County drops attempt to close golf course

FRONT ROYAL – The county has pulled out of its attempt to close the Front Royal Country Club’s Golf Course.

The country club was donated in 1938 to the citizens of Warren County by William E. and Agnes H. Carson, with a deed stipulating that the land be used for recreational purposes, including a public golf course.

Warren County assumed golf club operations in 2005 and has since faced financial difficulties, operating at an average annual deficit of $110,000 since 2010. As a result, the county hoped to lease the land to a third party.

According to previous reports, a recent attempt by the county to lease the land received one bid from an unidentified party who wished to close the course and potentially create hiking trails, a wedding venue and a jet ski rental facility.

Before that could happen, a circuit court judge had to approve removing the deed’s golf course requirement. 

A county news release states that the county has dropped litigation that attempted to remove the deed’s golf course requirement. The release notes that such non-suits allow the matter to be brought back to suit within six months.

Supervisor Chairman Tony Carter said over the phone that the county and party interested in leasing the course could not reach an acceptable agreement. He added that an Aug. 21 public hearing regarding the course’s closure and associated news stories could result in another party wanting to lease the property.

He said the county will seek other parties to whom it could lease the land and, in an ideal scenario, the golf course will stay open and new recreational activities would center around the nearby boat landing.

County Administrator Doug Stanley stated in the release that while the county still hopes the course stays open, it is “willing to consider proposals which provide recreation opportunities to the citizens…and enhance its tax base.”

He said the supervisors realize that halting the effort to remove the deed’s requirement will allow “those who support the club to show their support in the form of bringing additional play and revenue to the course.”

Carter states in the release that he is “interested in seeing how much support the club will receive from the community this fall.”

He added that dropping the court case is logical because the matter was unlikely to appear in court before spring. He said the supervisors will pay close attention to the course’s revenue “to see if there is significant community support for keeping the course open.”

“I would encourage those who want to see the course stay open as a golf facility to support it by coming out and playing,” he said.

Carter, who also chairs the Golf Club Advisory Committee, noted at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the Golf Club Advisory Committee has two open seats. Anyone interested can obtain applications online or at the Warren County Government Center.