After 34 years, Hamilton Golf Course in Vanderburgh County will close to the public. The Hamilton family, which operated the facility since its creation, opted out of the last year of its contract with the county, effectively shutting down the wide open course which has been a favorite of golfers of all ages and skill levels, especially beginners. Bob Hamilton, winner of the 1944 PGA Championship, created the golf complex by leasing property from the county and turning it into the 36 hole course. Since its inception, its been a training ground where countless young golfers have learned the game. The lease the Hamilton family had with the county was scheduled to expire in 2009, but Bob Hamiltons son Jim opted to shut things down this February. The lack of a new lease gave him little option to stay open, according to friends, who say the cost of upgrading and maintaining the course could not be earned back over the term of a short lease. Those who golf at Hamilton are looking for a way to keep the course open, and Tuesday, gathered in mass at the County Commissioners meeting. The showing convinced Commissioners that there is cause for investigating new options for the course, and Commissioner Jeff Korb promised those in attendance that the county will work to preserve the delicate greens at Hamilton. If those are allowed to die, it will be extremely expensive to try to revive them. What happens next is a big question mark. Commissioners are planning a public forum on the future of Hamilton that is expected to happen in February. They alluded to the fact that it would be too expensive for the county to take on operation of the course, but said they are interested in looking for a new operator to take over. Hamilton fans say they are encouraged by the support theyre receiving from the Commission, and say there is reason for renewed optimism about the course.