They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and we printed one recently that spoke volumes.

Two weeks ago we printed a photo of the Terry L. Gilliam Memorial Grant Committee as it presented a $10,000 check to Huntsville Schools for different athletic programs. The committee alternates each year between supporting athletic and academic programs at the school district.

Money for the memorial program comes from the annual golf tournament in Gilliam’s name. The Huntsville scholar/athlete died during the Vietnam War.

The committee has given about $126,000 over 12 years to the school district. The golf tournament has been held the past 31 years at the Oakridge Golf Course.

The information with the photo reminded me that the future of the Gilliam tournament and others are in jeopardy.

We’ve covered in the past that Oakridge Golf Course is looking for new owners. Current owners Michelle Thomas and Lori Taylor are trying to raise families, their husbands work full-time jobs, and the demands to keep up the golf course have become too much. The sisters reluctantly put the golf course up for sale last year.

“We’ve had inquiries, but still no offers,” Thomas said earlier this week.

If the golf course shuts down, the Gilliam tournament and others, along with Huntsville High School’s golf program, could cease to exist. That would be a huge, huge loss for many people, not just golfers.

Oakridge was built in 1984 by Chub and Gwen Elwell. They and their children, Mike and Sandy, are deceased. In the 1990s, the late Wes Fowler took over operations at the course. Fowler served as Madison County clerk and judge throughout the 1990s.

Thomas and Taylor are Fowler’s daughters.

In addition to the Gilliam tournament, special events held at the course have included the Shelby Rae Dotson, the Bo Duncan Memorial, the Harry Shinn, the Wes Fowler and the Huntsville Booster Club tournaments.

That means thousands of dollars that go to scholarships and grants each year could come to an end if the course is shut down.

When the Huntsville golf teams host those from out of town, the visitors spend money on gasoline, food and more. The golf course is a gem that may be on its last swing.

Last December the owners announced that the course was available as a land deal. Thomas back then said, “It pains me to say it.”

Anyone wanting to purchase the course for a land-deal would have restrictions, she said, including “no trailer homes or tiny homes” if the land is bought for development.

The asking price is $350,000, which includes the 9-hole golf course that covers about 66 acres of land, the clubhouse, pavilion, golf carts and other equipment.

“The plan is next spring, when it comes time the grass needs to be mowed and pumps need to be hooked up, if we haven’t sold it, we will close then,” Thomas said last year. “Next spring” is in the next couple of months. Right now golfers can still enjoy the course, Thomas said.

“While we don’t have anyone running the pro shop full time, my mom and I just work together to take care of customers,” she said this week.

“Our numbers are on the door telling golfers to call and we’ll be right over to take care of them if they wish to golf. Also, people will contact me through Facebook messenger to set up a tee time and I’ll meet them there. Fortunately we live close enough to be there quickly and keep and eye on things.”

Barry Tice grew up with Terry Gilliam and is a member of the committee that gives out the annual grants. The committee also gives a $4,000 scholarship to a senior boy at Huntsville.

Tice said “it’s kind of a wait and see deal” regarding the future of the Gilliam tournament. “I don’t really think it’s economically feasible to go somewhere else.” Tice added, “The city’s the one that really needs to buy it. I know it could fit in real well with the city, but they just don’t seem interested. I don’t understand.”

Huntsville Mayor Darrell Trahan said, “As much as the city would love to see the golf course stay open we also realize that the cost of purchasing the golf curse and then the ongoing maintenance and operation would overwhelm our budget.”