PENTAX ImageAmateur golf enthusiast Matt Bentson played the Santa Rita Golf Course nearly a dozen times over the years. However, in September 2011, the course closed, and Corona de Tucson lost its only major recreational attraction.

“The course was fairly challenging without being frustrating,” Matt said. “The scenery around the course was very nice with good elevation changes. It was a good course to play.”

Four years have passed, and the property is still for sale. Gone are the Bermuda grass fairways and bent grass greens. Weeds have overtaken the acreage.

What is the future of this property? Will Corona ever see their golf course return?

I called the listing agent, Tom Starrs of Long Realty, but he didn’t want to discuss anything regarding the property. I also called the property owner David Carlisle, who lives in Marshall, Texas. He never returned my multiple phone calls.

Meanwhile, residents that abut the old course grow frustrated with the lack of attention the property receives.

“We bought our house in 2006 mostly because of the awesome view,” said Callie Griffiths. She moved to Corona de Tucson and very much enjoyed living next to the golf course.

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Like everyone else who lives near the old course, she has seen her property value decrease as a result. “Now the old property is heavily weeded. All the trees are dying and it looks awful.”

The property has two parcels left for sale; Parcel 1 is composed of 11 acres and is listed at $60,000. Parcel 4 is composed of 35 acres and is listed at $125,000.

Since some of the parcels have been sold, it is unlikely there will ever be a golf course that returns on this same property. The old clubhouse is now the Corona Cafe.

Additionally, with all of the dead plants, it would take a major investment to get it back to a playable course condition.

Even though the realtor didn’t want to discuss the property with me, it appears that some listing websites suggest the owner is also trying to sell lots individually. Priced at $6,500 for most of the lots, this would provide opportunities for new housing.

It remains unclear who would fund the cost of the streets, utilities and sidewalks if this area were to be developed.

Meanwhile, as residents keep waiting for development opportunities, the once lush green course continues to slowly transform back into a desert.

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Trent Thomas

Trent enjoys writing about what effects our local community. He has served in the U.S. Army, worked as a business manager and even been an airline pilot. He and his family have lived in Vail since 2007.