The Meadowbrook Golf Course has applied to Alachua County for a permit application to build a two-story driving range on the property off of NW 98th Street, and the county’s Planning Commission Meeting will take up the issue at Wednesday’s meeting.
The new driving range facility would feature 26 bays with food and drink service at just under 19,000 square feet. The owner would demolish the cart storage space to make room and use the current clubhouse for storage instead.
The range would feature internally-illuminated targets with a length of 245 yards and 50-foot netting. The building would also sit on a higher area of the golf course.
The golf course itself has been closed since July 2021 after Hurricane Elsa drenched the course and caused severe flooding.
“In fact, 5 times in the 6 years that I have owned and operated the business the course has been flooded out a minimum of 14 days each time,” Christopher Marcum, Meadowbrook’s owner, said in a Facebook post. “I think most would agree that 5 times in 6 years is a pattern and not just an aberration.”
In the post, Marcum described the new project. He said the range would not feature floodlights that disturbed neighbors or live music. Alachua County’s staff report shows that external lighting will be prohibited, and Marcum said the facility will use glow-in-the-dark golf balls.
The new facility will combine elements currently spread across the golf course, Marcum said, from the driving range and pro shop to refreshments and private rental space.
“This new facility would allow the golf course to reopen and the property to be maintained again,” Marcum said. “Without the ability to have more efficient, upgraded facilities the golf course isn’t financially sustainable.”
But some neighbors are objecting.
Richard Tarbox lives in the Meadowbrook community. He and his wife were part of a group that owned the property before the homes were even built and said some residents have concerns.
He sees the new driving range as bringing in a lot more traffic and changing the lifestyle of the neighborhood.
In a phone interview, Tarbox said the golf course currently shares a 92-space parking lot with the community’s clubhouse. If the driving range and golf course fill up the lot, residents might have a tough time accessing the location.
He also wonders what will happen if the facility fails, leaving a two-story open-bay building without another use.
The Meadowbrook community met with the owner in February, and Tarbox said the community’s president will speak at Wednesday’s 6 p.m. meeting to present some of the concerns.
If the owner can address those concerns, Tarbox said the relationship could be amicable.
“It’s not something that we would choose, and it will be a drastic change to the lifestyle of Meadowbrook,” Tarbox said. “But under those conditions, I think, probably, we can coexist.”