woodlands
Woodlands Country Club. Photo by Adam Baron.

By Anne Geggis

The new coronavirus pandemic has claimed another victim — golf at the Woodlands Country Club is closing.

ClubLink, the owner of the course, blamed the closure on the March 24 pandemic emergency order that shuttered all golf courses — along with the general downturn in the public’s golfing interest.

“As a result … we have made the difficult decision to close the golf course indefinitely,” Damian Loughran, ClubLink’s regional director of operations, wrote to Tamarac City Manager Mike Cernech in an email dated July 30.

For the opponents of ClubLink’s plan to sell the greens to a residential developer, though, the announcement seems like another game, another step toward building homes there. The plans have aroused much opposition from Woodlands residents who thought they would always see a swath of green behind their homes.

Broward County lifted the golf shutdown in early May, county records show. But golf carts left the club in April, Woodlands residents say.

“I think it’s a power move,” said Jose Spena, a resident of the Woodlands. “They just want to bend our will. They want to scare us, so we think this is going to rot all around.”

Spena said the sand traps no longer have sand. The edging has gotten more raggedy. All the maintenance has shrunk to just grass-cutting, Spena said.

Commissioner Mike Gelin said he wasn’t surprised to hear about the closure, either.

“These are tough economic times,” said Gelin. “It could also be an opportunity for the owners, given their plans for the golf course.”

Nearby Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill also announced in April the end of golf there, blaming it on the pandemic shutdown.

ClubLink also owns Heron Bay Golf Course, which straddles Parkland and Coral Springs, where the phones still ring, but no one answers. No one answered the phone at ClubLink’s South Florida office, and a call to its Ontario, Canada offices went unreturned Wednesday. But people were working at ClubLink’s other golfing properties, Eagle Trace in Coral Springs and Palm-Aire in Pompano Beach.

Last April, plans for the Woodlands teed off in front of city officials. The plans call for changing the development rules so that land designated as recreational can be used for homes. ClubLink wants to sell its two, 18-hole greens that add up to 397 acres. The buyer, 13th Floor, envisions nearly 400 homes on that acreage. The plans sailed past the City Commission and now must go before the Broward County Commission.

Pandemic issues have delayed its debut there.

With the county’s approval, though, changing the course to residential use from its current recreational use must go to Tallahassee for state review and then must come back to the Tamarac City Commission for final approval.

Letting the golf course fall into disuse, because of its lack of profitability, is one option that developers have mentioned in front of city and county officials.

The site plan for the development, however, came before Tamarac’s Design Review Board but has not appeared again on any city agendas since then.

Spena says he loves walking around the course now. Three burrowing owls have moved in on the east course: one near the eighth hole, one near the ninth, and still another on the 10th. It’s been fenced off to protect the endangered species.

“I am not going to fall for the scare tactics,” he said, of ClubLink’s decision to bow out of golfing at Woodlands.

He said he’s still holding out hope that a new operator will come in and use the greens for golf.

4 Responses to "Woodlands Golf Course Closes, Owner Blames Pandemic"

  1. Alan Sabath  

    club link advertises itself as a golf course operator but in truth they are a real estate developer looking to sell all the courses here in south florida. They have done the same thing in canada where they are based. The pandemic reasoning is just an excuse to sell the land and make money.
    They also have not reimbursed members who paid for these courses on their yearly membership or have not given any monies back to members while the courses were closed, pathetic and greedy company!

    Reply
  2. Irwin E Kendall  

    What would the cost be just to mow the fairways and the rough once or twice monthly? The course does not have to get overgrown and ugly if they are mowed, lets say, once or twice per month. This will maintain our very important green space. If the cost is not astronomical, why not have all the residents chip in and have it done. If anyone has any other suggestions…

    Reply
  3. Ramon Tiburcio  

    Residents can’t mow that lawn, as it is not ours. Please note golf courses are closing all over the country for the las 10 years. I know as I sell the batteries used on the cars. Besides, how many of the current residents in The woodlands play golf or tennis? We want to see the green, lets buy the property.

    Reply
  4. R. Wood  

    I have no idea what the Woodlands Defense Fund hopes to accomplish. If the golf course is not making money, what are you hoping to do? Force Clublink to continue to operate at a loss. You can’t force a private company to do anything. This is not socialism !!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.