Tuesday, April 05, 2011

TOP STORY >> Mountain Springs goes private

Leader staff writer

Jack King, owner and general manager of Greystone Country Club in Cabot, announced this week that Mt. Springs golf course has gone private.

“As one of the finest championship golf courses in the state, this move will enhance Greystone and give our members the full benefits of membership in a private club,” King said in a press release that went out Tuesday. “Greystone invites you to join our club and enjoy playing this exclusive course.”

The change comes a little more than two months after it became public that the country club was struggling to stay open and in danger of defaulting on a $1.2 million loan with Metropolitan Bank and Trust.

King, who co-owns Greystone subdivision with Bill Minton, took over as manager from David McKinney.

King said during an interview on Tuesday that McKinney left of his own volition and that his departure was not part of a restructuring to keep the country club from going under.

“I couldn’t grovel enough to get him to stay,” King said. “He’s been with us since we started. He’s a great guy and a great manager and he will be missed.”

As for closing the golf course that fronts Highway 5 to non-members, King said it’s a move that members and residents should appreciate.

“Obviously, the people who live here will like it because it will make their property values go up,” he said. And the members will have a course they’re able to get on without having to fight the crowds.”

The Cypress Creek course will continue to be open to members as well as to the public, he said.

Greystone Country Club, which lost about 100 members in 2010, has always had members who lived outside the subdivision. Of the 250 or so members at the first of the year, only about half were residents of Greystone subdivision.

The Leader first reported in late January that the country club, which includes the two golf courses, was in danger of closing. Insiders said then that the country-club revenue fell short about $40,000 a month.

The problem, they said, was that many of Greystone’s residents could afford the payments on their homes in the city’s most exclusive neighborhood, but could not pay $225 for full membership in the country club.

The situation was a concern for city officials who said the negative economic impact to the city would be significant.

By early February, a committee of Greystone residents was holding meetings to alert their neighbors to the problem and to try to get them to join the country club. If the club went under, their property values would go down, the committee said.

The committee’s plan was to sign up enough new members to show the bank that Greystone Country Club was viable. If they could show that, they could also find a buyer for it, they reasoned.

But that plan fell through when they weren’t able to sign enough new members and King stepped in to try to save the floundering business.

“It’s going well,” King said Tuesday. “We’re still actively looking for a golf pro. We’ve got our eyes on a couple of really good guys.”

Members of the Mt. Springs course seem pleased that it is now private and the semi-private Cypress Creek is scheduling corporate outings, he said. To schedule, call 501 941-4441.