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Dauphin Island golf course closing in two weeks
Published: Monday, December 05, 2011, 5:49 PM Updated: 6:14 PM
Casandra Andrews By Casandra Andrews, Press-Register

Press-Register files photo of Isle Dauphine Golf Club from 2007
MOBILE, Alabama -- Citing declining revenues, the Dauphin Island Property Ownerís Association voted to close the Isle Dauphine Golf Course effective Dec. 19.

"Itís totally a financial decision," said Jack Gaines, president of the Dauphin Island Property Owners Association, which manages the course and other amenities on the grounds. "Between hurricanes and oil spills, it hurt us."

The Gulfview Grill, a restaurant on golf course property overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, will remain open five days a week for breakfast and lunch, Gaines said.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier, 50, who also serves as the Isle Dauphineís golf professional and manager, was told last week his job there ends on Jan. 31. "This is something Iíve never had to deal with in my life," Collier said. "Itís more than a job. Itís been family. Itís become a part of our life. Iíll have to figure out which direction Iíll go in next."

Collierís post as Dauphin Island mayor is a part-time position. While the Town Council held several public meetings in recent months to discuss making the mayorís job full-time, or to hire a town manager, it decided last month to leave the position as it stands.

While the golf course will close, Gaines said, the property owners association has plans to reopen the popular pool and a cabana bar in the spring. The Isle Dauphine clubhouse also will remain available to rent for private parties, Gaines said.

In recent years, Gaines said, the 18-hole golf course has failed to turn a profit, typically losing about $150,000 a year. The property owners association, which receives dues on a voluntary basis, Gaines said, was able to offset the loss for a while with money earned from royalties on a trust fund. Those funds have also declined in recent years.

"Iím distraught over this," Gaines said. "Weíve been grappling with this issue of what to do about the loss for a long time."

The public course, located on the eastern side of the barrier island south of Mobile, opened in 1960. Collier said his employment there began when he was 15. Eventually, he joined the Professional Golferís Association before becoming the club pro and manager.

Collier said the golf industry as a whole is struggling in a weak economy, with families focusing on necessities before recreation. "People donít have as much money as they used to have," Collier said, noting that means they have less to contribute to the Dauphin Island Property Owners Association as well. "I think itís going to be hurtful to the economy," Collier said of the closing. "We are going to lose an attraction. This is going to hurt the community from a jobs and tax revenue standpoint. It would bring people to the island who otherwise might not come here."
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