CRESTVIEW — Residents of Foxwood Estates have mixed feelings about the recent closure of Foxwood Country Club.
The club closed its doors in October 2017 when the owners allowed the property to go into foreclosure.
Shane Wilks owns a home in Foxwood Estates adjacent to the golf course. After the course closed, Wilks took a job in Orlando and eventually moved his family there. He decided to keep the home as a rental property but found it hard to attract renters to a house that sits on an abandoned golf course.
Wilks, who has worked in the golf industry before, said he was disappointed when the club closed.
“We went to take our daughters down to the pool, after we had already paid our membership,” Wilks said. “When we got there, the pool was closed and was not being maintained.”
April O’Daniels lives near the 18th hole. She says the course closing has not been a bad thing for her family.
“The closure of the golf course hasn’t affected my family and I as we weren’t part of the membership,” O’Daniels said. “We like it being closed as we no longer have to worry with our girls being pelted with potential fly-away balls.”
Both Wilks and O’Daniels confirmed that the property was being maintained and was not overgrown.
The club had been struggling financially for years, according to Terry Thomas, one of the former owners. Thomas said the owners struggled to make a profit in the face of falling demand.
“It’s very expensive to keep (golf courses) in top shape,” Thomas said. “We just didn’t have the money to keep it up. For a long time, we just tried to cut expenses so we could pay the mortgage.
“People just stopped playing golf. It was sort of a snowball effect.”
Thomas said tourists had previously been a large source of revenue but when courses in Destin lowered their rates, people stopped coming to the north end of the county for cheaper course fees.
Golf courses across the country have been closing for more than a decade. As of 2016, more than 1,400 golf courses had closed in Florida since 2000. In Crestview, Adara Golf Course, formerly Shoal River Country Club, closed its doors in 2009. Heritage Plantation Golf and Country Club in Laurel Hill shut down the same year. The Frank W. Dahlinger Golf Course aboard Naval Air Station Whiting Field closed June of 2015.
The Foxwood property is currently held by First City Bank of Florida. A representative from First City confirmed that they took possession of the property and are currently looking for interested buyers.
Thomas said he hopes that either another ownership group or the city is able to purchase the golf course and eventually reopen it.