This Illinois golf course was closed for four years, but is slated to re-open this summer

This Illinois golf course was closed for four years, but is slated to re-open this summer

WINNEBAGO, Ill. — The former Westlake Village Golf Course is set to reopen this summer under a new name with new owners.

Brothers Steve and Scott Leathers purchased the 18-hole course on March 30 with plans of returning it to its former glory and renaming it the Lynx Golf Course at Westlake Village. The course is in a small town that sits between Rockford and Freeport, Illinois, about 90 miles west of downtown Chicago.

“The target is for golf to open on August 1,” Steve Leathers said.

“The greens have to be redone. That’s really the only thing that holds you back from golfing. The greens are being refurbished and reseeded.”

The course closed four years ago after losing $135,000 a year for six years, Midwest Irrigation and Swan Hills Golf, LLC., owner Peter Beaves told the Register Star in 2018. Since then, the 131-acre site has been converted to an agricultural property for the production of hay.

The course was designed in 1999 by David Esler, who also designed Black Sheep Golf Club outside Chicago, which is No. 8 in Illinois on Golfweek’s Best 2021 private golf courses in every state.

The brothers purchased Westlake Village for $550,000 and plan to invest a “significant” amount of money over the next five years. In return, they are asking for a 10-year tiered tax abatement from Winnebago County.


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In year one, the tax abatement rate would be 100% but by year 10, the rate would decrease to 25%.

There are 172 lots that abut the golf course, based on 2021 aerial photos, 34 of them are vacant lots.

The number of vacant lots will soon decrease by one as Leathers said as he is in the process of purchasing one. He is hopeful that once the golf course reopens it will continue to drive more residential development.

The clubhouse, featuring a new 25-by-67-foot deck out back, should reopen as early as June 1, Leathers said.

“So there will be outdoor seating for people to enjoy the weather,” he said. “The target is to have some music and bands out here down the road.”

Leathers said he plans to hire eight full-time and seven part-time employees.

Leathers also plans to work with the Pecatonica and Winnebago school districts to make Lynx their practice and home competition course, similar to the former golf course before it shut down.

The request for a tax abatement request was approved 6-0 by the county’s Economic Development Committee and is expected to go before the Winnebago County Board for a vote Thursday night.

Chris Green: 815-987-1241,; @chrisfgreen

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