VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Owl’s Creek Golf Center on Birdneck Road in Virginia Beach is now closed.
The City of Virginia Beach owns the golf driving range, empty clubhouse and four of the 18 holes on site. A landowner owns the rest of the more than 80 acre site.
Operator Merv Troyer has leases with both, and says the value of the land is tremendous, even though it is under Oceana Air zoning restrictions.
Troyer says there was not enough money coming in, and he was spending too much to keep the course operating.
“We had to stop the bleeding. We could not make it,” says Troyer.
Troyer operates four other area courses, but he says he lost $100,000 a year from Owl’s Creek. Troyer also says it would take $300,000 to $400,000 to fix up the course.
Over the last few years, the course has fallen out of favor with the public. One online reviewer said the course is “straight out of the zombie apocalypse.”
Troyer blames the new Top Golf for taking away driving range business. However, the widening of Birdneck Road closed off quick access to the course, which put the final nail in the course’s coffin.
“We went down for about two and a half years during that and never did anything after that. We were losing more and more and more money and pumping more money into it. We never quite recovered.”
Troyer wants to run just the city-owned driving range and club house, but he says the city has said “all or none.”
After the Birdneck widening, Troyer says he and his wife went to all the hotels at the Oceanfront to get them to send business their way. It didn’t work.
Troyer continues to blame the Birdneck widening for the course’s demise. A city spokesperson refuted that, saying the widening should have brought more business his way. Troyer says that once the road widening damage was done, and business left, it never came back.
“Before that happened, we were doing well,” Troyer says.
The last rounds were played May 22. The range closed down May 30.
Troyer has asked the City of Virginia Beach to terminate his lease. City Council meets Tuesday in closed session, where they will consider terminating his lease.