Several golf courses in the Ozarks are experiencing renewal related to ownership changes.
Two local businessmen with ties to the housing industry this month purchased the 18-hole golf course Island Green Golf Club Inc. in Republic and part of its neighboring subdivision development.
Jake Crutcher, the owner of Crutcher Custom Homes LLC, partnered with Todd Reed, who appraises and inspects properties as Total Home Analysis, to purchase the course at 169 Country Club Drive for an undisclosed price from the Boatright family. Crutcher, who has been a Realtor for 12 years and is currently with Keller Williams Realty, also picked up 14 undeveloped residential lots in the bordering Island Green subdivision.
“It’s a beautiful course. It’s got a good rolling layout,” Crutcher said, noting, however, it hasn’t recently had “any money put into it, and it shows.”
The business partners plan to invest $500,000 the next two years, upgrading the 7,000-square-foot clubhouse, remodeling the event center, overseeding the fairways and rough, repairing the greens, adding new audio and visual, and bringing dining to members.
“It was a little bit of a diamond in the rough,” he said.
There are only 48 paying members at the semiprivate course, Crutcher said, but he hopes to build membership back up to its height of about 250. Each member signs a $1,750, one-year contract for unlimited golfing with a cart and the use of other amenities.
Longtime general manager Regina Sarber is staying on with the course, Crutcher said, as well as the other two employees.
Dale and Jane Boatright founded Island Green by converting a previous nine-hole course to a semi-private 18-hole course with a $6 million investment in 1999. A 62-lot neighborhood also was included on the property, with the 14 parcels remaining today.
Dale Boatright died in 2014 and left the properties to his wife and daughter Beverly, who attempted last year to sell the golf course via auction without success.
In the subdivision, Crutcher plans to construct a few move-in-ready houses and offer the remaining lots as build-to-suit homes starting at about $230,000.
“It’s kind of in between a spec and a custom,” said Crutcher, who’s also a resident of the Island Green subdivision. “I’ve already built a couple houses out there.”
Another company, with a history of acquiring golf courses, is making improvements to two in the area.
Topeka, Kansas-based GreatLife Golf & Fitness purchased Greene Hills Country Club Inc. in Willard last year for an undisclosed sum. GreatLife Founder Rick Farrant said he also plans within a year to purchase Deer Lake Golf Club, which it manages under a lease agreement in Springfield.
GreatLife in 2011 signed a five-year lease with Tulsa-based Deer Lake Partners LLC for an undisclosed amount. This followed Deer Lake Partner’s 2010 purchase of the course, which is under the management of developer and P&H Properties owner Robert Phillips.
GreatLife, which operates 67 courses throughout the Midwest, Farrant said, closed on the Greene Hills deal Sept. 1. A cart barn will be converted this spring into a new fitness center.
Even with the addition of the center, membership rates at the 52-year-old, semi-private club have decreased under the new ownership, said Greene Hills golf pro Tina Sims. Greens fees, plus use of the driving range and the future fitness center, runs about $900 per year – compared to the previous $2,075 annual fee for just golf and the driving range.
Members of one course can play at other select courses in the GreatLife portfolio, Farrant said, in some cases at no charge.
Plans at Deer Lake include a new clubhouse, swimming pool and fitness center, as well as upgrading the driving range, Farrant said. There is an additional separate project to add new housing along the course.
He declined to disclose the cost of the renovations.
Farrant said Phillips additionally plans to develop 100 acres to the west, for condos and apartments.
Deer Lake Partners purchased the course for $3.5 million in 2010, according to Springfield Business Journal past reporting.
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