John Bracken, Hawks Nest State Park superintendent, says Hawks Nest Golf Course will open for the season on March 23.

The course, owned by Brookfield Renewable Energy and leased by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, has seen uncertain times in recent years, and local officials, legislative representatives and residents have worked with Brookfield and state officials to allow it to remain open despite the fact it loses money.

Ken Caplinger, West Virginia State Parks chief, said recently he was working with Brookfield on a new lease agreement.

“We’re going into it with anticipation of opening all season,” Caplinger said. “It’s a nice little local golf course and, for the people who play there, it’s important.”

Bracken and park officials are still trying to bolster the rolls of those who purchase season passes.

Passes are $325 per year. “We hope to increase our season passes,” Bracken said.

In 2012, a total of 2,928 rounds was played at Hawks Nest, Caplinger said.

In addition to individual rounds of the nine-hole course located near Gauley Bridge, league play and skins games are also staged, Bracken said.

Local golf instructor Chuck Goosman provides free golf lessons, an amenity that has proven popular, Bracken said. “He does a tremendous job,” Bracken said of Goosman.

Locally, Sen. Bill Laird and the Fayette County Commission have been among the chief proponents of the course, Caplinger said.

“We appreciate the commission’s indication of their support of the course in general,” he said. “It helps us in this area of budget cuts.

“And we appreciate Sen. Laird’s interest in the course and his advocacy.”

Fayette County commissioner Matt Wender says the governing body hasn’t made an annual funding commitment but is doing what it can to facilitate keeping Hawks Nest open. The commission and its representatives plan to help with repairs and/or replacement of an old storage building on site, work on the grounds, etc. Dialogue on how to work to improve the situation is ongoing, Wender said. “Everybody is putting forth their best effort.”

Saying the course was in “tremendous shape” last year,  Bracken said, “I encourage everybody to come and play.”

For more information, call 304-632-1361 or 304-658-5212.

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