03 Jul Creating Community Through Golf
“My family and I have been a part of the small town community of Neskowin since the late 1960’s. I’m so proud to be a part of The Neskowin Beach Golf Course.” -Michael Knapp
Neskowin, a tiny beach town on Highway 101 about 2 hours from Portland, has been a special place for generations of Oregonians. Quaint cottages, beautiful beaches and a laid-back lifestyle give it a retro charm that’s hard to find elsewhere. And it has a golf course.
The Neskowin Beach Golf Course was built in 1933. Back in the day it hosted Jack Benny, pro golfer Helen Dettweiler as well as families from Portland, Salem and Eugene who built vacation homes. The golf course became an integral part of village life where countless kids learned the game. The course has been in continuous operation since its founding until last fall when the current owner announced that he was closing the business and retiring. He did not list the property for sale or market it beyond the announcement.
Without a new operator the golf course would lie fallow and grow wild. A small group of community members came together shortly after the closing announcement to create a plan for new ownership. After many meetings, hundreds of hours of research and outreach to the Neskowin property owners, it was decided to create a community ownership plan. A Portland area legal team worked with the small volunteer group to establish a new entity that would continue to the golfing tradition in Neskowin.
In early May of 2015 a deal was struck with the current owner and a group of dedicated and talented volunteers took over the operation. At the same time a fundraising effort began to generate the funds necessary to buy the property. The new Neskowin Beach Golf Course kicked off the season with an Open House attended by over 260 people who came to hear about the plans for preserving their historic treasure. Contributions began to come in.
Today the community has contributed in excess of $345,000 toward the purchase. The volunteer crew has put in hundreds of hours to put the course in great shape for the summer. The clubhouse is once again a friendly, welcoming hub where kids and adults gather to share ice cream, talk over what’s going on in town and use the internet. Or lie about their golf scores! Recently the course hosted an evening Frisbee golf tournament in addition to the regular Tuesday night scramble. Snacks, soda and wine were shared by all. At dusk every Friday night during summer there is Movie Night outside on the first tee. Future plans include Night Golf and Nachos and the annual Community Scramble which raises funds for the Neskowin Community Association.
Fundraising work will continue throughout the summer. The community has a goal of 1 million dollars to complete the purchase and provide funds for capital expenses.To make a donation or become a member connect with us on our Facebook or Neskowin Beach Golf Course. Although only a few weeks into the new operation, the community is very excited to be able to retain this historic property and continue the legacy for future generations of beach lovers.