(Published on - 8/3/2016 3:47:27 PM)
Cypress Knoll Golf Club, closed since mid-June because of financial difficulties, will reopen Sept. 10 under new ownership and with a new name.
Now called Cypress Knoll Golf and Country Club, the 26-year-old course designed by Gary Player has been purchased by club member Doug Brown and his wife, Janice Reid, the couple said Friday.
The couple, who live in a home adjoining the course, said they are buying the club from the Golf Group of Palm Coast, its owner for the past five years.
Brown, who said his family has owned property in Cypress Knoll for more than 40 years, said he is the owner of the largest independent newspaper service in New Jersey. A former college golfer who played matches at the famed Baltusrol golf club in Springfield, NJ (site of this week’s PGA Championship), Brown and Reid have big plans for Cypress.
Renovation of the course (the nines will be reversed) is underway, headed by golf course superintendent Eric Gerlach; and the annual Jacqueline A. Browne golf tournament sponsored by the Flagler County NAACP, will be held there Aug. 13, before the official reopening. There will also be members-only play, on a limited basis, prior to Sept. 10.
Cypress memberships were being honored until the end of the year at Pine Lakes, which had been part of the Golf Group until its sale to Doreen Holl and Chris McLaren. With the announcement of the Cypress reopening, member privileges for Pine Lakes will be revoked effective Aug. 1.
Brown and Reid have scheduled a Cypress members’ meeting for Aug. 10 at the clubhouse to discuss plans for the course; they also said that longtime PGA pro Eric Gonzales will be back teaching golf and running the weekly Nine and Dine scrambles.
On Sept.11, a folk music concert by Spook Hanby and a wine tasting will be held at the club. (Hanby performed with famed folk singer Pete Seeger more than 50 times and is in the middle of a world tour, “Remembering Pete Seeger.” His current album, “Pete, Woody and Me,” is one of the top folk albums in the U.S.)
Brown, Reid, and an associate, Keith Kirsch, said they want to make Cypress a “golf destination” and hope to offer several amenities, including a fitness center. The fitness facility would be built in the old Cypress clubhouse building, Brown said, along with a card room. He also plans to offer wine tastings that will pair regional wines against those from other states and countries. As for food service, he added, negotiations are underway for a restaurant lease.
Brown and his wife, a former employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, say they are well aware of the financial problems that have rippled through the golf industry in recent years.
An article in Sunday’s New York Times reported that according to the National Golf Foundation, the number of people who had played at least one round of golf dropped to 24.1 million in 2015 from a high of 30 million in 2000, the year that Tiger Woods won three majors. TV ratings, club memberships, equipment sales and course construction are also down.
Flagler County, promoted as a golf mecca for years, has suffered its share of golf problems. Matanzas Woods closed and other area courses also have had financial problems. Several changed hands, including Grand Haven and Grand Reserve; Ocean Palm closed years ago, but has reopened. Matanzas, Cypress, Pine Lakes and Palm Harbor at one point had been jointly owned; Palm Harbor is now a City of Palm Coast-owned municipal facility and Matanzas will most likely remain closed.
Brown and Reid have not yet announced membership rates or daily fees, but did say that Dave Bosnyak, who owns Golf USA in Palm Coast, will head the golf shop operation.
On behalf of all Flagler golfer, lots of luck.
Original article provided by Daytona Beach News-Journal.