Deeds and WeedsNovember 10, 2009

Omaha's Ironwood CC to Close

Ironwood CC, one of the oldest golf clubs in Omaha (founded in 1924, and originally called Highland CC) will close at the end of this year, unable to make the debt payments on a huge loan it took out in 1999 to pay for capital improvements. The property is to be sold at a trustee auction Jan. 22. Details in this story in the Omaha World-Herald.

Sadly, the aspects of Ironwood's troubles are all-too-familiar in the private club world these days. Ten years ago, when the golf business was much more bullish than it is now, the club felt it needed a better clubhouse in order to compete with other golf facilities in Omaha -- so it borrowed $10.7 million for that and other internal projects.

But the economy soured, and Ironwood's membership plummeted -- the story says the club now has between 200-225 members, down from a one-time high of 350 members (plus 250 more who were social members only). That means a lot less business for that new clubhouse, which probably was a factor in the loan becoming overdue.

-- G.R.