At Woodcrest golf club, packing up

Packing up their golf gear at the Woodcrest Country Club were Jerry and Debra Janove and son Josh. An auction is said to be imminent.
Packing up their golf gear at the Woodcrest Country Club were Jerry and Debra Janove and son Josh. An auction is said to be imminent. (ANDREW SEIDMAN / Staff)
Posted: March 11, 2013

Debra Janove held her bridal shower at the Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill. She also celebrated birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and every other holiday you can think of there. Her husband, Jerry, has belonged since 1979, and he proudly recalls that he first broke 90 there.

But when the Janoves arrived at the club about noon Saturday, they weren't getting ready to tee off, eat lunch, or celebrate anything. They were retrieving their clubs from the clubhouse, perhaps for good.

On Friday, a trustee at the traditionally Jewish golf club told members that the bankrupt facility would close due to a lack of money and that an auction of the property was imminent.

The club, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, said Friday that members could come Saturday and this Friday to pick up personal property.

Under current zoning, the land could remain in use as a country club or be used as a medical or educational campus, according to SSG Capital Advisors of West Conshohocken, which is set to conduct the auction.

The Janoves, of Cherry Hill, are not immediately looking for another club to join. "We're going to wait and see what happens here," Debra Janove, 46, said. "It would break my heart if it became anything but a golf club."

Only one firm, Crestwood, whose principals control a bank that is a creditor of the 155-acre club, has made an offer to buy it.

Richard L. Friedman, 66, a lawyer in Camden who joined the club with his wife in 1985, is already searching for another club. "Closing is extremely devastating to people such as myself," said Friedman, a former golf chairman at Woodcrest.

He added that he based his "social life and sporting life around this place."

The par-71 course opened in 1929 and became private in 1948, when many other clubs did not take Jewish members.

"Not many country clubs welcome Jews," said Stuart Lukov, a member for 10 years. Though he said clubs were not as restrictive as they used to be, "you want to go somewhere where you're comfortable."

Others struck a more optimistic note. "Maybe Jaworski could come in and turn this into" a pay-daily that would also have members, said Arnold Staloff, 68, referring to Ron Jaworski, the former Eagles quarterback who owns several New Jersey courses.

Word of the coming sale spread quickly. Harry Silvers, 68, did not belong to Woodcrest, but he arrived there early Saturday with a camera. Silvers, who grew up across the street, wanted to snap pictures - "before it disappears," he said.

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