Spring is still a few days away, but the 2016 York County golf season is already off to promising start.
Regents' Glen Country Club is under new, local ownership.
The financially troubled club was forced to close in October amid reports that employees were not being paid, hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes were owed and that there was a federal lien against the former owners for millions of dollars.
It's uncertain how the finances of the deal will work. The new owners would not divulge the details, although a WGAL report had the course's price tag at "several million dollars."
What is nearly certain, however, is that any change should be good for the club. Things simply couldn't have gotten much worse.
The course had been owned by the estate of the late Victor Posner. Upon his death in 2002, a New York Times' story called him a "corporate raider whose exploits over three decades earned him a place in the rogue's gallery of American business."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Heather Krebs and her family finalized the transaction from Regents' Glen Building and Development LLC on Friday under the company name RG Services. Krebs' family members are Glen Rock natives who own several other regional companies.
Heather Krebs said her father's company, Springfield Contractors, did site work at Regents' Glen when it was opened two decades ago. Heather's father, Rod, also told WGAL he plans to build some new homes at the development and open a day spa.
The fact that York County folks, with first-hand knowledge of the property and business, are the new owners bodes well for the future of the club.
The Krebs family is already promising changes, The golf course is set to open April 1, while the Glen Grille will open April 15, after a complete renovation. The Box Hill Mansion, a Regents' Glen property that hosts weddings and other events, is supposed to open "soon."
Krebs said a condition of the sale included the elimination of the lien and the taxes owed.
For York-area golfers, the best news about the sale is that the Regents' Glen course will reopen.
The Arthur Hills-designed layout is one of the best tracks in the county. For a few years, it played host to a Futures Tour event — a minor league circuit for the Ladies Professional Golf Association that now operates under the name of the Symetra Tour. During the event here, the aspiring young pros couldn't say enough good things about Regents' Glen — both its condition and its renowned Hills design.
Regents' Glen, which was originally designed as part of a larger senior citizens community, is not a long course. From the back tees it barely stretches more than 6,300 yards. But it can still provide quite a challenge. Normally it featured high, thick rough and slick, well-protected greens. It also boasts one of the area's top practice facilities.
Hopefully, the new owners can get the course back to the near-pristine condition that was the layout's hallmark back in its heyday. Judging from a cursory look at the course, however, there is a lot of work that must be done between now and its planned April 1 opening.
The Krebs family is already reaching out to former members of the club. It's no secret that the club's unhappy membership dwindled in recent years. That's no surprise given the financial difficulties that the club endured and the impact that had on the course's condition and operation.
Heather Krebs, however, said connecting with former members has been difficult because they have no access to the previous owners' database. She is asking that previous members interested in becoming members again should call her at (717) 747-1919. She said they won't be charged an initiation fee.
In addition, some of the former club workers, who were not being paid under the old regime, have reportedly been rehired. New staff is also expected to be added.
All in all, the Krebs family seems to have a plan in place that could help the club flourish again. Only time will tell if that plan will ultimately succeed. There's no doubt the challenge will be daunting.
It's well known that the golf industry has been in a severe downturn since its golden age in the 1990s, when Regents' Glen was originally built.
In the interim, a few York-Adams courses, (Hawk Lake, Copper Beach, Gettysburg Country Club) have closed and there have been numerous rumors that some others in the region could follow.
Hopefully, Regents' Glen won't join that list anytime soon.
York County golfers are in desperate need of more options, not fewer.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.