BY JEFF FALK
The legacy of Monroe Valley Golf Course is secure. In fact, there was a time when the par-72, 7,015-yard layout, located north of Lickdale, kept the Lebanon County Amateur Golf Championship alive.
Recently, Monroe Valley, home to more County Amateurs than any other Lebanon County course, closed its doors. Monroe Valley’s last day of operation was July 31.
The course was closed due to a decline in play, caused by a waning interest in the sport locally and difficulties maintaining the course because of dry conditions. What will become of the 180-acre property in the future is unknown.
“The golf course has not been economically viable for many years,” said management of Monroe Valley Golf Course in a press release.
The Swatara Township facility was built in 1968 by golf course architect Ed Ault. Before the construction of Royal Oaks and Iron Valley golf courses, Monroe Valley was recognized as one of the most challenging tests of golf in Lebanon County – mainly because of its length – second only to the Lebanon Country Club.
Monroe Valley Golf Course hosted the Lebanon County Amateur during a period of time when other county courses declined to take on the local championship.
At the height of its popularity, Monroe Valley hosted 45,000 rounds of goal annually, but recently that number dropped to around 10,000 rounds a year, according to the press release.
At one time, Lebanon County was home to as many as ten golf courses. But the popularity of the sport locally has been on the decline over the past decade.
While the future of the land is unclear, some potential uses include farming and developing it for housing. At this point, it would seem the course ever opening again as a golf facility is a long shot.