Willowdale gets offer from local investors

Group plans to sell off main clubhouse, pool

November 19, 2010 at 9:01 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Willowdale Country Club has received an offer from a group of local investors who live in the area to buy the assets of the club for approximately $660,000. The exact amount would be based on the amount owed to the bank by the club at the closing.

The offer was made at a meeting of club stockholders on Nov. 10. Acceptance of it will be considered at another meeting scheduled for Dec. 8. Other local investors have been invited to join the group.

The club actually ceased operation on Nov. 10 after regular dues-paying membership dropped to 118. Workers have been retained to keep up the grounds.

The investors have plans to sell off the main clubhouse, swimming pool and other facilities to a buyer interested in operating them for sports and social activities. The golf course itself would be retained and operated by the investors as a golf club for at least five years provided it receives enough financial support from the community in terms of memberships and outside play. Intentions are to improve the current maintenance building and make it a smaller club house with a grill and sandwich shop style restaurant, a 19th hole bar, cost effective golf shop and clean modern restroom facilities.

The would-be investors also state they intend to hire a highly skilled golf course superintendent who will exercise their plan to bring a new level of excellence to the golf course. Top priority of the group will be to restore and maintain the putting greens, which have seriously deteriorated recently due to adverse weather and other conditions.

The investors also plan to beautify the course with flowers, shrubs and trees, and trim and remove trees and stumps that impede playing golf. They would restore and improve the irrigation system - leveling the fairways where necessary - and improve and maintain sand traps, tees and roughs. They also foresee procuring necessary golf course maintenance equipment and golf carts, maintaining ponds in an attractive condition and refurbishing and maintaining course bathrooms.
The Willowdale golf course was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina and other storms in recent years but made somewhat of a comeback when customers of closed golf clubs in New Orleans made use of it.

The investors hope that Willowdale stockholders will accept their offer at the Dec. 8 meeting and an act of sale can be completed by Jan. 15. If so, their future plans are as follows:

•February - Hire greens superintendent, list clubhouse and pool for sale, start executing detailed project plan, begin hiring grounds personnel and begin remodeling the old 19th hole.

•March - Purchase equipment for golf course, hire marketing firm and begin a membership drive.

•April - Work to refurbish greens with help from the warming sun, begin installation of new plants, shrubbery and flowers, and finish remodeling the new clubhouse area.

•May - Hire office/golf shop personnel, continue membership drive, install new signs and get golf carts.

•June 1 - Have the grand opening.

View other articles written Allen Lottinger

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