The Herald Bulletin

November 13, 2012

Editorial: Yule's passing is symbolic of tough economic times

— The Yule Golf Course is a source of pride in Alexandria. Set on 158 acres on the city’s south side, it gave rise to a nearby housing addition on its boundaries that made the area resemble a Hamilton County suburb.

Now it looks like Yule, with its manicured fairways and greens, will be turned into farmland. To Alexandria residents, this is a step backward, an acknowledgment of city and county decline in the post-General Motors economy.

Dale Rinker, a Yorktown farmer, purchased the land at an auction for nearly $1 million. The erstwhile owner of the land, Dr. Robert McCurdy, and his son, Brachen McCurdy, saw the writing on the wall some time ago. It was sold because of the economy and the fact that “Alexandria just can’t support a golf course.”

GM workers with their upper-middle class wages kept Yule thriving for many years. There was money and leisure time to host a bevy of golf tournaments during the year. Alexandria-Monroe High School’s boys and girls golf teams considered Yule their home course.

The course was always busy except, of course, during the winter months when no one cared because basketball was king. Now the sport that was similar to a religious experience for many — basketball — is on the decline, as well. All of those GM workers with their season tickets are not around.

Golf is an expensive game. Besides clubs, balls and attire, it costs to play the course and drive a cart. Today’s jobs, with lower pay, longer commutes and varied hours have taken away the ingredients necessary for a successful golf course: money and time.

Brachen McCurdy is right when he blames the economy. Being a businessman, he did what was necessary in dire circumstances — he sold the land to someone who could use it. Rinker, too, is a businessman. He sees the land as fertile for his business. Regardless of any economic concerns, growing corn and soybeans is more of a tradition in Indiana than sports.

Still, none of this sits well with Alexandria residents, much as nothing sat well with Andersonians when it was time to close its basketball shrine — the Wigwam.

Alexandria doesn’t want to lose its golf course, and local realtors don’t want to see housing prices decline in Yule Estates. A committee has come together to try to find a way to maintain the course, much as people came together to try to save the Wigwam. Rinker has to go before the Alexandria Board of Zoning Appeals to request a variance; the golf course is zoned residential. The board could probably make it difficult for Rinker, but it would just be postponing the inevitable.

Truth be told, the demise of Yule Golf Course began decades ago. That it was kept going was a testament to people who kept a eye trained on tradition. Finally, economic reality has taken over.