Wednesday, May 16, 2012

North Carolina golf course up for auction

Interested in buying a golf course? There's one coming up for auction
next month.

The owners of Pine Knolls Golf Club in Kernersville are putting their
18-hole golf course and club up for sale.

Nestled between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, the Pine Knolls Golf
Club features a public 151-acre  course, driving range, swimming pool,
pavilion, clubhouse, pro-shop, bar and grill. The starting bid is
$600,000.

An increasing number of golf clubs have closed or changed hands since
the recession. Some have shuttered because of falling revenues. Fewer
people are joining clubs and existing members are playing fewer rounds
and spending less on services, according to national trade
associations. Other clubs have been targeted for foreclosure because
the owners defaulted on loans or couldn't refinance.

In the Charlotte area, Firethorne Country Club in Marvin was scheduled
to be sold after the club defaulted on its loan. The club later filed
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. More recently, real estate mogul
Donald Trump bought The Point Lake and Golf Club near Mooresville.
Club members say the club was financially sound but in need of costly
renovations. Trump has said he plans to pump millions into the Greg
Norman-designed course and club to make it a world-class facility.

The bank started foreclosure proceedings against Pine Knolls' owner,
Hibernia Holdings, and its principals, last year, according to court
filings.

Mark Troen, chief operating officer with the company hired to sell
club, said the entire recreation industry is struggling. His firm,
Racebrook Marketing Concepts, a private equity firm based in New
York, has sold golf courses, ski areas and marinas.

"Every one of these venues has experienced an upheaval and change and
golf courses are clearly part of it," he said. "There was tremendous
investment in the first part of the last decade, and now they are
paying the price for that over-investment."

Troen said his firm has found there are three types of buyers
interested in golf clubs: The entrepreneur who loves golf and wants to
turn a hobby into a job; institutional buyers and large corporations
that already own golf clubs that want to expand their holdings; and
local businesses that want to own a golf course so they can brand the
course and market themselves.

The public auction will be held June 13 at the Marriott Winston-Salem,
460 N. Cherry Street, Winston-Salem. Registration begins at 10 a.m.
and the auction starts at 11 a.m.  For more information go to
http://www.golfcourseauction.com/.

Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

4 comments:

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