Membership needs to double for city to take over golf course
by David Atchison
Dec 17, 2013 | 1072 views |  0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Crisp/The Daily Home
Bob Crisp/The Daily Home
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Pell City Manager Patrick Draper said membership numbers at Pine Harbor Golf and Racquet Club would have to double for the city to take over the facility.

“As of now, with slightly more than 100 members, we will be unable to continue our lease,” said Bill Ervin, who currently serves on the Pine Harbor Golf and Racquet Club Board of Directors. “Our once proud club of 46 years will be closed. We are asking the county and Pell City to partner with us in restoring the golf course to what it once was, with over 400 members and a nationally known pro-golf instructor.”

Draper said he is optimistic that membership at Pine Harbor Golf and Racquet Club could increase, but he said current members are going to have to work with the city to rally new members before the city commits to a long-term lease.

He said members could have pledge forms filled out by prospective members.

“That way we could see who is interested in the community,” Draper said. “If they could double the membership size, it would be a big step in the right direction.”

Irvin said he hopes the city will take over the club and manage and operate the facility as a public golf course so everyone could enjoy the 18-hole course.

He said the club’s present lease ends Jan. 31, 2014.

“There are already two newly renovated tennis courts on-site, with the possibility of locating a new swimming pool at the club,” Irvin said. “Membership could include golf, tennis, swimming and social events.”

Irvin said he agreed with St. Clair County Commission Chairman Stan Batemon that this is a quality of life issue.

“It’s the only 18-hole course in our county and very important to help economic development recruitment in St. Clair County,” he said. “St. Clair County is always ranked in the top five counties in the state in growth. Surely we can come together as a community, city and county and retain and restore this once proud club.”

The council is expected to discuss the possibility of making the private golf and racquet club into a public facility at Thursday’s work session.

Draper said he hopes to present to the council the current revenues and expenses for Pine Harbor, as well as membership costs and how many members are needed to operate the facility in the black or just break even.

The council directed the city manager to negotiate a possible long-term agreement with Dr. Larry Lemak and sons, who are owners of the club property.

Batemon said the club currently has an annual shortfall of $70,000-$80,000.

Batemon said the commission could temporarily assist the city financially during the initial transition period of making the golf course public, but city officials must present a plan to the commission for consideration.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.