Road, but couldn't find the course. I drove around for awhile, and came upon what looked like the gray-sided pro shop. But, no golf course.

I walked up to the small store - can't remember what it sold - and walked inside. A gentleman looked up and said, "Looking for the golf course?"

I nodded yes, and he said, as he waved his hand to the side, "It's all houses now."

It wasn't the greatest course in the world, but it just disappeared. I had missed the funeral. Would have been nice to have played Crystal one last time.

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Miry Run Country Club closed by me two years ago. It still has a chance to come park if the county decides to make it a part of their parks systems. Never was in the best shape but I found nearly all the holes to be interesting.

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Nor-Cal lost Roddy Ranch this year.  A fun layout in the foothills east of Mt. Diablo.  It still shows up on GolfAdvisor commercials.  Another loss was Bethel Island GC which wasn't much to look at, but it holds fond memories for me.  As a youngster, I drew each hole keeping the same routing but new green complexes. I just built in more strategy where pin location changed the best position to play from.  It was in our Delta region, so it was windy in the summer, and foggy in the winter.  It would have been a really great links course as it was built on peat, had Bermuda fairways, and drained very well.  I always thought it was an unpolished jewel!

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