I was disappointed to learn recently that McKendree had decided to close the Hills Golf Course in Lebanon, as it was not profitable. McKendree had purchased the course in 2012, for $1.4 million, and it consists of 109 acres contiguous to the city of Lebanon. I’m aware of the need for relatively expensive activities to operate for a profit, but in this case I do not believe McKendree acted as a good and responsible neighbor when they decided to close the course with what I deem to have been little or no warning.
Instead, McKendree appears to be acting as a corporate giant located in New York who has little or no interest in the detriment their actions cause to the local community. Lebanon and McKendree have both greatly benefited from their association of many years, through good times and bad.
I believe McKendree, through its LLC affiliate, should reconsider the decision to close. If it decided to remain open it could then raise the green fees a modest amount, to help with the expenses. In turn, the community should do a better job of supporting the golf course by electing to play more of their rounds there, as it is an attractive layout. Knowing that if they do not play there more the closure will just be delayed. Our “locals” should also be patronizing the Refuge Restaurant on a more frequent basis. If you’re not a golfer, the restaurant is well worth a visit. They even have a modest corkage charge if you care to bring your own wine. If you are a golfer, it’s a good place to review the round over a cold drink.
Lee Pitzer, O’Fallon