Gleneagle Golf Course set to close Nov. 1

Posted

Gleneagle bills itself as “A Planned Country Club Community.” Usually a golf course is associated with a country club, but come Nov. 1, the only moving creatures inhabiting the area’s 40-year-old course will be squirrels, coyotes, foxes, geese and perhaps a bear or two.

That’s because the course is closing down.

“There are a lot of rumors and a lot of speculation,” said Ken Judd, who sits on the board of the Gleneagle Civic Association. “I don’t think there is any need for anybody to be greatly concerned about this. I think somebody will buy it as a golf course, put some money into it and turn it into a good golf course.”

Judd has been a Gleneagle resident for 17 years and probably knows as much about the situation as anyone outside of the ownership group.

The Gleneagle golf course is owned and operated by MCTN LLC, a Nevada limited liability company set up by Atlanta-based Mad River Holdings Inc. and the Miles and Denise Scully Trust. MCTN LLC purchased the 135.4-acre course in 2003 for the paltry sum of $825,000, according to records supplied by the El Paso County Assessor’s Office and the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.

Judd has met with Miles Scully — a San Diego-based attorney — on several occasions over the years. He trusts that Scully has the best interests of the Gleneagle community in mind.

“The Gleneagle Golf Course is a significant asset for him and I’m sure he will take care of it,” Judd said. “It’s reasonable to assume that he will attempt to sell it. I’m sure it will be maintained.”

In a news release earlier this month, the golf club said the decision to close the course was made due the club’s “declining number of golfers and revenue, as well as increasing costs for water and other items.”

The club’s pool, Palms Restaurant and banquet facilities remain open and will be available for weddings, banquets and parties, the release said.

Attempts made by The Tribune to contact Rick Evelo, the club’s general manager and superintendent, have been unsuccessful. Several golf course employees were also contacted by the Tribune, but they had little to say.

The Tribune also left messages for Miles Scully, but he did not return calls.

Dick Myers, who runs the pro shop, said that six to seven golf employees were laid off.

“I’ve heard a lot of rumors, but that’s about it,” Myers said. “Nothing really new has been said since we were laid off.”

Carroll Clabaugh sits on the board of the Gleneagle North Home Owners Association. His home is about one-quarter mile from the clubhouse, but he is concerned none-the-less about what will happen to the area after the course is closed.

“I’m like every other person out here; wondering what’s the plan,” Clabaugh said. “We’re very concerned, obviously. It’s a terrible scenario.

“It’s hard to say how you feel one way or another until you know a plan.”

About 45 residents of Gleneagle community showed up at the Gleneagle Civic Association general meeting on Oct. 17 to get more information on the closure of the golf course. Judd shared what he knew, specifically citing a development agreement between Scully’s company and the Board of County Commissioners of El Paso County in May 2010.

“(Scully) expressed an interest to turn the driving range into town homes to create capital for the golf course,” Judd said.

The agreement, which was signed May 27, 2010, allows Scully’s company to develop the driving range at any point. However, the agreement also states that the rest the course’s 135-plus acres cannot be developed until at least May 2020.

Judd could not comment for sure on what would happen to the course if it is not reopened or if a new owner is not found. Judd verified that there are rumors the land will be treated as an open space.

Gleneagle is not the first golf course in the area to experience financial hardship. Woodmoor Country Club closed its golf course last fall, only to have it reopen in June. Several years ago, Appletree Golf Course in Colorado Springs closed down.

Golf participation has been in decline in the United States in recent years, according to the National Golf Foundation’s web site. In 2005, there were more than 16,000 courses and 30 million golfers.

The website notes that there are about 400 fewer courses today and about 4.3 million fewer golfers.

Roger Louden, vice president of the Gleneagle Civic Association has lived on the third fairway at Gleneagle since 1991. Yet, he has never played a round of golf at Gleneagle.

“My son played here when he was in high school and college,” Louden said. “I just never have.”