Rumors of the supposed demise of a local golf course are greatly exaggerated, so much so that its owners recently took to the airwaves to set the record straight.
Hunting Hawk Golf Club in Hanover County has no plans to shut down in the coming weeks to make way for a massive residential real estate development, despite rumors to the contrary.
“There are a lot of people that believe it is closing,” said Dan Schmitt, CEO of HHHunt, the local real estate firm that owns Hunting Hawk. “A lot of people were coming in our golf shop saying, ‘We hear you’re closing.’”
Word spread to the point that HHHunt felt forced to try to cut the misinformation off at the pass, Schmitt said. The company has taken out radio spots on local sports station 910 AM, essentially with a “contrary to what you may have heard” message, Schmitt said.
The public course is open for play – it was packed with a large group outing on Tuesday – and is already booking tournaments into next year, Schmitt said.
But the gossip does have a bit of truth to it. HHHunt does indeed want to eventually develop the land currently occupied by the golf course into a residential real estate project.
“We have for some time been looking for an opportunity to develop all or a portion of that land,” Schmitt said. “Ultimately, we see a greater use of that land. But for the foreseeable future, Hunting Hawk will remain open until there is a plan to develop that land or until we were ready to develop.”
Built in 2000, Hunting Hawk encompasses about 180 acres adjacent to HHHunt’s sprawling Wyndham community, which is anchored by the Dominion Club. The company sold that golf and country club in a multimillion-dollar deal earlier this year.
HHHunt has another 150 adjacent acres to the east on the Henrico County side that would be combined with Hunting Hawk’s land, Schmitt said. That gives the company about 330 acres to work with, and Schmitt said it has a vision for a development catering to residents age 55 and up – a popular demographic for local developers lately.
While the completion of that plan is still several years out, HHHunt has begun to take small steps toward getting it in motion, such as preliminary discussions with Hanover County and site engineer visits to the course.
“We don’t have any specifics plans,” Schmitt said. “We have conceptual plans that we’ve shared with (the county) … People see engineers out there and they just assume.”
Golfers will be glad to know that there is at least one major obstacle standing in the way of developing over Hunting Hawk. Schmitt said the site would need water and sewage lines to be run in from about 6 miles away in order to support a development of that size – a complicated, expensive and time-consuming undertaking that would require a development agreement between HHHunt and the county.
“We’ve started to talk about what that would look like to share that investment (with the county), because it’s a significant investment,” Schmitt said.
A message left at the Hanover County planning department was not returned by Wednesday evening.
That infrastructure piece alone will likely take up to four years to come to fruition, Schmitt said, and the additional neighboring land to the east in Henrico would be developed first.
So in the meantime, Hunting Hawk will remain open to the public as usual.
“We anticipate that course will be open and will continue on for at least a number of years – three to four years – while we nail down and figure out what the development will look like,” Schmitt said.