Seawane Club is for Sale

Maintaining the existing Hewlett Harbor facility is the goal

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For the second time in roughly three years, another privately owned Five Towns country club is for sale. The nearly 91-year-old Seawane Country Club, in Hewlett Harbor village, is on the market.

“I’ve been in conversations with the leadership of the club for several months,” said Hewlett Harbor Mayor Mark Weiss. “It’s no secret that they’ve been beset by the same problems other golf clubs have had. They engaged a firm and are dealing with it in a responsible manner, and they’re working with the club to maintain it as a country club.”

After several months of negotiations, the Woodmere Club was sold in 2017. The owners, Efrem Gerszberg, of 2020 Acquisitions, and Robert Weiss, of Weiss Properties, plan to turn the nearly 118-acre property into residential housing.

In the past several years, private golf courses have seen a marked decline in membership, with fewer families joining clubs and more golfers choosing to play at less-expensive public courses. Not exclusively a Five Towns problem, the sport, according to industry experts, is on the wane because of lifestyle changes, with fewer people — and especially men — spending time away from their families.

Mark Weiss, who is not related to Robert, said that Hewlett Harbor officials are keeping a close watch on any possible sale. “Village government and the club’s leadership interests perfectly align that it remain a golf club, and in meetings, that is what I’ve been told,” he said. “They’re exploring various strategies and approaches that would work.” Based on the recreational rate set by Nassau County, the club paid just over $2,800 in taxes to the village in the fiscal year that ended last June, village officials said.

Cushman & Wakefield, the commercial real estate services company headquartered in Chicago that brokered the Woodmere Club transaction, is reportedly involved in the possible sale of the Seawane Club. “Cushman & Wakefield was involved, but I’ve been advised that they are unable to offer any comment at this time,” said Karen Ravensbergen, an assistant vice president of Caryl Communications Inc., the company that handles Cushman & Wakefield’s external communications.

In 1914, John Auerbach, then a prominent lawyer, purchased a majority of the land that became Hewlett Harbor and built a summer residence, according to village records. Thirteen years later, he established the Seawane Club on his estate, and his three-story Victorian home became the clubhouse. Hewlett Harbor was incorporated as a village in 1925.

The club was named for the discovery of the remains of an Algonquin Indian chief when the Auerbach house was being built. The chief was buried with copper beads the Algonquins called sewan. Hewlett Harbor residents purchased the club in 1960, and turned it into an exclusive private, members-owned club.

It has a 6,725-yard 18-hole, par-72 golf course as part of its 120 acres, 10 tennis courts, a swimming pool, a bar, a restaurant, a grill room, men’s and women’s card and locker rooms, health club facilities with trainers and a barbershop. In 2004 it was named the New York Sports Writers Association Golf Club of the Year. The club holds Father’s Day and Labor Day carnivals, July Fourth fireworks, a children’s Halloween party and holiday dinners. It also hosts golf outings, tournaments, weddings, parties and other social events.

“As a [Hewlett Harbor] trustee,” said Tom Cohen, who also serves as president of the Five Towns Kiwanis, “I’m hopeful that the Seawane Club will continue as it has in the past.”

Club officials had not returned a call requesting comment by press time.

Have an opinion about the possible sale of the Seawane Club? Send your letter to the editor to jbessen@liherald.com.