Pulaski (Va.) Country Club was sold at auction to a local auto auction operator who said he wasn’t sure what his plans might be for the 88-year-old property. The town of Bellaire, Fla. sold Belleview Biltmore GC and its Donald Ross-designed course to Pelican Golf Club, and Nichols College bought the neighboring Dudley Hill GC in Dudley, Mass.
The sales of three club and golf course properties were recently completed and reported:
After years of financial struggle and declining memberships, the Pulaski (Va.) Country Club was sold in a trustee foreclosure auction on May 17.
The property went to the highest bidder, for $900,000, to David Sale, owner of Radford Auto Auction of Christiansburg, Va. Sale told The Southwest Times of Pulaski that he wasn’t sure of his plans for the property yet after outlasting four other bidders for the 146-acre property, which includes an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, driving range, putting green, maintenance building, and a 7,786-sq.-ft. clubhouse.
Bidding for the property, along with equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers and cooking equipment for the clubhouse restaurant, began at $500,000, The Southwest Times reported.
The property is valued at $2.2 million for tax purposes, according to Mike Torrence of Torrence, Read & Forehand Auctions, which conducted the sale
The country club opened in 1929, but after the clubhouse was rebuilt in 2001 after a fire, interest lagged as membership dipped from more than 350 during its heyday in the 1970s to just over 100 members currently, The Southwest Times reported.
Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay back an outstanding loan of $1 million from the rebuilding in 2001. Had the property sold for more than what is owed the bank, the balance would have been distributed to about 6,500 shareholders, The Southwest Times reported.
Station WSLS NBC 10 of Roanoke, Va. reported that long-time members were hoping that Pulaski CC could remain a club and golf course for those in the community.
It was standing room-only inside the clubhouse during the auction, WSLS reported, with people waiting, watching and listening to find out who would be the new owner.
“[We] spent 30 days to get it ready and 30 days for people to come out and get information and do their due diligence ahead of the auction,” Torrence told WSLS.
“It’s in good shape. It’s been well-maintained,” Torrence added. “It’s just unfortunate that [it] got into the financial situation.”
“We have strong members and we are proud of the time they have all put in to keep it open for the last 15 years,” Keith Dickerson, President of the club’s Board of Directors, told WSLS.
“It’s been here since 1929, so it’s a big part of the community and is a good place for people to have events,” Dickerson added.
In Belleair, Fla., town commissioners have approved the sale of the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club to Pelican Golf Club, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Pelican GC is owned by the father-and-son duo of Dan Doyle, Sr., and Dan Doyle, Jr., who are both longtime residents of Belleair, the Times reported.
The Belleair commission unanimously approved the sale, which went uncontested by the public during public debate, Town Manager JP Murphy told the Times.
Belleair officials said the Doyles are expected to uphold the town’s efforts to maintain the club’s acreage as green space, the Times reported.
The course’s clubhouse, which is set to be demolished as part of the approved plan for selling the property, could close as early as May 31, the Times reported. The pitched-roof clubhouse, which mimicked the design of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, is scheduled to be replaced with a two-story clubhouse that will include a grill room, restaurant and a golf shop.
The new clubhouse will take up the grassy lot next to it, which the town often uses for overflow parking for events, Murphy told the Times. It will also have an underground golf cart storage area.
On the Belleview Biltmore course, which was designed in 1925 by Donald Ross, 863 trees will be removed, including invasive species, as a way to redevelop Ross’ design. According to the plans submitted, the new owners requested a variance to plant 400 trees, including red maple and live oak trees, as well as 10,500 shrubs, to mitigate the trees removed, the Times reported.
The Doyle family approached the commission last year and offered to buy Belleview Biltmore for $3.8 million—$300,000 more than the town originally bought it for in 2013, Murphy told the Times. But it wasn’t because the current management company was losing money.
Green Golf Partners began managing the golf course when the town purchased it, and began a 10-year leasing contract the year after, the Times reported. The course had been operating at a loss of about $200,000 a year before the town bought it, Murphy said, and in 2016, Green Golf was able to turn a profit, paying the town about $192,000, which included rent of $40,000 per quarter and a percentage of its profits.
“We weren’t in the market to sell it, quite frankly,” Murphy told the Times. But the price was right, and the Doyle family has been generous to the town, Mayor Gary Katica said. Dan Doyle Jr. has dressed up as Santa Claus during Christmas time and delivered presents to families; he’s also donated vehicles to the town, Katica says, and has donated a tarp to cover a playground area. The Dimmitt Community Center’s basketball gym, the Doyle Family Gymnasium, is named after him.
Pelican Golf Club will also cover the buyout fee for ending Green Golf Partners’ 10-year contract early, which has a price tag of about $600,000, although that arrangement hasn’t been finalized, the Times reported.
The $3.8 million that the town will get from the sale could be used toward large maintenance projects like improving Belleair’s drainage system, Murphy told the Times.
A conservation easement, as part of the sale, will limit development on the land, and a green-space easement established by a town ordinance has a 20-year restriction on any structures being built, the Times reported. “The town has always been anti-large development,” Murphy said.
But it’s not the land that concerns Belleair resident Marvin Bailey, the Times reported; it’s the question of whether the course, after renovations are done, will keep its doors open to those without memberships. It’s unclear whether the Doyles, who could not be reached for comment, intend to take the club private.
Bailey worries about losing the community, and he said others feel the same way, the Times reported. Although he’s been a Belleview Biltmore member since 2001, he has friends who aren’t, but still like to play when they get the chance.
Bailey said that he believes from a business standpoint that the Doyles are doing what they think is good for them, the Times reported. But he said the current members, and the public without memberships, could suffer.
“It is like a family,” said Bailey, adding that he was sad at the possibility of having his friends migrating to different courses.
If that happens, instead of crossing the street to get to the Belleview golf course, Bailey said he’ll drive half an hour away to another one, the Times reported.
“Most of us probably feel that, because of our friends that aren’t members who aren’t going to be here, what’s the point of us staying?” he said.
He believes the result will be “a playland for the wealthy,” which he says is unnecessary because Belleair already has another membership-only golf course, Belleair Country Club.
“We just want a golf course,” he said.
Katica, as Mayor of Belleair, has faith that the Doyle family will follow through with taking care of the course, the Times reported.
“I’m very happy with the whole thing,” he said. He approved of the plan, he added, because of the town’s intentions to maintain the golf course. The last thing the town wants, he said, is for the land to one day be developed.
The course is a water-recharge area, so any structures could negatively impact the wells nearby. But Katica, who said he has known the Doyle family for years, believes they will continue to do good things for the town.
“The Doyle family is a terrific family in Belleair,” he told the Times. “I would not have approved my part if they were speculators.”
The Worcester (Mass.) Business Journal reported that Nichols College of Dudley, Mass. has purchased the neighboring Dudley Hill Golf Club and plans to keep it under current management.
“The decision to purchase the Dudley Hill Golf Club was a strategic one for the long-term benefit of Nichols College. Funds from the college’s capital budget will be used to buy the property,” said Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer.
The $200,000 sale includes the nine-hole golf course, a 3,508-sq.-ft. clubhouse, a light utility building, and two garages, the Business Journal reported.
Members of the public golf course should expect that at minimum, things will remain the same, Nichols College said. The club’s current operator, Jonathan Hoenig, CEO of Tri-State Golf Club, will continue to operate the facility, the Business Journal reported.
Nichols has a longstanding relationship with the Dudley Hill course, according to the college. The Nichols golf team has practiced and played there for years, and the college holds annual alumni golf events and other fundraising tournaments at the club. Through the purchase, Nichols students may be able to get hands-on work experience at the facility, the Business Journal reported.
About 80 other colleges across the nation own golf courses, Nichols College said.