St. Andrews homeowners maintain closed golf course themselves

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - St. Andrews has always been a quiet community. It's even more quiet now that hundreds of golf carts don't roam the neighborhood on a weekly basis.

When the course suddenly closed three months ago, residents came up with a game plan: Maintain the course themselves.

Speedy Spivacke is the president of the Homeowners' Association.

"We've got a lot of people who have volunteered to help mow the fairway, about 23 families right now have volunteered to help mow," Spivacke said.

They are doing it to save not only the course, but their homes as well.

"Of course, property values have declined, we know that when something like this happens," homeowner Mike McGregor said.

What also happens is people lose money, and lots of it.

Marilyn Swanson has called St. Andrews home for more than 30 years.

"I just paid my membership of $1,500 about four months before the doors were padlocked," Swanson said. "Surprisingly, nobody knew that these people were going to be here and padlock our doors that day."

Walking off the abandoned and desolate 4th green at St. Andrews, one can understand the frustration the homeowners feel, seeing this golf course the way it is now.  But they do hold out hope that things are going to get better. They're keeping their fingers crossed that a buyer will soon be found and make a major investment here.

That's the outcome McGregor is holding out for.

"I think that when the recession starts easing off and when people are confident again, they start getting jobs, I think sooner or later somebody's going to buy it," McGregor said. "I'd like to believe that."

In addition to volunteers cutting the grass around the course, more than 30 other families have donated money to buy the gas that powers the mowers.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.