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Avalon Holdings Buys New Castle Golf Club

NESHANNOCK TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A new banquet hall and swimming pool, along with general improvements to the property, are among the upgrades planned for the former New Castle Golf Club under its new owner, Avalon Holdings Corp.

Avalon Holdings purchased the country club, which opened in 1923 as the New Castle Field Club, about two weeks ago by assuming its approximately $800,000 debt, Avalon CEO Ron Klingle said Tuesday. It has since been rebranded as the Avalon Field Club at New Castle, a nod to its original name Klingle said. 

Avalon Holdings is based in Howland Township, Ohio. It operates the Avalon Inn and Resort and the Avalon Golf & Country Club there, as well as Squaw Creek Country Club in Vienna, the Avalon Athletic Club in Boardman – purchased last year for $1.5 million – and the Avalon at Buhl Park in Hermitage, Pa.

Members of the New Castle club had expressed interest in Avalon Holdings taking over the club, Klingle said. Not quite a year ago, representatives of the two organizations met and Avalon personnel subsequently visited the club and played the course.

“We were very impressed with what we saw. The golf course is absolutely spectacular,” Klingle said. 

Over the course of the next 12 months, Avalon plans to make a series of long-term improvements, including the addition of a banquet hall with a capacity of 350 people, expanded parking, replacing the swimming pool and making general upgrades to the clubhouse.

“Everything is about 100 years old. It needs some tender care,” Klingle said. Avalon is in the process of hiring more staff which had kept employment low to reduce costs.

The membership fee has been adjusted to align with Avalon’s pricing: $1,400 annually for a family membership, which provides access to all of the the company’s properties, Klingle said.

“New Castle was always a very expensive club to belong to,” Klingle said. The Avalon fee structure will cut its members’ dues in half, he said.

In addition to its golf courses, Avalon has indoor and outdoor pools, more than 20 tennis courts and several swimming pools including the indoor 25-meter Olympic pool at the Howland resort. 

-The rectangular pool at New Castle will be replaced with a tiered, freeform pool with water features, Klingle said.

While New Castle has been “one of the best golf clubs around,” the club “never had much of a social membership,” he said. 

One of the secrets to Avalon’s success has been to positioning the facilities it purchases to serve the entire family as well as to make them more affordable, he said.   

Alex McCoy, CEO of the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Janet Falotico, executive director of county tourism agency Visit Lawrence County, are enthusiastic about the country club’s new ownership.

Klingle has outlined “some pretty exciting plans” for the club, McCoy said. 

“The New Castle County Club truly was one of the gems of our community,” he said. “It’s been a great community asset for years and we think Avalon has a lot more resources to bring to help it shine again like it deserves to.”

The new banquet hall will help attract conventions to the area, Falotico added. The county is has limited banquet space and needs “a nice venue” to host bigger events.

“You can’t make progress if you stay the same,” she said. “We have to take chances sometimes and I believe Avalon taking a chance could benefit us greatly.”

Related Coverage
March 26, 2019: Avalon to Convert Boardman Tennis Center into Athletic Club

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.