Two Aiken County golf courses facing change

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

November 18, 2008

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---Citing the "current deteriorating economic situation", the North Augusta Country Club is telling members the clubhouse won't be rebuilt now.

It was destroyed in a fire in April 2007.

News 12 has obtained a copy of a letter sent to club members today.

Quoting Fred W. Layman III, the club owner, it says: "We will continue
to keep the club open with our current temporary clubhouse while continuing to use the pool-house and model home as our dining and event facilities. We will also keep the course in the best possible shape and will continue our regular course maintenance schedule."

The future of the private club came under question when notice of an auction appeared on a web site.

In today's letter, Layman also said, "Our plan is to begin to search through an auction process for a buyer...that will keep it a private country club and that has the ...wherewithal to build a world-class clubhouse."

The letter goes on to say the club plans to keep as many members as possible and urges present members to stay.

While this course is now on the auction block, there is another course in Aiken that's facing some big changes too. A chill is in the air at both North Augusta Country Club and the Laurel Nine at Houndslake in Aiken. It's not just the cool temps, but a letter from both courses letting North Augusta CC Member Richard Brinkley and homeowner Pim Andringa -- who lives on Laurel Lake -- know their courses won't be the same.

"I was afraid this was coming so, it's not a complete surprise," says Pim.

"I wasn't really surprised because I knew he was having a tough time getting a loan," says Richard. Getting the money for a new clubhouse at the Country Club, after a fire destroyed it last year, not as easy to swallow as Richard's cup of joe. That's causing the course to hit the auction block.

"I hope someone can take it, that can keep it running," says Richard. He's also hoping the tees don't disappear and end up in the hands of a developer.

The concerns are the same for Pim. "We bought (his home) because it was an attractive piece of property at the time," says Pim. Now, he says the cart paths are falling apart, weeds are growing and the sand traps are not raked still, even after Friday's rain.

Then, came the letter in October. "I was very disappointed and angry, of course," says Pim. "I was also worried about property values."

Some neighbors are guessing $40,000 per home if the course closes for good at the end of the year. That would total about $4.2 million for the 105 homes on the course.

It's value for Pim and for Richard, well, he just wants to play golf. Two men, two courses, facing two very big changes.

No word on when the North Augusta Country Club auction will take place. Those on the Laurel Nine are looking at possibly buying the course for a price tag of $1.2 million dollars. That course -- we're told -- is closing because there are not enough people playing it and the other 18 holes Houndslake runs.

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  • by Greg Location: Aiken on Nov 19, 2008 at 10:45 AM
    What about all the monies owed to us contractors for the work we did on the supposed clubhouse?? We are owed close to $100,000 and haven't seen a dime. The owner is a goof ball, why build a $300,000 house ten feet from a lake. Went past after last weeks rain and you could tell the basement was flooded. Duh, you don't build in a flood plain. How are you going to every sell this house. Also, why did he build this little shack on the corner of Country Club hills drive?? What a waste of money that could have been used someplace else. I hope they get a decent owner who will look after the members
  • by Lynn Location: North Augusta on Nov 18, 2008 at 12:07 PM
    Susan, this is not George W Bush's fault. It is the owner's fault. He should have been a little more careful when spending the insurance money paying off a family member.
  • by Susan Location: Aiken on Nov 18, 2008 at 11:47 AM
    Laura he spent it apparently and he's not the only one, due to the financial mess that Dear President George W.Bush and his cronies has put us in this want be the last club closing or for sale go figure!
  • by Laura Location: North Augusta on Nov 18, 2008 at 11:19 AM
    We have been hearing how Fred was going to rebuilt for months and we knew he did not have the money but he built some townhomes on the back of the course. We as members would just liked to have had a clubhouse just like we had not all the stuff he was going to add. We as members do not need all of that. So in turn he is going to put it up for sale and get out from under it. He was in a finincial mess when he took over the club. If the insurance was right when it burned he should have had enough to built a clubhouse just like we had. What happened to the insurance money he received from the insurance company.
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