Gibson City golf course for sale

Gibson City golf course for sale

GIBSON CITY — A public golf course in Gibson City is up for sale, and if no buyer can be found soon, it might end up closing, its owner said.

Doug Brucker of Sibley, who has owned the Railside Golf Course on Gibson City’s north side for four years, confirmed Wednesday he is trying to sell the 18-hole, 197-acre course, along with its clubhouse, which features a pro shop, restaurant, lounge and 150-seat banquet facility.

Brucker said he hopes to sell it to someone who intends to keep it as a golf course.

“The main goal is to sell it as a turn-key operation,” Brucker said. “We want to sell it as a golf course. I mean, we don’t want to do anything else. That’s our main goal is to sell it as a golf course.”

But if no buyer can be found soon, Brucker said, there is a “good chance” he will end up closing the course, which has been in operation since 1993.

Brucker, the course’s third owner, said a gradual decline in golfers using the course has prompted him to try to sell it. Brucker said the popularity of golf has been steadily decreasing nationwide since the sport’s peak years when Tiger Woods was dominating the PGA Tour.

“The whole golf industry’s way down,” Brucker said. “It just takes 5 1/2, six hours to play a round of golf, and the millennials don’t want to play as much, I guess.”

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Bra adamant wrote on September 21, 2016 at 7:09 pm

The whole golf industry is down because it costs so much to play a round. Want more people? Lower your price. Also, AT TIMES, slack you rules a bit. My son and daughter both would like to play, but we can't afford extra sets of clubs. ON CERTAIN DAYS, let two people play off one bag. If we could done that, you would have got our money. I know Saturday morning isn't the time for that. But how about Tuesday morning? You can succeed if you want to, but just like the rest of us, you gotta change a bit, bend a bit.

Gerneml wrote on September 21, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Hey Bra. They are the cheapest around. $59 a year for a 3 year pay of $177.  They ran the deal for 2 years. Doug and Tracy are trying their best to make it go. I realize clubs are expensive. But if that's holding you back leave a note on the board and I'll see if I can find a women's set for you. Great family fun. I would give them the cash if I had it. Gibson has a good high school team. Other teams practice there.  It would be a shame if it closes. Go Chargers!!!!!

BigTenFan wrote on September 22, 2016 at 7:09 am

“The whole golf industry’s way down,” Brucker said. “It just takes 5 1/2, six hours to play a round of golf, and the millennials don’t want to play as much, I guess.”

There lies a problem with golf in general.  No way should it take over 4-4.5 hours for a round of golf on a bad day.  My foursome averages 3:30 hours to finish (riding) when we aren't held back by slow golfers and the lowest handicap in our group is a 10.  If golf courses would hire rangers to enforce rules against slow play and let players know ahead of time that slow play will not be tolerated golfers will come.  Price all rounds no matter what the time of day between $20-$25 including cart and assure golfers that the round will take no more than 4.5 hours maximum.  That price will bring in the golfers and  the course will make their money by volume of players and snack bar revenue.  Make the golfers know that you enforce slow play rules and that they may be asked to pick up their ball and go to next hole if they fall behind.  Let the players know that the rules are set before teeing off and if they don't abide by such rules, that the golf course has the right to kick them off.  Golf outings would be excempt since their renting out the course anyway.  


Solemn Sojourner wrote on September 22, 2016 at 10:09 am

Railside for many years while I lived in the area was my favorite course, and I've played every course within 30 miles of Champaign and many that aren't.  Each hole was carefully crafted to present a different risk-reward challenge.  In part, I am also fond of that course because it was one my departed father and I played every time he made his annual pilgrimmage to Illinois to see my family.  I can still hear him saying, every single time we played No. 2, "This is a par-five, isn't it?"  My favorite stretch had to be 12-14, though.  The grounds crew has had a tough go the past couple of years, but the course had always been meticulously maintained with bentgrass fairways and greens.  I just can't understand Mr. Brucker's comment regarding golf rounds taking "5 1/2, six hours," though.  No course in the area takes that long, and I often finished Railside in 2:45 or less when I hit it just right on a Tuesday.  Indeed, I've always thought the Chamber of Commerce has missed a marketing opportunity, because only occasionally does one find a foursome from the Chicago-area taking advantage of the fabulous round times and excellent courses.  Champaign County courses and Railside, in its glory days, and Iron Horse (both by same designer) could easily be part of a "golf desination package."  Here's hoping Mr. Brucker finds the right buyer and Railside returns to those glory days. 

Coolkayaker1 wrote on September 22, 2016 at 11:09 pm
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"Frisbee" Disc Golf is the future.  The Pro Disc Golf Assoc. membership has exploded from 11k members a decade ago to now over 31k associates...and those are just the registered tournament players!  Many ball golf courses are adding disc golf.  Disc golf courses are growing by the hundreds in city & state parks, and take advantage of woody areas, downhill ski slopes, etc. They are much more environmentally friendly than traditional golf (less water, fertilizer, lower carbon footprint, less manpower, and on and on)  The disc golf champs...Ricky Wysocki, Paul McBeth, Catrina Allen, etc...are getting bigger and bigger sponsorships (think Adidas, etc.). Kids playing disc golf is growing as tournaments have family activities.   How big is disc golf? The Ledgestone Open Pro Am 2016 in Peoria Illinois had over 1000 registered, paying players in the event!  It had thousands more spectators (YouTube search it to see highlights from Lake Eureka, Sunset Hills, etc. in Peoria). It's a fabulous game.  There are 3 courses in Champaign County, 3 in Bloomington, and 8 in greater Peoria. Internet and TV coverage (ESPN 3) is blossoming. Many courses are free to play, all under $10, so the days of $35-$150 rounds of ball golf are, well, over.  :-). Disc golf money is made on the front and back ends...discs, equipment, food, hotels, beverages, etc.  it's a boon to any community to host a large event. 

Illini1958 wrote on October 05, 2016 at 8:10 pm

My wife purchased a 3 year pass for my son and I for Christmas last year.  It was an awesome deal.... $60/yr...3 yrs/$180 for each of us.  Now they may close down...bummer.  First question is....will they refund our 2nd and 3rd year fees?   I wonder what the asking price is for Railside?  I think basically it is a good course..... I like the layout.  It has a some character to the holes.  Not just a 350 yd par 4.. straight down.... walk 25 yards... do another....350 yd the oposite direction.  There are some issues on the course..... a few water issues in places.... bunkers all need worked on.   Some of the bunkers need to be taken out... filled up with dirt and sod.  Not every green and fairway need bunkers.  That adds to slow play.  Maybe they can cut back on the rough can walk right by the ball and not see it.  maybe just go to 3 sets of and wow...that's a long way back there.  Maybe they could team up with local businesses to make it a destination kind of thing.   A buddy and I head over to golf and then our wifes join us fr dinner at the German restaraunt in town.  These are just some ideas I have thought about while playing there this summer.  Like I said.... I like the course.  Hope they get it sold to a person who wants to keep the course open.