Residents say closed Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course is unhealthy eyesore

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- In early May, the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course closed due to what owner Winston Gee says was the lack of business, but Ben Holt and others whose homes border the once green course say it was poor management that did the course in.

Now, those who live near the course say its sad shape is causing homes to lose value.

Holt believes the 18-hole executive golf course started going downhill in 2006-2007 when Gee took over. He claims a lack of upkeep chased off those who used to play the course and after Gee called it quits at Ahwatukee Lakes this past May, Holt says the course soon became a mess.

Gee said his course couldn't compete with the overabundance of golf courses in the Valley and is just one of a number that are going under financially.

He's met with those who live near the Ahwatukee Lakes Course and has tried to talk them into letting him sell part of the property for an apartment complex, a senior center or a church. Gee said his proposals haven't been acceptable to the people of Ahwatukee, leaving him no choice but to let the property sit. 

Some are also concerned the abandoned ponds on the closed course will become a haven for West Nile virus-carrying Culex mosquitoes, but John Townsend of the county's environmental services says because the ponds are home to hundreds of thousands of mosquito-eating fish, there's no concern.

In the meantime, Holt and his group, Save the Lakes (480-598-3468), say they're not giving up until another golf course is up and running where the old one now sits empty.