Echo Farms development from the golfers' perspective

Echo Farms development from the golfers' perspective

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Echo Farms is a familiar course to many, one now trapped in the midst of development plans, potential townhouses or a park. This, of course, disappointing to those who spend every day at the course and know its charm.

"Well, we have a regular group that's been playing out here," said Bill Brock. "I've played with one guy, 25-30 years. This is home to him, this is home to us."

It's a home that's accessible and for many people the site of the beginning of their golf career.

"It's open to the public and very welcoming to the public," said Harold Randle, who manages the pro shop. The course's presentation and advantages are often lost in the noise of its future.

"It's not just a vanilla hole where you've got a flat surface…a little bit of bunker, and then you've got a green," Randle said. "These - they put water into play. Houses into play, not on the course, but you can't get real wild. The water and the bunkers and the way they've done the course is really a good deal. It's a challenging course."

Take the par-4 seventh hole for example. Pull your tee shot, and your obstacle is traffic. Slice it, and you'll land in a neighbor's backyard. An extra hazard.

Those occasional points of contention, not as prevalent as holes that make you forget you're right next to a major highway, that make many longtime golfers understandably discouraged they might be shooting their final rounds here soon.

"I've seen it go through thick and thin. I think somebody could make money out here in the right hands," Brock said. "Matrix to me never cared about the golf course, they're out in Pennsylvania. It was an investment to them."

An investment in a region lined with golf courses, yet Echo Farms, a community that stands out to many for a common reason

"I went to different courses and Echo Farms, wasn't too high class, but it wasn't in the lower of the golf courses," said Jeff Hill, Echo Farms' golf manager. "It was right in the middle and it was a good vibe."

It's 18 holes along River and Carolina Beach roads, not exclusive, yet respectable – where your 23 bucks will still get you unlimited holes from 3 p.m. until night – for at least a couple more months

"I've lived here my entire life – 62 years," Brock said. "And I've been out here 30 of them. I think most cases, we're moving on.

"It is what it is."

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