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Stevinson Ranch Golf Club set to close in July
After close to 20 years in business, the Stevinson Ranch Golf Club is set to close on July 18. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

This September would have marked the 20 year anniversary of the Stevinson Ranch Golf Club, but due to a downturn in golfers and the influence of California's ongoing drought, the golf course is closing its doors this summer.

July 18 will mark the final day for Stevinson Ranch Golf Club, and the looming prospect of the closure is something founder and co-owner George Kelley called "very painful."

"The staff here have become like family and our members too. It is not the normal closure of a business. It’s a little more personal," said Kelley, who helped design the course that was completed in 1995.

More than just a golf course, Stevinson Ranch has a performance center, a pro shop, golf schools and lessons, the Grove Bar and Grill, as well as functions as an event venue inclusive with cottages for overnight golfers or event guests. Kelley said interest has been expressed in maintaining some elements of Stevinson Ranch after the closure of the course.

"We have a nice event center, pavilion and lodgings. There is some conversations about possibly trying to keep the bar and restaurant and event center open," he said.

While Kelley can only theorize about the decrease in golfers he has seen over the past 10 years, one thing has most certainly had an impact on the golf course is the drought. California's historic drought has threatened many family businesses like the Stevinson Ranch, and with the significant amount of water required to operate a golf course, Kelley called the drought "the straw that broke the camel's back."

"It’s the first time in 125 years no water is coming down the East side canal," said Kelley.

Having to rely on ground water, faulty and expensive well operations have rendered attaining water for the course less than economically feasible.

Stevinson Ranch Golf Club will remain open until July 18 and according to a letter by Kelley on the Club’s website, he states that he hopes "these next two months will be an opportunity for each and every one of you to honor this great game of golf and Stevinson Ranch."