Golfers of all skill levels who have flocked to Lillington for years for a low-cost location for their hobby are now faced with finding an alternative following the closure of one of the area’s best-known golf courses.
A message on the answering machine at Pine Burr golf indicates the business is permanently closed. The 18-hole facility, located on U.S. 401 south of Lillington, has operated for many years.
Erwin businessman Ricky Buffaloe’s family owns the facility. His grandfather was the first family member to own it and now five people in the family are partial owners.
Mr. Buffaloe said all of the greens on the course died making it too expensive to reopen.
“They lost every green out there and the cost to replace them was too much,” Mr. Buffaloe said. “They thought the greens would come back, but they never did.”
The public course has been a less expensive and less formal option than private country clubs for golfers in the area. It was originally built and owned by three local businessmen in the Lillington area, Ed Bain, Fred Bethune and Bobby Wicker.
The trio opened the facility in 1967 and operated it for many years.
Mr. Bain, who continues to practice law in Lillington, said it was later sold to a lawyer from another state before then being sold to the Buffaloe family. Mr. Bain said it will be missed by people who have walked and ridden the fairways.
“When I owned it I knew where just about every blade of grass there was,” he said. “I don’t golf that much anymore, but I hate to hear it is closing.”
Lillington Chamber of Commerce Director Phil Addison said his office has been made aware of the closing.
“It is sad for the community,” Mr. Addison said. “Pine Burr was a place everyone could go to play.”
Lillington Mayor Glenn McFadden noted the significance of the Pine Burr location in the history of the local area.
“Pine Burr is one of the oldest courses in Harnett County,” Mr. McFadden said. “I always enjoyed playing there.”
He hopes for better news in the future about a use for the popular facility.
“Hopefully something will happen and it will open again one day,” Mr. McFadden said.
There has been no announcement about future plans for the site. The voice mail at the facility says only that the business is permanently closed and that golf carts there are not for sale.
The future of the club is up in the air, according to Mr. Buffaloe.
“Right now they are looking at different options, but they don’t know what they are going to do,” Mr. Buffaloe said.