Golf Club of Dallas Not for Sale But Needs Help

The owners of the Golf Club of Dallas said Friday that the 64-year-old club is not for sale.

The announcement comes two days after hundreds of Oak Cliff residents voiced their opposition to a plan to sell the club to Huffines Communities.

The group, owned by Republican State Sen. Don Huffines, wanted to redevelop the land into a residential community with hundreds of new homes.

Philip Bleakney is a part of the club's ownership group, Petro Golf Management. He said the club was not for sale, but Huffines Communities made the group an offer it couldn't refuse.

"The land is worth much more than the golf operation, and that's how it came about. We're still not for sale, but you know that offer was pretty unbelievable," he said.

When Bleakney joined the club in 2000, it had about 400 members. Now it's about 60. A majority of members don't live in the surrounding area, which is why Bleakney was surprised at the level of opposition against the plan.

"For us as owners, to try to understand more, it's a little difficult, because the immediate area just doesn't support the golf course like we need it to to survive," he said. "There's so many nice houses throughout here. I mean, there are so many people that could support this place, and that's what we need to go forward."

Bleakney said part of the problem is that residents in the communities surrounding the club don't know that the club is semi-private. The in-house restaurant is open to the public. You do not need a membership to play the course, and pool passes are available in the summer.

Bleakney hopes better communication can breathe life back into the club, which is in need of repair.

"In a perfect world it would remain a golf course forever," he said.

Among the hundreds of Oak Cliff residents who packed Wednesday's meeting was Ryan Frahm, vice president of the Wynnewood Hills Neighborhood Association.

He's been a member at the club for the last five years and knows that low patronage could sink it.

"If the community shows the support financially that they did the other night emotionally, I think it's absolutely viable," he said. "Now the real work begins. If you want it to stay a golf course, then know that you're welcome. Come by and have lunch. Come by and have dinner. Patronize it."

District 3 Councilman Casey Thomas' opposition to the development plan was solidified Wednesday. He's creating a task force to bring the club owners and community together. He hopes that energy can be used to bring the southern Dallas gem back up to par.

"You made your voice heard, but we need you to stay engaged in the process," Thomas said. "We're putting this task force together, and we're going to meet with Phillip (Huffines, brother of Don Huffines) and see how the neighborhood, and the community can be supportive of the golf course."

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