CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A country club that Jim Justice bought six years ago because sentimental ties is shutting down.
“Actually, it closed yesterday,” said a woman who answered the telephone this afternoon at the Black Knight Country Club in Beckley.
Justice, years before he was governor, added the Black Knight in 2011 to a portfolio of southern West Virginia hospitality holdings, including The Greenbrier and The Resort at Glade Springs. All were bought within 25 months.
Beckley’s Register-Herald newspaper interviewed Governor Justice about the closure of the country club for a story published online today.
“It just breaks your heart, but, at the same time, at some point in time, it will break your wallet, too,” Justice told the newspaper, “because you’re losing hundreds of thousands dollars a year, and you just can’t make it get better.”
Members of Black Knight Country Club this week received an emailed explanation of the closure.
The note from manager Byrd White III said, “It is with great regret that we announce the closing of Black Knight Country Club, effective immediately.”
Members who prepaid for dues were offered a six-month membership at Glade Springs.
Black Knight was already struggling financially when Justice Companies bought it in June, 2016.
The $1 million purchase included the clubhouse and restaurant, pool, tennis courts, 9-hole golf course and about 60 acres of land.
At the time, Justice told The Register-Herald that his family had enjoyed five decades of experiences at the country club.
“I feel like Black Knight was a second home. I grew up there,” Justice told then-executive editor Butch Antolini, who is now his communications director in the Governor’s Office.
“You know, I learned to play golf there, Cathy and I got married at First Baptist Church in Beckley and had our wedding reception there, (my kids) Jill and Jay took all kinds of tennis lessons there.”
Even then, Justice was aware of existing financial problems that would continue to be a challenge.
“I don’t want to promise that I have a silver bullet that’s going to solve all the problems there, or that I’m going to pull 15 rabbits out of my hat, but I’m going to do everything I can to make it go,” Justice said then.
“Membership has decreased, and the well had really dried up as far as what they could do to maintain the place and pay the people,” Justice said at the time.
But he said he would try his best.
“So Black Knight now has an owner that has the place in his heart in that regard, an owner that truly will give it his all to make good things happen there again.”