Owner: Barrington Hall golf course to close

The owner of the troubled Fox Run Country Club at Barrington Hall subdivision says the golf course will close next month, despite efforts by residents to keep it open until a buyer can be found.

Ken Vicinus, who says the course is losing about $40,000 a month, said Monday he is “shutting down the operation” no later than April 30 and possibly as soon as mid-month.

“I just can’t continue to bleed the way I’m bleeding,” Vicinus said.

Barrington Hall residents have launched a membership drive in hopes of financing the operation of the course for six months, even after Vicinus leaves. However, Vicinus said that after meetings last week with organizers and CB&T bank, officials from the bank told him that plan “is not workable.”

“That would not be enough to cover the month-to-month deficit,” he said.

Barrington Hall homeowner Jim Huffstetler, one of the organizers of the community effort, said he thinks the bank is willing to work with residents.

“In my conversations with the bank, I think they’re interested in keeping it open,” Huffstetler said. “It’s in their best interest.”

Bank officials have declined to comment, citing client confidentiality laws.

The 144-acre golf course anchors Barrington Hall, a community of high-end homes in north Bibb County. Should the golf course close and go untended, it would lose value quickly and likely drag down the values of the 400 or so homes in the neighborhood. Homes in the development typically sell from about $200,000 to more than $500,000.

Vicinus bought the property, which also includes a restaurant, clubhouse and pool, in 2002. Despite a $4 million investment, Vicinus said, Fox Run Country Club has never turned a profit and is losing more than $500,000 a year.

Vicinus said he owes $1.8 million on the property. He hopes to keep the course open until he “meets a couple of payrolls” and pays money owed to vendors. In the meantime, he expects the bank to begin foreclosure proceedings.

Employees already are looking for other jobs, he said.

“It’s all starting to come apart pretty quickly. It will probably fall apart right around the middle of April.”

Vicinus notified members that the course will remain open until April 30 or until maintenance equipment and golf carts are returned to the finance company and the Club Car company.

“Once that happens, we’ll turn out the lights.”

Vicinus is not optimistic a buyer will be found.

“Nobody will buy without a commitment from the community,” he said.

Huffstetler said about 60 residents have pledged to support the club financially. One suggestion has been for residents to buy $150 monthly memberships for six months to keep the course open.

The group plans a mass mailing campaign to reach more residents in Barrington Hall and neighboring communities, Huffstetler said. He said he thinks community support is there, citing a recent survey by the Private Club Advisor newsletter.

The survey, he said, got 200 responses, with 90 percent of respondents saying they would come back to the club with new management.

“I’m believing that the bank is going to keep it open,” Huffstetler said, “and the community will rally around us.”

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.