Club hanging on by a thread 

Staff and members still facing uncertain future

click to enlarge Tee-Bills The fate of the Pemberton golf course still hangs in the balance.
  • Tee-Bills The fate of the Pemberton golf course still hangs in the balance.

While golfers may not be able to get a bite to eat or buy a T-shirt at the Pemberton Valley Golf and Country Club, they can still tee off.

Despite repeated warnings that the course will be shutting down, Dave Callum, head golf professional at the club, said the course remains open, but the restaurant is closed and the pro shop is empty.

“We’re open to just take green fees, but there’s nothing really to sell in here,” Callum said this week.

The club has been dealing with financial troubles for years, but problems peaked within the past few months, with the club’s board of directors admitting there was little hope of salvation.

In a letter sent to Pemberton council at the end of July, the board of directors said the only hope of saving the club was to have each of their 181 members come forward with $2,300 to pay off $415,000 in debt.

Callum said only one cheque came in.

“(Members) don’t want to pay for it anymore. They’d rather let somebody in here with some money and let it be run properly.”

As of Tuesday, the course was still running on a bare-bones staff. Callum said employees were working long hours to keep the course open, while their jobs hung precariously in the balance.

“We’ve been told that we’re going to close five different times,” Callum said.

While the past few weeks have been stressful, Callum said they are determined to keep the club open for as long as possible; the season was scheduled to end in early October. But the decision to close is now in the hands of the bank, and Callum doesn’t expect to receive much notice if they decide to shut the club down.

“It really all depends on when the bank decides to throw a receiver in here. I don’t know if they’ve called the loan or not, but when they do, we can’t pay it. Then it’s over.”

Callum said he doesn’t think the golf course will ever close altogether, but expects a private company will step in and purchase it.

“I think it’ll always be here, just the days of it being a member-owned facility are very, very numbered.”

Callum said the club’s board of directors is trying to keep the course running so members who paid dues to play until the end of the season will get the most value for their money.

If the bank steps in to run the course, members may have to pay to play.

“It’s the least that they’re trying to do for them.”

Calls to the board members and the general manager of the club, Gordon Bell, were unanswered.

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