After 126 years, Middlesboro Country Club is likely dead. Years of declining membership and a national lessening interest in golf have led to the demise of one of our oldest institutions.
Deeply in debt and with the course in very poor condition, the directors have not found a place to turn for a rescue. The creditors, primarily the bank, have been very patient. But that patience can’t last much longer.
The state and federal bank examiners are likely to force foreclosure on the approximately 80 plus acres of property including the clubhouse which has been a place for receptions, parties and civic club meetings and a source of community pride.
It is a community treasure, part of our heritage. Known as one of America’s oldest continually played golf courses, it is a vital part of our history. Moreover, the course is an important recreational outlet and tourism draw. Tourists like to say that they played here and shared history. But that is over without an extraordinary effort to save it.
Soon the community will need to consider what may become of the property. Housing is one possibility, but with the depressed local market that is a long-shot. Abandoned or in the wrong hands this property and all around it could be an embarrassment or an eyesore.
I am saddened by the impending loss.