KENTLAND — The Newton County Commissioners voted to get the ball rolling to see if purchasing Hazelden Country Club could be a possibility.
The commissioners voted Nov. 4 to have County Attorney Pat Ryan look into negotiating an option of first refusal for the country club.
“The terms have not been negotiated,” Ryan informed the Newton County Enterprise. “I don’t know if that is even a possibility and have not yet discussed that proposal with the owners. I only asked the Commissioners to consider this, so if the County ever did decide they want to pursue the idea in the future, we might still preserve an opportunity to do so. This might be helpful in the event the owners decided to sell the ground to someone else who was no longer interested in preserving the historic golf course. I haven’t had a chance to talk to the owners yet at all about the idea, and don’t know if they would even entertain doing that. Further, I also don’t know if the elected officials would ever even agree in the future to pursue such an acquisition.”
Commissioner Mickey Read told the Newton County Council about her wishes to make sure the historic golf course stays a golf course.
“I also just don’t want it to sit there,” said Read. “I have talked to Mike and Candace (Armstrong) and they definitely want to sell it. It has a lot of historical value to it and it’s a great addition to our tourism. I would like to keep it going as a golf course.”
Read added that she feels it will take an additional $200,000 to $300,0000 “to bring it up to snuff. It will be a big endeavor.”
The Armstrongs did confirm that the historic Hazelden Country Club is for sale.
“While we would love to see it stay a golf course and continue serving the community, we have received no offers to purchase it as a golf course,” stated the Armstrongs in a response to the Newton County Enterprise. “The current ownership has no plans to re-open the course for the spring of 2020. At this point, all offers will be entertained for the property and facility.”
Hazelden Country Club, the first nine holes of which were built for famous author George Ade, reportedly designed to accommodate his incurable slice, occupies much of his former Iroquois River retreat. Golf was first played at Hazelden in 1910 and it is now a par 70, 18-hole golf course.