SPRING HILL — When Seven Hills Golfers Club and Spring Hill Golf and Country Club closed abruptly at the end June, reactions ranged from stunned to angry.
There was little explanation. The owners wouldn't talk. Notices on the doors were the only indication that the courses had been shuttered.
Now, with cooler weather and the busy snowbird season around the corner, one of the courses is attempting a comeback.
Seven Hills will reopen Nov. 13, according to Tim Spangler, manager of the course and pro shop.
Spangler, who served as the club's manager prior to the closing, said there were several reasons behind the shutdown, but those problems are in the process of being resolved.
"There were some internal things going on with the economy and some employee problems," Spangler said. "Hindsight is 20-20, and it could have been handled better. We're going to abandon (trying to run) two courses and concentrate on Seven Hills to make it what it used to be."
Michael Kahanyshyn owns both Seven Hills and Spring Hill through his corporation, Lemkco Florida Inc., according to public records.
There apparently had been some hope of reopening Spring Hill Golf and Country Club as well. Kahanyshyn had been in talks to lease the Spring Hill property to Jerry Markum, the owner of Rivard Golf and Country Club, south of Brooksville, and Sherman Hills Golf Club in Ridge Manor West.
Kahanyshyn declined to comment when reached by phone. But Chris Markum, Jerry Markum's son and the general manager at Sherman Hills, said no agreement could be worked out because of the condition of the course.
"(Those talks) fell through," Chris Markum said. "We mowed it down for them to discern whether or not it would be possible to open, but the course was too far gone."
An estimated 30 to 50 employees lost their jobs in late June when the two courses closed. Spangler said that a majority of the employees hired to reopen Seven Hills will come from the pool who were employed at Seven Hills and Spring Hill previously. He estimated that Seven Hills will start with 20 to 25 employees.
Spangler said Seven Hills will likely have an official grand reopening ceremony in December. For the first 30 days of operation starting Nov. 13, the course will offer a promotional special for customers: 18 holes of golf with a cart for $15.
In the meantime, Seven Hills employees and groundskeepers are working to restore the course to playable condition. The crew has reseeded the tee boxes, greens and approaches, and Spangler said he is satisfied with the results.
"Our grounds crew has done a remarkable job," he said. "Any time you let a course go that long in Florida in the heat of the year, it's going to be tough."
Spangler said the owners of the golf course were aware of concerns from Seven Hills homeowners, who feared the loss of the course would lower their property values. He said that was a factor in the decision to restore the course.
"It's just a better thing for everyone involved," Spangler said. "The community really wanted to have the course back up and running. When it comes to running a successful golf course, one hand has got to work with the other to make it go."