Local business owner Rollins Cooke bought the 250-acre property, clubhouse, and all of its structures in January for $1.3 million, after the club went into receivership in 2012. Though the golf course is semi-private, the clubhouse, located across the street, remains private due to its zoning, and has undergone extensive renovations.
The Madison (Ohio) Country Club entered its first golf season this summer under new ownership and a mostly renovated clubhouse, the Willoughby (Ohio) News-Herald reported.
The 90-year-old country club’s finances and membership waned in the years leading up to 2012 when it went into receivership, closing the clubhouse and leaving the golf course open for public play, the News-Herald reported.
Rollins Cooke, a Munson Township resident who owns Cooke’s Complete Car Care in Chardon, Ohio, bought the 250-acre property, clubhouse and all of its structures in late January for $1.3 million, the News-Herald reported.
Cooke asked the director of golf operations during the receivership period, Kevin Leymaster, to continue his job under a new semi-private model, the News-Herald reported.
The model offers play rates to the general public at varying prices between $29 and $45 per person depending on day of the week and time. Leymaster said the country club’s newly purchased 2013 E-Z-GO golf carts also are available to the general public and the country club offers discounted, flat-rate prices of $25 to seniors 55 and older, the News-Herald reported.
In addition, the club reserves 150 membership slots. Leymaster said 93 of those slots have been filled with a total of 135 country club members, the News-Herald reported.
“It has a great tradition and is one of the best courses in Northeast Ohio,” Leymaster said. “We’ve been working nonstop to return this place to what it should be.”
Leymaster said the club wouldn’t be the same without memberships, but needed to morph into a semi-private club because of a slow economic recovery and growing competition of entertainment venues, the News-Herald reported.
However, the clubhouse across the street remains private for the most part. That’s partly because it is zoned in Madison Township to be exclusively used as a private entity, said Laura Cooke, the manager of operations.
All golf members have access to the clubhouse and its catering services for meetings and ceremonies. However, the clubhouse also has a variety of memberships for people who aren’t interested in golfing, the News-Herald reported.
“The members that are golfers will help generate members for us at the clubhouse, and we have things to offer members at the golf course,” Cooke said. “Just because a street sits between us doesn’t mean we can’t exist without each other.”
The clubhouse opened May 25 after Cooke and two employees, Keith Murphy and Jerry Foresi, completed months of improvements to the building’s interior and exterior, the News-Herald reported.
“We fine-tuned what was already here,” Cooke said. “We washed it, scraped it and polished it. We oiled the wood and polished the brass on the bars.”
The work also included more dramatic changes, such as refurbishing furniture, removing dying trees, carpeting and furnishing portions of the outside patio, landscaping, and replacing water damaged drywall, flooring and light bulbs, the News-Herald reported.
Cooke also partnered with Nicholas Anthony Signature Restaurants to provide catering and cooking services.
More work needs to be completed until they schedule the clubhouse’s grand opening, Cooke said. Some of that work includes repairing dislodged tiles on the ballroom floor caused by a nearby overgrown tree’s roots, and repairs to the clubhouse’s in-ground pool’s piping system, the News-Herald reported.
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