Ithaca golf club seeks boutique hotel, condos with “reinvigoration”

ITHACA, NY—It’s no secret that the golf industry has been on the decline in recent decades. Prior to the spike in players during COVID’s “social distancing,” for which the long-term affect on interest is yet to be determined, the number of active golfers in the US had declined 22 percent since the early 2000s, and 200 golf courses, many of them private country clubs, were failing each year.

That same foreboding air lingered around the Country Club of Ithaca. Located at 189 Pleasant Grove Road and straddling the town of Ithaca and village of Cayuga Heights, membership and revenue had shrunk considerably when compared to its high-water mark fifty years ago, and club membership locally had plunged since the 2000s. The town of Ithaca’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan delved extensively into “what-if” scenarios for redevelopment and guidance in the event of closure.

In the past couple of years, however, there has been a renewed sense of optimism. For one, since 2021 the golf club is under new ownership and a new name — local business executive and longtime club member Sean Whittaker purchased the property and renamed it “RaNic Golf Course,” after his children Rachel and Nicholas.

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