Omaha Area Golf Courses Struggle to Right Their Ships
Friday, 23 April 2010 08:45

A couple of golf courses in the Omaha area are struggling to make ends meet.  Both Ironwood Golf Course & Country Club in Omaha and Ashland Country Club in Ashland, Nebraska, have both been hard hit by the economic downturn as of late.

Ashland Golf Club

Formerly known as Ashland Country Club, this prominent course located in Ashland, Nebraska, was a member’s only club for more than 40 years.  As of January 1 st , the club has changed to private ownership, but is now open to the public.

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According to the :

Chuck Niemeyer, president and CEO of North 40 Golf, said he and his partners decided to buy the golf course and accompanying business to save it from being closed for good.

“This place was in deep financial trouble,” Niemeyer said.

For the past three years, the club had been financially strapped, Niemeyer said. Late last year, a vote of the membership revealed 100 percent of those at the meeting were in favor of selling.

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That would be a unanimous vote in our book.

So, with the takeover by North 40 Golf, the club has dropped its country club ways, opened to the public, lowered its membership fees and is catering to families.

“When we bought this place, the idea was to bring this back to an affordable, family golf course,” he said.

The name change also reflects the conversion back to a family-friendly place.

“We got rid of ‘Country Club’ because there’s a connotation of some elitism,” said Niemeyer.

Membership fees were reduced to$1,100 for families and $880 for individuals to draw more members. The fee includes unlimited golfing, use of the swimming pool and free use of the banquet facilities, which is normally $500.

Ironwood Golf Course & Country Club

In contrast, the private Ironwood Golf Course & Country Club was in a world of hurt when its lending bank asked it to repay its $10.7 million loan.  Knowing full well that a struggling golf course doesn’t have that kind of money lying around, the bank started foreclosure proceedings late last year.

During the bank auction, a development group bought the course out of forclosure (no info on how much they paid) and they decided to re-open the course this spring.  According to their updated website, they are now semi-private, because they say they are open to the public, but only for next few years.

According to in Omaha:

The sign out front still says private, but for the first time in its 86–year–history, everyone is invited to golf at 126th and Pacific.  "Now that they will let anybody in, we decided just to come out and bang the ball around a bit," said golfer Bruce Moseman.

Now it's the last hurrah for golfers before the course likely closes for good in a year or two.  "People have been calling nonstop for the last week looking for tee times, setting up tee times," said Clubhouse Manager Nick Korth.

The golf course originally opened in 1924 as Highland Country Club.  "You've got all these trees that are hundreds of years old.  It's just a beautiful course," Korth said.  "You don't see very often courses with all these trees and it's real closed in.  You don't have all sorts of busy roads all over the place."

Now that it is in the hands of a developer, it sounds like the fate of the 86-year-old course is being set and regular golfers are lining to play a course they could only look at through the private gate.

Again from :

Plans to redevelop the area meanwhile are still in the works.  One of the new owners tells KPTM they're exploring a variety of options for the area, including combinations of residential and retail space.

It is always sad to see golf courses close, but with increase competition, a downturn in the economy and not keeping up with the times, course everywhere, including Omaha, have to make the tough business decisions like everyone else.

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