Like Lee Pitzer (Again, why close the course?, April 16), I feel pain when a golf course closes. But, The Hills closing makes sense when one separates fact from emotions.
Pitzer states that not much has changed in the golf industry since 2012. This weakens his argument, however, because closing trends have in fact accelerated. Industry monitor Edgewood Consulting reported last year that USA showed 234 course closings but only nine course openings in 2015, a larger net course loss than the 141 for 2012.
The problem remains one of excess capacity: Too many courses for available golf demand. The closings can help strengthen remaining courses.
When purchasing The Hills in 2012, McKendree officials said it would continue as a golf course, but clearly outlined other possible uses for the property.
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Despite being a non-profit, McKendree maintains a business plan to manage its resources. Universities reevaluate their business portfolios to see which ventures return positive contributions, and prune those that don’t. The Hills was run for five years by Bearcat LLC, but never became profitable.
Maybe all is not lost. According to The Hills website, McKendree might consider purchase offers. In golf mecca Myrtle Beach, Chinese investors have bought 22 courses, many of which were struggling. Possibly Pitzer can make a Chinese connection to salvage The Hills?
John P. Orr, Swansea