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Wild Oak changes plans to have golf course partially open in 2024

Jan. 19—MITCHELL — The ownership of Wild Oak Golf Course on Friday changed its tune and says it intends to keep a portion of the course open in 2024.

A statement from the course's management said Wild Oak will have the front nine open for the upcoming golf season. Earlier in the week, Dave Backlund Jr., a co-owner and clubhouse manager at Wild Oak,

told the Mitchell Republic of its decision to close the golf course

.

In the statement, Wild Oak said it believes the community needs two golf courses for the golfing community in Mitchell, to support fundraising tournaments and outings and to "prevent one golf course from being completely overrun because it is the only golf option in the city."

"Because of these reasons, we will be opening the front nine of Wild Oak Golf Course for the 2024 season," the statement said. "We are currently in the process of looking for a potential buyer to take over the operations of the golf course for the 2025 golf season.

In an interview Friday, Dave Backlund Jr. said a number of factors, including weather, irrigation systems and maintenance, will dictate whether the course is able to be opened fully in 2024. Backlund Jr. reiterated that the goal is to sell the course but declined to speak further on the plans.

The statement apologized for "all the confusion, rumors, and misleading information about the future of Wild Oak Golf Course over the last number of days/weeks."

A letter from the Wild Oak Homeowners Association indicated that Wild Oak ownership planned to close the course because ownership "agreed they cannot continue to operate the course while losing money on a continuing basis." HOA leadership said they were concerned about the course closing because it runs through the neighborhood and likely would hurt property values.

Wild Oak, located on the east side of Mitchell, is one of two courses in the city, along with the municipally owned Lakeview Golf Course on the north end of Mitchell. The course expanded from nine holes to 18 in 2004, adding the housing development and front nine of the course.

Wild Oak has served as Mitchell's lone privately owned golf course for about a century, previously known as the Mitchell Country Club. Through the years, ownership has changed hands and improvements have been made to the course measures at 6,900 yards along Firesteel Creek. The course also includes a driving range, putting green, pro shop, clubhouse bar and a swimming pool.