Ironclad Brewery buys Hampstead golf course, adds beer garden

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — With all the development and growth in the Cape Fear region, some communities are worried about losing their green space. Belvedere Country Club in Hampstead shut down earlier this year and was recently bought, but the green space is here to stay.

The property is getting a face lift and a new spin. Ironclad Brewery, based in downtown Wilmington, purchased the country club in June.

“We haven’t seen too many, or any, breweries that actually own golf courses,” Ironclad Brewery Co-owner Brandon Noel said.

The new property will soon become “Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden.”

“There was a lot of anxiety within the neighborhood and the community about what was going to happen with the course,” Noel said. “Of course, the big fear was it’s going to turn into a neighborhood.”

Noel says they wanted to expand Ironclad while keeping the green space of the existing country club. He calls the new project “fun golf.”

Neighbors in the Belvedere community say they watched the golf course become overgrown, and worried it would be eaten up by development.

“Looking out into the backyard and seeing a course shut down on March 10th, you begin to get concerned,” neighbor Greg Katzman said. “It’s not lost on me that Echo Farms and then locally, Topsail Greens shut down.”

Noel says the golf course and driving range will stay, and they’ll be adding a new beer garden, restaurant and taproom with beer from their brewery in downtown Wilmington.

“We have to undo a lot of years of slow decline to the property,” Noel said.

For the past few months, neighbors say they had been trying to maintain and save the course themselves.

“It’s nice to look out your back window and see not local citizens mowing the golf course,” Katzman said.

Noel says they’ll be opening in phases, starting with a part-time opening of the driving range next week.

“Then on a full-time basis maybe as soon as Labor Day,” Noel said. “Then the beer garden by October and the first nine holes by October-ish.”

He says they hope to open the restaurant in the spring, and the back nine holes by the summer of 2021. They held their first cookout Friday night with the participation of several food trucks in the community.

Neighbors says they’re excited to see the course stay.

“Already, you’ve seen this course rebound, with not getting attention for the first part of the year to now really starting to thrive,” Katzman said.

Noel says they hope to hold outdoor food truck gatherings every weekend through Labor Day, when they hope to open up the driving range full-time. He also says there will eventually be year-long passes for the course available, but not required.

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