Owners of the 47 acres off West Butler Road that Shank’s Golf Range has called home for 12 years have sold the property to a residential developer.
Shank’s owner, Robbie Biershenk, a mainstay in the local golfing scene, said Monday he has heard the property will be developed for residential use — possibly a mix of townhomes and single-family homes. The driving range will likely stay open through the end of summer, he said.
The development will be built and sold under the “Cothran Homes” brand, said Weston Blackwood, manager of the site for the buyer, Cothran Properties. Blackwood added that his company is not ready to discuss the site plan or product type.
“It will be a little while before we mobilize on site,” Blackwood wrote in an email.
Bruce Aughtry of McWillie Properties brokered the $2.1 million land deal, closing it March 26 on behalf of the sellers, Crescent Real Estate Holdings. Crescent Real Estate and the affiliated McCall family have owned the property since the 1980s, according to county records. Alvin McCall, who bought the land in 1989, was founder of the Ryan’s Steak House chain.
“His plans were to sit on it, so he turned it into a driving range,” Biershenk said.
The conversion of Shank’s into a housing development is part of a larger residential boom along West Butler Road and throughout Mauldin, which officials say could add thousands of city residents in the next few years. In addition to residential development planned at the 47-acre Shank’s site, a developer has purchased 140 acres off West Butler near Conestee Park and plans to request annexation into the city of Mauldin.
If all the proposals on Mauldin Community Development Director Van Broad’s desk become reality, it could mean a boost to the city’s population by 20 to 25 percent, from 25,000 residents to nearly 30,000 in coming years.
Biershenk said his was the third range to operate on the site, and he operated on a month-to-month lease for 12 years. A prominent “for sale” sign has been posted for years, and Biershenk said he got word last fall that a sale was imminent.
“I don’t blame them,” Biershenk said. “They didn’t want to tie themselves into a long-term deal for me.”
Biershenk said he opened a second Shank’s location on Anderson Road in Powdersville a couple years ago and hopes that at least a quarter of his Mauldin customers will follow him with their business there.
“When I tell people (about the sale) they are like, ‘What?'” Biershenk said. “I say, you can still support me. I’m right around the corner.”
The Mauldin property, about half of which is still wooded, is close to area parks and services. From its frontage on West Butler Road (known from the Greenville side as Mauldin Road), it backs up to Laurel Creek and is less than a mile, across West Butler, from the Reedy River and Conestee Park. The property is also located about a mile in the other direction from Mauldin City Hall and the Mauldin Cultural Center, at the heart of where city officials are trying to develop a walkable, mixed-use downtown.
“Potentially there’s a pretty good chance we will have an affiliation with the Swamp Rabbit trail back behind us,” Aughtry said.
Still, Shank’s Golf Range will be missed.
“I went by yesterday, and they were all hitting balls out there,” Aughtry said.
Shank’s has developed into a local institution over the past decade, given a boost by the multiple Golf Channel appearances of its gregarious namesake, Biershenk, who was on “Big Break” and “Chasing the Dream.”
“None of that would have happened if it weren’t for this place here, period,” Biershenk said. “This is my life. It will be a sad day when we close.”
Starting tonight, Biershenk and his big brother, Tommy, will appear on Golf Channel’s “Shotmakers,” a precision golfing competition that was filmed at Topgolf Las Vegas and premieres at 9 p.m. Nine co-ed teams are competing. Tommy is a former PGA pro golfer and director of golf operations at Legacy Pines Golf Club; Biershenk has golfed mini tours and won several long-drive competitions.
Monday afternoon, Biershenk said he was preparing to drive up to Topgolf in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the premiere of “Shotmakers.”
The 37-year-old Greenville County native has operated the driving range in Mauldin for 12 years, spending many a night there early in his career to be up early to prepare the greens and swat at balls.
“They said, ‘You’re the true-life ‘Tin Cup’ guy,'” Biershenk said.
Back in those days, he said, his electric blanket cost more than his couch. He stayed open from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.
“I was the happiest man in Mauldin,” Biershenk said.(Photo: BART BOATWRIGHT/Staff)