The Hills Golf Course in Lebanon to Close

(LEBANON, Ill., February 8, 2017) - McKendree University has announced it will close The Hills Golf Club in Lebanon, effective Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.

According to university officials, operating costs combined with ongoing financial losses have forced the closure of the 18-hole public golf course, formerly known as Locust Hills. The university purchased the 109-acre property on Belleville Street in April 2012 for $1.4 million. A limited liability company, or LLC, was formed to oversee its purchase and operation.

“When we bought the golf course it was good for the community and the university,” said Dr. James Dennis, president. “For four years we have invested in it to the extent that we have been able, making renovations to the course and clubhouse. Despite capital investment improvements, working with individuals from other courses and with a consulting firm, we have not been able to make it a profitable venture.”

“Across the country, many small golf clubs are struggling to remain open,” said Dan Dobbins, president of the LLC. He noted that declining participation in the sport, especially among young people, is a national trend that has adversely affected several courses in recent years. “All of these factors and the need for substantial improvements to the course to increase player revenue created an untenable situation,” added Dobbins.

Dennis said while there are “no immediate plans” for the property’s use, the grounds will continue to be mowed and maintained. “We are not putting the golf course on the market at this time, however in the future we would entertain a sale of the site if one were tendered,” he said.

The Refuge Family Grill will have the opportunity to continue operations, said university officials.