Local golf: Pine Hill set to reopen Thursday
by Al Muskewitz
Aug 28, 2013 | 4272 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After being dark the last three days, Pine Hill Country Club will be open for business Thursday morning and owner Allan Goodson said he expects a "big day."

The Choccolocco Valley course has been closed since Monday when the former lessee shut it down for what was described as financial reasons.

Goodson has been working ever since to get it back running and expects to have the 18-hole course fully functional by the time a group of 40 regulars arrive for their weekly Thursday game.

"I have keys in hand, and Pine Hill Country Club will be open for business tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.," Goodson said.

E&E Golf Management had operated the facility under a lease-to-own agreement since January 2010. Players who arrived at the course that morning were surprised to find the clubhouse locked and a sign on the door informing them the course was closed "until further notice."

Goodson said the lease with E&E has been terminated. He has owned the course, built by Bill Scarborough in 1962, since 1996.

E&E also dissolved its agreement with the City of Talladega to manage Talladega Municipal Golf Course. That course has been shuttered since Monday, but The Daily Home reports it will reopen Thursday with a temporary manager.

In a statement issued through his attorney, George Monk, E&E owner Jason Edwards said he was "pleased the issue of possession of Pine Hill has been resolved for the golfers."

"(Edwards and former partner Cory Etter) signed an ambitious lease agreement with the owner and made valuable improvements to the facility which, in the end, and after Mr. Etter's unexpected departure from the company in early spring, became an impossible business arrangement to fulfill," the statement read. "Jason regrets the temporary interruption of play at the facility, but he is quite happy that through work with the owners representative play will recommence quite soon."

Goodson, at his home in Tennessee when the shuttering occurred, called the last three days "interesting and fun."

"I've appreciated the loyalty we've seen from our members and continued patrons," Goodson said. "The interest they've shown in our golf course ... makes me feel really, really proud of what we've done out there. To me, the process, while difficult, has also been fun. I've been overwhelmed by the support of the people involved."

He said the immediate plans were to "assess what we have, get the golfers in the door, get them satisfied, get the grounds back to the maintenance level they need to be at and start growing our membership again." He plans to remain on site through next week.

The club had more than 250 members at one time, and those who remained became curious about their standing or skittish about renewing in the wake of the uncertainty.

"In the end I feel we will honor whatever commitment Pine Hill has made to members," Goodson said. "We'll do whatever we can to honor that."

Goodson said he plans to hire a head professional for the course.

Al Muskewitz covers golf for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.

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