KERRY HUBARTT: So many great memories from Cedar Creek Golf Course

Kerry Hubartt

I am already mourning what could be the impending doom of Cedar Creek Golf Course.

Recently an application was filed with the Allen County Plan Commission by Tullymore Run, LLC to rezone the course property into a 126-lot development. Cedar Creek owner Dave Gilbert told me this week that while he, too, grieves at the prospect of closing the course and turning it into a housing addition, the struggles of keeping the business going and the amount of the offer made to purchase the land leave him no choice.

My first job was working at Cedar Creek Golf Course, beginning in the summer of 1965 following my sophomore year at Leo High School.

I learned how to play golf there. As an employee I could play there for free, and I lived across the road from the course’s entrance. When I started working there, the course was still under construction and had a long way to go before looking like it does today with beautiful grass and trees on its rolling hills.

“I helped plant some of those trees that still shade the ’18 beautiful and challenging holes’ its first sign touted in welcoming golfers to the Garman Road links north of Leo.” — I wrote those words in this column in October 2016, the week of Arnold Palmer’s death, because one of the high points of my memories of Cedar Creek was when I watched him play on the course where I worked for six consecutive summers. He played with Miller Barber and Foster Park pro Bill Berg on that August day in 1971, the summer after I graduated from Indiana University and moved back to Allen County.

So when I saw signs appearing in lawns all around the Leo-Grabill area recently that say “NO CEDAR CREEK GOLF COURSE REZONE” and also saw an online petition demanding that county commissioners and planners say “no” to the rezoning and development, I had hope that perhaps the golf course might survive.

But after talking to Gilbert, I’m not so sure. Gilbert and Dan Collins were hired to operate the club in 1975 to rescue it from bankruptcy. It had been owned by the Mike Roth family for the 10 years prior. In 1982 Gilbert and former Sheriff Bud Meeks purchased the golf course, and Gilbert has been there ever since.

But Gilbert says the golf business has been declining everywhere for several years. And one reason is because there are simply too many courses.

Deer Track, which was only a couple miles north of Cedar Creek, has disappeared and become a housing development. Another contributing factor to declining business, Gilbert says, is the fact that golfers are all getting older and that younger people just don’t seem to be taking up the game.

Gilbert says he’s not sure what he will do if rezoning of the property is denied. But he said he can’t continue to maintain the course as it should be in the future.

Meanwhile, builder Roger Delagrange, representative of Tullymore Run, LLC., has set a public informational meeting to discuss his proposed housing development for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Central Ministries Church, Leo Campus, which is across from Leo High School.

The initial public hearing on the rezoning request set by the Allen County Plan Commission will be at 1 p.m. on June 14 in Room 35 of Citizens Square.

Kerry Hubartt is former editor of The News-Sentinel.