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Golf execs decide to close doors

  • TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Blue Ridge CC will close its doors Nov. 27.
    TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Blue Ridge CC will close its doors Nov. 27.
Published November 01. 2013 05:00PM

Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton will close its doors Nov. 27.

In a letter emailed to the club's golf and social members Wednesday morning, the club's executive committee announced the restaurant will close at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. The bar will remain open through Nov. 27.

Additionally, the letter states, "Since last week, we met with a representative of the bank to begin developing a detailed list of items which need to be completed by Nov. 30. The club board at the meeting on Oct. 23 agreed to do everything possible to close the club and provide a seamless change to a new owner."

Rich Conwell, PGA Professional, has been laid off as of this past Tuesday as a result of reduced hours of operation and in the pro shop, according to the letter.

"During his 18 months of employment, Rich faithfully welcomed everyone with a smile and quip as they entered the pro shop and did a great job with all outside outings. The committee all wished him well," the letter, signed by the executive committee, said.

"The bank has been a very willing partner with the club by providing the capital to keep the club open for several months after the club capital was depleted. However, even though the bank has provided funds to keep us in operation these few additional months, we do not have unlimited resources. Time and finances dictate that we do several things to remain within the time frame and the financial limits we have. We need to accomplish an acceptable and organized "shut down" of operations and many things have to happen well before Nov. 30," the letter said.

Attempts to contact Blue Ridge officials in time for today's publication were unsuccessful.

However, in a voice mail left Thursday afternoon, John Rehus, general manager, made reference to the email that was sent out to the club's members.

"There's not a whole lot I can add to that," Rehus said. "That's pretty much the story."

As a result of the recommendations of its management staff, the board has authorized the shutdown of the club as follows:

• The restaurant will close at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. This will allow the staff sufficient time to thoroughly clean the kitchen and dispose of any leftover product. Product will be given to a local food bank or otherwise disposed of.

• There will be no minimum spending requirement for November.

• Thanksgiving is too close to the end of the month and would create numerous logistical problems so there will be no Thanksgiving dinner at the club.

• The bar will remain open through Nov. 27. They will begin to deplete inventory and run out of items. Please understand that the staff has not made these decisions.

• Members may continue to use their house charge until Nov. 17. After that date, all transactions must be paid for at the time of service by cash, check, or credit card. All November charges will be invoiced the week of Nov. 18. House charges are due to be paid by Dec. 15, and the bank intends to collect all club receivables. Any house charges not paid by the December due date will be aggressively collected by the bank.

• Members must remove all personal items, clean out all lockers, return locker keys, remove clubs and push carts by Nov. 17. If this poses a problem, please try to get a relative or friend to pick up any personal belongings.

• A sale of all items remaining in the pro shop will begin Nov. 9. Details will be forwarded at a later date.

• Gift certificates awarded for merchandise credit can be used anywhere in the club house beginning immediately. The last day to use certificates is Nov. 17.

• The golf course will remain open through Nov. 27.

The letter states that the bank has requested that the club continue to pursue the tax assessment hearing now scheduled for Nov. 12.

"As was related last week, there continues to be dialogue between the bank and several interested parties in purchasing the club. All parties are well aware that there are roughly 190 golfing members and 400 social members who thoroughly love BRCC and are anxiously awaiting news of a new owner. We are sure there will be a lot of activity over the next few weeks, and we will communicate again when there is good news."

Last week, the club's executive committee announced that the "deed in lieu" has been signed, and as of Nov. 30, a local bank will own the property.

That came after Rehus said in September that the member-owned club did not plan to shut its doors any time soon, despite rumors to the contrary.

Rehus said at that time that the club planned to celebrate its 100th birthday in two years, and that it planned to remain in operation for many years to come. He said at that time the club's plans for the future include building the membership base, increasing the restaurant and banquet business, increasing rounds played, making facility improvements (wedding gazebo, driving range), and most of all, hosting its 100th anniversary party.

Blue Ridge Country Club was founded by the New Jersey Zinc Company in 1915, and was a nine-hole golf course until 1990. After building nine additional holes, Blue Ridge became well known for its challenging layout and course conditions. In 2003, a new $2.5 million clubhouse was constructed overlooking the golf course and the Blue Ridge mountainside.

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