The Pine Bluff Arsenal has announced the permanent closing of the Pine Haven Golf Course on Monday, May 30.

The Pine Bluff Arsenal has announced the permanent closing of the Pine Haven Golf Course on Monday, May 30.

A press release attributed the decision to a steady decline in memberships and daily play.

The U.S. Army facility’s Division Chief of Recreation Services Carl Easterling said the decline began with the base’s safe completion of storage, transport and disposal project — otherwise known as demilitarization — of the Pine Bluff Arsenal’s chemical agent stockpile in 2010.

Easterling said membership at the golf course peaked at more than 100 members in 2010 and is now down to 15 members.

"A lot of our customer base was based on ‘d-mil’ employees," Easterling said. "When that closed down and it moved, a lot of our members went with it. That was the bulk of our people."

Easterling said military golf courses are "self sustained" and don’t get money to operate. She said revenue to operate the courses comes from membership fees.

"If the customers don’t come in, we can’t maintain keeping it open," she said.

Easterling said her division received word from headquarters to close the course two weeks ago. She called it "a difficult decision to close the program" since the course had been rated the Army’s No. 1 course for small installations in the past.

"The golf course actually was started back in the ’60s. It was renovated back in the ’70s. Since then everyone has been very supportive of it," she said. "It’s just unfortunate to get to this point.

"Once you get down below a certain amount of daily play, the decision comes down from our headquarters that you either have to prosper or you have to shut down."

The Arsenal’s Public Affairs Specialist Rachel Selby said golf memberships at Army facilities is down in general. She thanked the course’s members for their support over the years.

Selby said current membership mostly comes from retirees and the general public still in the area. She said the remaining members will get a prorated rebate of their current membership. No new memberships will be sold, Selby said.

According to the news release, all equipment at the golf course will be auctioned off in coming months. Easterling said the grounds will go back to regular upkeep for the base.

"The area of the golf course will be maintained by the installation," she said. "It will go to its natural grounds state, so it won’t be mowed as a golf course is mowed. All of the equipment we have on the golf course will be sold, and there will be a release that’s sent out and people can put in bids. It will be a still bid, and it will probably come within the next three months when we start selling off the golf course equipment."

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A correction has been issued regarding this article: In the Wednesday edition of The Commercial, the article "Arsenal’s Pine Haven Golf Course to close May 30" incorrectly spelled the name of the arsenal’s division chief of recreation services, Carla Easterling. Also, the article stated that the golf equipment would be sold in "still" bids. It should have read "sealed" bids. Finally, all of the quotes in the article should have been attributed to Easterling.