Andover Golf and Country Club, situated along Todds Road in Lexington, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Established in 1989, the club includes an 18-hole golf course that winds its way through the various Andover neighborhoods. Its voluntary Chapter 11 filing on Friday stated that it has liabilities of $3.88 million and assets of $1.6 million.
"There have been significant declines in membership since July 2008 corresponding with the downturn in the economy," said Tracey Wise, the club's attorney.
Wise said the club intends to continue operating during the financial restructuring and "doesn't anticipate any significant changes in the amenities and services" offered.
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She said the club "might close for a little extended period over the holiday season."
As part of its filing, the club said it had income of $2.51 million during the 12 months before the filing, but it has projected a smaller income.
The filing estimated the average future gross monthly income to be $155,525, or $1.87 million annually. That's a drop of 25.6 percent annually compared to the previous 12 months.
Rick McClure, president of the club, said in a statement that management has "been in active discussions with our secured lender as we work towards an agreement that will bring our capital structure in line with the current economic environment."
The largest secured creditor is Whitaker Bank, with whom the club has a mortgage on its property. Its claim is $3.54 million, although the land is valued at $1.1 million.
"Here you have a property where the value is dependent on folks having discretionary income," Wise said.
Jimmy Nash, who serves on the club's board and is chairman of its membership committee, said the club's membership losses can be linked directly to that lack of discretionary income for many people.
"It's just like a lot of country clubs losing members as a result of the economy itself," he said.
Nash said he doesn't think there will be too much of an effect on membership during the bankruptcy proceedings.
"So long as you have the bank and the club and everybody's on the same page with that interest in maintaining and providing those services, I don't really see much drop in membership," he said.
He and his wife and two young sons have been members for 10 years.
"The swimming pool is an attraction for our family because there aren't many swimming pools on that end of town," he said. "I just feel like there's a lot of value there."
Hal Hofman, who joined the club in July as a way to meet some neighbors, said he doesn't have strong feelings about the bankruptcy.
"Ten years ago, if this was to happen, I think people would be all up in arms," he said. "But in this day and age, people realize a lot of places have to restructure."
Wise said the club hopes to emerge from bankruptcy "well in advance of the spring golf and pool season."
The club's largest unsecured creditor is Harrell's, a Lakeland, Fla., producer of fertilizers for golf courses; it is owed $48,210.06.
The first hearing in the case, which will include a number of routine motions, will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday.