Copperhead Golf Club has closed
Copperhead Golf Club has closed, the second course in Lehigh Acres to close in the last 14 months.
A course representative answering the phone confirmed Monday that the 18-hole course on Copperhead Drive has closed. She referred calls to the owners, Allen and Frances Collins.
The Collins could not be immediately reached for comment.
Lehigh golfers are now looking for tee times elsewhere, according to David Deetscreek, general manager at a competing course.
“I am now working at Majestic Golf Club helping them. That is one of only two (Westminster Golf Course & Club) golf courses left in Lehigh,” Deetscreek said. “It now has a chance because two of its competitors closed. We are doing OK at Majestic, but, unfortunately, at the expense of other golf courses.”
He said the golf industry has changed not only in the area, but throughout the industry.
“It is more and more difficult to make ends meet,” he said, adding he had the responsibility of closing the Mirror Lakes Golf Course, one of Lehigh’s oldest, last year. It held its last tournament, the Kiwanis Orange Ball Classic, on April 21.
Deetscreek said when he shut down Mirror Lakes, he let his members and employees know they would most likely be closing a few years in advance. When a date was set, a year in advance, he announced it to everyone.
“When we closed I gave refunds back to members,” Deetscreek said.
He also helped his employees find new work.
Deetscreek attributes course closures to a changing economic reality: Dwindling memberships and the escalating expenses of chemicals and their related rules and regulations have made many courses a losing proposition.
“It’s difficult to replace memberships. Generally it’s retirees,” he said. “The next generation of retirees are not playing as much, or paying daily to play. It’s difficult to get new players into playing golf. They are distracted in playing other sports, or technology.”
On top of that, there were too many golf courses built during the boom of the game, as well as too many developments selling golf as an amenity, Deetscreek said.
As a member of the PGA, he is working hard on promoting golf, he added.
“The next generation is just not playing golf,” Deetscreek said. “The PGA has the challenge to introduce markets that are left, kids and families.”
Golf in Lehigh Acres looks pretty good for the foreseeable future at Majestic because they are picking up a small number of members from other clubs. Seasonal members and players are key, he added.
“It’s difficult in the summer, even the membership is transitional because they go north. Our local memberships, we get some play. It is very inexpensive to play in the summer because we deal with the heat and the rain. The fees are maybe 25 percent of what seasonal fees are,” Deetscreek said.
Majestic Golf Club is semi-private with memberships open to the public.
“We welcome anybody in the area to come see and join the club. Our plans are, at this point in time, to stay open. Our future is looking better, unfortunately with the other golf courses closing. We see a little light at the end of the tunnel,” Deetscreek said.