When Shari Hodson heard The Lakes Golf and Country Club in Boiling Spring Lakes was going on the market, she worried about its future.
Hodson lives on hole No. 7 and plays the course regularly. She knew the course’s previous owner, Steve White, was getting interest mainly from housing developers.
“We wanted to save the golf course,” she said.
That’s when she and three other people got together and purchased it. The deal closed in November 2021, and since that time, the group has been focused on making improvements.
One of the first things they plan to do is build a new clubhouse. Currently, they are operating out of the front of the former clubhouse building. From the road, it looks like business as usual, but a walk behind the building reveals how badly the facility was damaged by Hurricane Florence. The clubhouse used to have a restaurant and bar, and now all that remains is a pile of rubble.
The new clubhouse will be located across the street, overlooking the 18th green. Hodson said the facility will be 6,600 sq. ft. and include a prep kitchen and grill area, a bar with tables, and an outdoor patio. It will also feature security cameras and restrooms with electronic locks, which will allow players to access those facilities even after the clubhouse is closed.
Hodson said cart barns will be located on each side of the new clubhouse.
“The nice thing is they won’t have to cross South Shore Drive,” she said. “Sometimes that can be hectic.”
With all permits in hand, Hodson hopes construction on the new clubhouse will begin soon, but she said getting workers is now the issue. The project is about six months behind schedule. However, she hopes the first phase, surveying and installing the silt fencing, will happen in the next few weeks.
While the group has been making plans, they have also been making repairs, replacing sections of the cart path that washed away during Hurricane Florence. Hodson also noted the fairways “got clobbered” with the course losing about 1,000 trees. Despite the damages, she said the course was only closed for a couple of months.
“All of the members came with chainsaws and helped clear the trees,” she said.
She said the community’s support is what helped the course open so soon after the storm, and she believes that community spirit and the amount of local investment make the course an economic driver for the community.
After the clubhouse is completed, Hodson said they want to build a driving range. Even with the improvements, she said they plan to remain true to previous owner Steve White’s mission of keeping golf accessible and affordable for those in the community.
“We just want to make sure the course is still here for people to enjoy,” she said.