Brewery buys golf course in North Carolina

A beer shack will sit next to the driving range
  • Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden

Ironclad Brewery, a microbrewery based in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, has a new plan to expand its brand — golf.

The brewery and restaurant, which features such hits as Shipwrecked Tripel and Old Baldy Golden Ale, acquired Belvedere Country Club in Hampstead, N.C., in June. The golf course had closed in March after a prior sale had fallen through in the winter. 

The new owners will rename the 1970 course as Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden. A beer shack will sit next to the driving range offering craft been and playing music. 

“We’re a brewery that owns a golf course,” Brandon Noel, a part-owner, told the Port City Daily. “So we’re billing it as ‘fun golf.’ One of the reasons we’re changing the name. We’re not going to be a country club. We don’t do bougie; we do fun. Fun golf, great beer. Keep a scorecard, don’t keep one — it’s up to you. The point is to have fun.”

Noel said they will add a new beer garden, restaurant and taproom with beer from their brewery. He expects to open the driving range and bee shack on a full-time basis around Labor Day, and to open the beer garden and first nine holes by October. A restaurant is slated for the spring and the back nine holes by the summer of 2021. 

The brewery owners were encouraged to buy the course after noticing widespread support from residents living along the fairways to preserve the golf course. The superintendent, Dave Bullard, kept cutting the grass after the course closed and some neighbors followed suit with their own mowers.

“He’d just come out here and cut the grass, all on his own. He didn’t want to see it go downhill … The neighbors then formed a little network: One homeowner said, ‘I’ll cut from the fourth fairway to the fourth hole, if you cut from the fourth hole to the fifth fairway.’ And they all kind of divvied it up among themselves,” Noel said.

Noel hopes to bring Ironclad’s event venue services to the course, renting out the beer garden and the clubhouse for small events. Eventually, they hope to use the space for larger events like weddings and corporate events.

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