St. Paul’s Hillcrest Golf Club will close this fall and will likely be sold to private developers, club officials said Wednesday.

The 96-year-old private club does not have enough members to financially sustain it, according to Paul Hayne, its managing director.

“Continuing to fund operating losses is untenable for the owner,” Hayne wrote in a letter to club members last week.

The club will close Oct. 31. “People are sad about it,” Hayne said Wednesday. “I’m very disappointed. It’s heartbreaking.”

Hillcrest, on the East Side, opened in 1921 as a municipal course. In 1945, businessmen bought it and converted it into a private club for Jewish members. Membership has been unrestricted since the 1970s.

In 2011, a St. Paul pipefitters union purchased the then-112-acre site for $4.3 million during bankruptcy proceedings.

In recent years, the club had struggled with generating enough members to sustain a private club.

“A significant amount of effort has gone into attracting new members, and while those efforts produced some encouraging results, the club experienced several blocks of departures through these years, starting with 2011 when we first acquired the club,” Hayne wrote in the letter.

He attributed the loss to “rumors or misinformation” that the club was for sale following the union purchase

Richard Magler Jr., business manager of the Steamfitters Pipefitters Local 455, the owners, said they have explored other options and decided earlier this month that selling the property was the best option.

“There’s no money in golf anymore,” Magler said. “We can guarantee it.”


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