On April 14, 1994, Swan Lakes Golf Course opened out in Layton’s farm fields way west of Interstate 15.
At the time, the batting cages, mini-golf course and driving range were open.
More than a month later on May 30, the nine-hole golf course opened along with a putting green course.
Twenty-five years later, the landscape — literally — looks a lot different. Those Layton farm fields are slowly turning into subdivisions as the population explodes along the Wasatch Front.
Not as many people play golf anymore and those that do have a plethora of options to choose from in Davis and Weber counties. On Sept. 4, the golf course’s run will come to an end as it’s shutting the doors.
“We’ve been blessed with having incredible clientele, we’ve met so many friends they’re basically family here. It’s been a glorious 25 years here, it really has,” Vice President Sheryl Starkey told the Standard-Examiner on Wednesday.
Starkey said the course is being sold to a developer. An emailed announcement sent out on Monday encouraged people to use punch cards, gift certificates and batting cage tokens before Sept. 4.
Four full-time employees will be affected by the closure, along with many part-time and seasonal employees, Starkey said.
A struggling golf industry as a whole, plus an oversaturation of golf courses in the area, were contributing factors to what Starkey termed as “extreme struggle” for the course since 2008. There are two other courses in Layton plus 10 more in Davis County.
“They built a lot of new courses in the area. With our green fee structure, it can only spread so far. The stories I read, they attribute it to the millennials. People are busier, they don’t want to take time out of their day to play golf,” said Starkey, who added that the course has been working with developers for three to four years and the closure was not a snap decision.
Golfing publications estimate it takes around four hours to play 18 holes of golf if everybody knows how to play the game and can do so at a reasonable pace. In reality, rounds of golf often take much longer.
The sport of golf is undergoing what the National Golf Foundation calls an “ongoing correction within the industry.”
According to the NGF’s annual report, a total of 198.5 18-hole equivalent golf courses closed in the United States in 2018 against just 12.5 18-hole equivalent courses that opened.
Many courses across the country that have closed are being used for housing redevelopment. Last year, the Ben Lomond Golf Course closed after 62 years and is now being considered for residential development.
Swan Lakes has been purchased by a development firm called C.W. Land Co. based out of Centerville. The company touts developments in Layton, West Haven, Syracuse and Park City as part of its portfolio.