Friday, March 16, 2012

TOP STORY >> Greystone is getting back into full swing

Leader staff writer

The Melbourne businessman who bought the front golf course and clubhouse at Cabot’s Greystone Country Club for $650,000 says he intends to have the course open as soon as the sale is finalized in about 30 days.

Jim Cooper said Wednesday, five days after he bought the Mountain Springs course from Metropolitan National Bank, that the first thing he will do is get the weeds sprayed and get the clubhouse cleaned so he can see what other work needs to be done.

“We don’t know what we have yet,” Cooper said. “There may be some construction issues.”

Cooper said the course is in good shape considering that it has been closed for more than six months. Luckily, it was closed during the winter months when the grass wasn’t growing, he said.

“The Mountain Springs course has been maintained fairly well,” he said. “We may need to repair some bunkers and work on some drainage. But when we open, it should be in good shape.”

Cooper’s family has lived in Izard County for several generations, and he doesn’t intend to move to Cabot. But he said he has always liked Cabot and admired Greystone.

“If I lived in central Arkansas, this is where I would want to live,” he said.

Cooper, the owner of a golf course in Melbourne, said he remembers when Greystone Country Club was in its prime and that’s how he wants it to be again.

“Over the next couple of months, we’re going to get it back to where it was eight or 10 years ago,” he said. “That’s when it was at its best.”

Greystone had almost 250 members when the bank locked the doors and left instructions telling members how they could retrieve their property from the clubhouse.

“We want to get everybody back,” Cooper said.

Membership rates should be about what they were before the club closed, he said. The restaurant will serve snacks for the golfers. But it will likely be open only two evenings a week for dinner.

Cypress Creek, the back course, was sold to Steve Grimm, a Cabot businessman, for $415,000. Grimm says he intends to reopen that course but unlike the Mountain Springs course, Cypress Creek has not been maintained.

It closed in July 2011, reportedly because the green had been hit by a fungus. Grimm hopes to find investors to help him reopen Cypress Creek.

The two courses total more than 400 acres. And city officials have said they will not support rezoning to allow it to be developed. Cabot is known for the golf courses at Greystone and city officials say they won’t support using the land for anything else.