BELOIT - The Hyde-A-Way Golf Club and the Minamyer family have been connected since 1977.
That is why it was so tough for the family to announce it is closing the course, a nine-hole layout that has been a fixture at the corner of Routes 14 and 534 north of Salem for six decades.
"We made a run at trying to maintain the course and trying to improve it," family spokesman Tyler Minamyer said. "We looked at last year as a trial to see if we could make it. We weren't looking to make money, but we couldn't lose it."
Had the family not been so attached to the course, he said they would have closed it before now.
"It was emotional to begin with, but we probably should have made the decision last year," Tyler said. "Everyone out there did their best. It wasn't for a lack of effort."
For the Minamyers, Hyde-A-Way was part the family.
"A lot of people came through there and a lot of friends," said Tyler, a 1993 graduate of Salem High School who played on the Quakers' golf team. "I've spent my entire life there. This was tough."
After helping out at Hyde-A-Way for years, Tyler has made golf his career. He is regional manager for International Golf Maintenance, a third-party contractor that does work around the country.
"We've been trying to make our rounds, calling our regulars. The vendors have been notified," Tyler said. "We didn't want anyone offended if they didn't hear it directly from us. They understood."
The family sent out a letter Thursday thanking their customers - many who became their friends.
"For us, it is a place that we grew up, raised our kids, made memories, learned life lessons and, of course, made lifelong friends," the letter said. "In that time, all of the people whom we shared and created memories with have truly became part of our family."
A "special thank you" was for Jane Smith and Ed Sobotka, who ran the course in recent years.
The course was founded in 1953 as Robin's Knoll. It was sold to a man named Hyde, where the name came from. Tyler's great-grandfather and grandfather, both named Jim Minamyer, bought the course in 1977. It has been operated mostly by family members since then.
"Our intent was to try to keep it in the family," Tyler said. "We're not sure what the future will hold."
He said there has been talk about making it a driving range or a banquet center, but there are no concrete plans. A best-case scenario would be would be reopening the golf course down the road.
"Emotionally, we want to say yes," Minamyer said. "If we looked at it totally logically, we would run away from it."