Rethinking the Links: The Future of Former Golf Courses in Virginia Beach and Beyond

The Evolution of Local Golf Courses: From Greens to Communities
Across the region, we are witnessing a significant transformation of golf courses that have shaped our local landscapes for decades. These areas, once bustling with golf carts and tee times, are now at the center of various redevelopment discussions, reflecting broader trends in land use and community planning

One notable example is the former Arnold Palmer-designed West Neck Golf Course in Virginia Beach. Closed in 2019 due to financial difficulties, this property is poised for a significant transformation. Harrison and Lear Inc. propose redeveloping this 202-acre area into a mixed-use community, Signature Meadows, which aims to integrate residential spaces while preserving 180 acres as open space.

This trend is not unique to Virginia Beach. Other courses in the area have faced similar fates:

Cahoon Plantation at Eagle Pointe: This Chesapeake golf course closed in 2019. The course remains closed although the clubhouse is now a wedding venue operated by Rev and Evie Guill.

Stonehouse in Toano: Faced with closure, this course was saved by a local businessman who continues to keep it operational. This preservation effort demonstrates a commitment to maintaining recreational facilities while managing commercial viability.
Brickshire in New Kent: When economic challenges threatened its closure, the community’s Homeowners Association stepped in to purchase Brickshire’s golf course. This proactive move by the HOA ensured the course remained a valuable community asset.
Each scenario showcases different community responses to the declining popularity of golf and the surfeit of course land. Whether it’s transforming these spaces into residential areas or keeping them as green recreational facilities, the overarching aim is to adapt to changing community needs and preferences.

In Virginia Beach, the redevelopment plans for West Neck have stirred concern among local residents. While the promise of new amenities and preserved green spaces is appealing, there are also worries about increased density and changes to the community’s character. Jonathan Skinner, the president of the development firm, emphasizes collaboration and transparency, focusing on environmental stewardship and community benefits as central themes of the Signature Meadows project.

As these transformations continue to unfold, active community engagement remains crucial. Whether supporting or opposing these developments, community input is key to ensuring that the outcomes align with local values and needs.

Engagement through focus groups, public meetings, and continuous dialogue will help steer these projects in directions that are both respectful of their histories and aligned with contemporary community aspirations. This ongoing conversation is essential for reimagining how these vast green spaces can best serve the evolving needs of our communities.

Read more about West Neck here

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