Bidding is tentatively scheduled to begin on September 12, with the 117-acre property in Christianburg, Va. to be split up into nine lots that can be bid on individually, in bundles, or as a whole. For tax purposes, the club is assessed at just over $1 million.
One of the oldest golf courses in southwestern Virginia’s New River Valley is set to be sold at auction later this year, The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported, creating the possibility that The Meadows Golf and Swim Club in Christianburg, Va. will be converted into residential property.
Terry Stike, a five-percent owner in the course, said his investor group is hoping the property will remain open to golfers, but there are no guarantees, The Times reported.
The land, which features rolling hills and dramatic sunsets, could serve as nice residential lots, Stike told The Times, and the clubhouse has a pool and is already equipped for weddings.
“It has a lot of value other than golf, but I like golf,” he added.
Bob Foster, a longtime player at the club, told The Times that the prospect of losing the course makes him sick, as he took breaks as he spoke to squeeze in shots between rain showers. The 88-year-old still plays the course three times a week, The Times reported, just like he’s been doing since he joined as a charter club member in 1954.
Foster paid the required $250 fee at that time to buy stock in the course and gain access to it, The Times reported, but he sold his stake in the club the first time it ran into hard times in 2002. That was also the year, The Times reported, that after contemplating foreclosure or a sale to Montgomery County (Va.), shareholders eventually voted in favor of selling the business to a private owner in 2002.
Stike told The Times that as the club continued to struggle, the possibility of an auction crept back up about six years ago. That’s when he came to the rescue, pulling together a group of 19 local business people to form NRV Golf and Swim Club LLC, which bought the property to keep the golf course alive.
But now, an auction seems inevitable, The Times reported. Stike said the group decided to begin looking for a buyer after one of the investors died earlier this year. Because of the nature of his estate, attorneys said a foreclosure auction was the best way to handle the sale.
Stike admitted to The Times that the business was struggling, as membership has declined from about 300 to 200 since the early 2000s. But he stressed that the foreclosure proceedings are more of a legal formality than anything else.
“I’ve been to [the club’s] ‘funeral’ two times, and it hasn’t died yet,” longtime member Pete Smyth said as he played a round on Friday. “I hope that it can remain a golf course—but I’m skeptical.”
David Boush, one of the Woltz and Associates auctioneers organizing the sale, told The Times that even he is rooting that The Meadows will stay a golf course. But it will all depend on how the bidding goes, Boush said.
The foreclosure trustees have already filed an application with the county to rezone the property, Boush added, and have split the 117-acre course up into nine lots.
Woltz will begin by taking bids on each parcel individually, The Times reported. The bidding will then be opened up to whatever lot combinations bidders want to bundle together.
Someone could place a bid for all nine lots, in order to buy the whole course and keep the golf club, Boush told The Times. But that buyer would have to outbid the total of each lot when offered individually. For tax purposes, the course is assessed at just over $1 million.
If the new owners decide to keep the golf course open, they’ll simply have to withdraw the zoning request with the county, The Times reported.
The auction is tentatively scheduled for September 12, Boush said, but that is subject to change.
Another club in the region, Pulaski (Va.) Country Club, was sold at a foreclosure auction in May, after racking up about $1 million in debt (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2017/05/sales-three-clubs-completed/ and http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2017/04/kentucky-virginia-clubs-put-sale/). Owners of that club said Pulaski County’s shifting economy contributed to the decline, as local businesses and car dealerships have been replaced with big out-of-town employers. Membership at the Pulaski course dipped to 125 before the sale, The Times reported.
Prior to that, Auburn Hills Golf Course in Riner, Va. sold at auction for $744,000 in 2016, according to property records.
In Roanoke, meanwhile, all three of the area’s full-service private country clubs have struggled in recent years with membership declines, The Times reported (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2017/03/roanoke-valley-va-clubs-report-declining-membership-trend/). Hidden Valley Country Club in Salem, Va. described its situation as a “cash crisis” in a February letter to its members.
“Money talks,” Foster, the 88-year-old member, told The Times from the passenger seat of a golf cart at The Times. “If they don’t have the money, they can’t do it.”