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Home » Golf News

Local golf course to close

November 9, 2011
By Cavalier Dave Forrester of Hugh M Cummings High School

Longtime local golf course to close

Shamrock Golf Club, which has been in operation for more than a half century, will close sometime in the next several weeks.

Course operator Ralph Johnson said the finances aren’t adding up for him to continue to run the 18-hole layout that’s located a few miles south of I-40/85 in Burlington.

“Unfortunately, it’s true,” Johnson said Wednesday. “The golf economy, it won the battle.”

Johnson, who previously oversaw the former Arrowhead Golf Club in Mebane, has been in charge at Shamrock Golf Club since June 2003. He has leased the course for 8 1/2 years from owner Calvin Walker.

“We’re not thrilled over it, to say the least,” Johnson said of the closing. “Definitely not what we want.”

Johnson said he recently came to the realization that stepping away would be the best thing. “It has just been an extended period of slower activity,” he said.

Johnson didn’t provide a specific date for the closing, though he said it would be before the end of the year.

“I’m saddened. I play here all the time,” said Ray Sharpe of Mt. Hermon, who arrived Wednesday afternoon for a round of nine holes.

Sharpe, who works at Quaker Creek Golf Course in Mebane, said he plays two or three times per week at Shamrock Golf Club.

“You get to know people like Ralph,” he said. “You get to know the people who work here. Now you have to figure out where everybody is going to play.”

Johnson said he doesn’t think that the impending closing will be accompanied by a spike in play. He said some golfers might choose to seek different golf options and venues immediately, while acknowledging that others could be inclined to want to play the course for a final time with its future unknown.

The course has been popular for years as an alternative to country club and higher-end courses in the region. Johnson said the club has an undisclosed number of members, but mostly the course’s play comes from golfers paying daily fees.

“It is grassroots, public golf. No question,” Johnson said.

This summer, the 30th annual Alamance County Parent / Child golf tournament was held at the course. That event has been a staple in the community as a family-themed, low-key weekend of golf.

Johnson’s former course in Mebane is now the site of Tanger Outlets along the interstate.

Whether a new operator comes along for Shamrock Golf Club remains uncertain. Walker was unavailable for comment.

“We will not be reopening or running it,” said Johnson, who later pointed out that he intends to stay in the golf business at some location. “We’ll find something else, hopefully. Golf is a tough world right now.”


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