Stephanie Winship aims for the green in a round of golf at Island Greens Monday. The course is set to close Aug. 23. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Stephanie Winship aims for the green in a round of golf at Island Greens Monday. The course is set to close Aug. 23. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Island Greens sold, likely to close

Although tucked away in the backwoods of Clinton, Island Greens is not a hidden gem.

The jewel is well known by local players and served as the launching pad for many Whidbey golfers.

Now, the par-three course will most likely host its final round Sunday, Aug. 23.

Island Greens was sold Aug. 14 and it appears that its days as a golf course are over.

Former course superintendent Michael Zuercher and current superintendent Jerry Elliott said they don’t know for certain, but they believe the new owners, who are from out of state, plan to build a home on the site and close the course to the public.

Current owner Lucy Vanderwende is on vacation, according to Zuercher, and was unavailable for comment as of press time.

Vanderwende and Arul Menezes purchased the property from its original owners, Dave and Karen Anderson, in 2011.

The Andersons built the course in 1989, according to Elliott.

Zuercher said Vanderwende sold the course because she “wanted to simply her life a little bit.”

Elliott, who has helped at the course for about a year and held the superintendent position for the past three months, said the course is open year round and hosts about 30 golfers a day – and four times that when the weather is nice.

After playing a round Monday, Robert and Nancy Boyle said they have been playing the course since it opened.

“It’s a sad day; I think I might cry,” Nancy Boyle said.

They said their son Travis, now in his 30s, played his first round of golf on the course when he was 4.

They estimated they played thousands of rounds over the years.

“By my count, I lost 14,720 balls,” Robert said with a laugh.

“The course is so typical Whidbey,” Nancy Boyle said. “It’s beautiful, especially when the rhododendrons are in bloom; no one is in a rush; and you don’t need a tee time. No one is going to yell at you to hurry up.”

Robert Boyle noted that the green fees have barely gone up over the past 30 years.

For Andrew Winship, it was a tradition the past 20 years to play Island Greens when he came from Michigan to visit his grandfather on South Whidbey each summer.

“It’s a nice, challenging course,” he said.

His wife, Stephanie, who has joined him at Island Greens the past few years, said, “I hope they can keep the course open to the public.”

Paul Shapiro said, “There is nothing like this. It is such a great resource on the island and a great place for kids to learn how to play.”

His son, Lucas, now 27, started his golf game at Island Greens when he was 5.

Anderson, who was the first to play a round on the course when it opened, fittingly will be the last. The final tee time for the public is 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, then Anderson, Elliott and Zuercher will play the final round beginning at 7:30. Elliott, the newbie, will tee off first, followed by Zuercher and then Anderson, according to Zuercher.

Stephanie Winship hits an approach shot at the Island Greens, which will close Sunday.(Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Stephanie Winship hits an approach shot at the Island Greens, which will close Sunday. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Players at the Island Greens golf course pay by the honor system. Here a customer places his payment in a drop box Monday. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Players at the Island Greens golf course pay by the honor system. Here a customer places his payment in a drop box Monday. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Andrew Winship tees off at Island Greens this week. The South Whidbey course will close next Sunday.(Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Andrew Winship tees off at Island Greens this week. The South Whidbey course will close next Sunday. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

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