Cincinnati area losing popular 36-hole Arthur Hills-designed golf course

A popular 36-hole public golf course in the Cincinnati area is set to close for good, reports local affiliate station WCPO.

Weatherwax Golf Course in Middletown, Ohio -- opened in 1972 -- will shutter its doors Nov. 9.

In 2014 the course was sold by the city of Middletown to auctioneers who, despite steady play, haven't been able to make the business work. Rated as high as no. 75 in the U.S. among public courses by Golf Digest in 1994, the property will be converted into a metropark.

From the WCPO report:

"I just gotta take it as it comes," [course professional and operator Jim] Kraft said. "When I called to tell my wife, she asked if I was crying. That sums up how I feel about this." Kraft has worked the last two years to save the course. He leased the course from Bowling to prove it is a viable business. "I thought maybe I could save it. I thought if I showed it could be a viable business, then maybe it would lead to a long-term lease." Kraft wanted to show the course could be a business opportunity opposed to an investment. "They thought it was best for them to go and sell it." Play has remained steady despite questions about the course's future the past two years. It has seen 50,000 rounds of play this year and 55,000 rounds last year, according to Kraft.

Weatherwax, designed by Arthur Hills, has been a steady four-star golf course on Golf Advisor. Our most recent review of the course, on Oct. 6, comes from a reviewer who had heard the sad news that one of their area favorites was closing:

I have always loved playing Weatherwax regardless of which 18 we were playing. Over the past 24 months rumors have been flying around about the course being sold, closing etc with the latest being this is the final year. We wanted to play it again while the weather was good and glad we did. Highlands played its usual tough self and was in pretty good condition then we moved on to Meadows. Meadows was in OK shape and no where near as good as the front 9. We decided to have a drink on the patio as it was such a beautiful evening and found out that the corse has 30 days left and will close on Nov 7th. We will be sad to see this gem of a course (4 9's), If you haven't played it or want to one last time do it now. To the staff at Weatherwax, thank you for the years of great golf.
Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
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A handful of political appointees decided this without public discussion or local input. They are destroying a valuable community asset used by thousands for the benefit of a few horse enthusiasts. Tax dollars and grants will be used tokill a significant chunk of the local economy. 

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Cincinnati area losing popular 36-hole Arthur Hills-designed golf course