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Isle Dauphine Golf Club gates
to be padlocked Monday morning

By Mark R. Kent, Press-Register
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sign at entrance
Effective immediately, access to the Isle Dauphine Golf Club is blocked. Dauphin Island Property Owners Association officials are attempting to secure a long-term lease with a golf club management company, but such action would require changes in the organization's bylaws, President Glenn Coffee said Sunday, Sept. 17, 2012. (Press-Register photo)

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama -- Effective Monday morning, there will be no access to the grounds of the Isle Dauphine Golf Club, the Dauphin Island Property Owners Association said. The DIPOA said in a news release that current financial conditions prevented the group from hiring a staff to continue operations at the golf club, which were ceased last month.

Association President Glenn Coffee said that there were liability and insurance factors that contributed to the decision to close the club grounds. He said, however, that the organization is considering a plan to lease the club to a golf course management company.

As of Monday, though, the courseís entry gates at the end of Orleans Drive will be closed and locked, and "no trespassing" signs will be posted, the association said.

Island police will step up patrols in the area to prevent anyone from going onto the grounds.

The golf club has been a fixture on the island since 1960, according to Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier, who served for many years as the clubís golf pro and doubled as manager before he left the clubís employ in February.

Operations at Isle Dauphine ended on Aug. 25, Collier said. The club had for many years been popular both with winter visitors and full-time residents. Its signature feature was a clubhouse that contained a circular dining hall that over the years served as host to many wedding receptions and company parties. "People often told me that the building reminded them of ĎThe Jetsons,í" Collier said, referring to the space age-themed childrenís TV cartoon series.

Coffee told the Press-Register that the DIPOA wants to propose a long-term lease to a group that specializes in golf club management, but the association cannot make such an offer until its own constitution is amended. "Currently, our constitution only allows us to make a three-year lease," Coffee said. He added that the DIPOA did not believe a short-term lease would keep the club open. He said that a proposal to amend the associationís constitution will be mailed out to the 2,700 DIPOA members within the next two weeks, and proposals would be considered after the amendment is made. Coffee said that volunteers kept the club open from the end of 2011 to the end of operations in August. In the 12 years before that, he said, the club lost more than $1.6 million.

Collier said that he wants to see Isle Dauphine saved by whatever means it would take. "We need that facility," he said. "It is the economic hub of the community, especially from a recreational standpoint." ź
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