By Jim Goodson

editor@jacksonvilleprogress.com

Golf lovers here are hopeful Cherokee Country Club will find a new owner soon.

Sources close to the club indicated Friday there are reasons for optimism, but no one wanted to speak on the record for fear of scotching any possible deals.

“There are many responsible people who care about the club who have been trying to work something out,” CCC club president Speedy Peacock said Sept. 29, two days before the club closed its doors as a private entity.

For several warm weather weeks in October the club was open to the public for golf, although its banquet, tennis and swimming facilities were not available.

“We wanted to keep the golfers coming for several reasons,” Peacock said. “It would provide some revenue and help us market the club. The Franklin Bank has been a wonderful partner, even agreeing to maintain the golf course during what we hope is only an interim period.”

Peacock said at the time he anticipated a bid between $1.8 million and $2 million could purchase the club.

Interestingly, Golf Digest magazine has been running a monthly feature story on golf clubs for sale throughout the United States. They list often includes courses that have hosted major USGA championships. Many of the clubs for sale are traditional, stand-alone private clubs such as Cherokee Country Club. Most are listed for between $2 million and $3 million.

That concurs with as assessment Peacock made in October - that the best way to make money on a new golf course these days is to sell homesites around the course’s perimeter.

“Most of the successful new courses being build - such as Oak Hurst in Bullard - are combination golf courses and housing developments,” Peacock said.

“Nevertheless, I think Cherokee Country Club could thrive with the right mix of owner and management. It’s a beautiful course, located near a high-population urban center. There are a lot of golfers in East Texas who would love to play the course, if they could.”

Potential buyers such as Club Corporation of America have been contacted, as have the Canadian owners of The Pinnacle Club on Cedar Creek Lake and Peggy Lutz, the former figure skating champion whose family built the phenomenally successful Pine Dunes Golf Club south of Frankston, named one of the top 10 new courses in 2005 by Golf Digest.

Franklin Bank officials said they would make an announcement regarding the club as soon as it’s appropriate.