Winning bid submitted by appliedgolf, a New Jersey management company; the Massachusetts club is expected to reopen by mid-April.
Hickory Ridge Country Club, Amherst, Mass., was sold for $1.05 million to a New Jersey-based golf management company at a foreclosure auction held on March 15, reports the Amherst Local News.
Jay Craig, a partner with appliedgolf in Millstone Township, N.J., submitted the highest bid as more than 100 people, many long-time members of the golf course, packed into the club’s banquet facility to observe the bidding.
The sale includes the property’s 150-acre site, featuring an 18-hole golf course, restaurant and pro shop. The price was less than a third of the $3.5 million sale price in 2003, when Douglas Harper of Sandwich, Mass. bought the course from H. Alden Johnson.
The club is now expected to reopen by mid-April. “We hope to open just as soon as we can,” Craig said.
The opening is contingent on getting the course back into playable shape, Craig said, following the damage caused last August by Tropical Storm Irene last August, followed by a freak Halloween-weekend snowstorm.
In addition, since Craig didn’t bid $75,000 for the remaining equipment on site, he will need to purchase his own golf carts for the course.
Craig said he had been negotiating with Douglas Harper for more than two years on a potential sale of the course, but wasn’t able to make a deal prior to the bank foreclosing on the property.
“I feel sorry for the circumstances with Doug that have forced him into this issue,” Craig said.
The 18-hole golf course, situated on former farmland near the Hadley, Mass. town line, was built by the Johnson family in 1969. Golf course architect Geoffrey Cornish, who died in February, and designer Bill Robinson created the course, which has the Fort River running through the middle. The river periodically overflows its banks, leaving some greens unplayable at certain times of the year.
Appliedgolf already operates 13 semi-private golf courses between northern New Jersey and St. Petersburg, Fla., Craig said.
“This will be the farthest north we go,” said Craig, who has been in the golf business for 18 years.
Craig said he believes that semi-private courses, which are open to both members and non-members, are the best to operate. He also supports the regional philosophy of the management company, because it allow members to play different courses.
Craig, who also owns three courses of his own, added that he plans to keep much of the existing management in place, with the exception of golf pro Richard Fleury, who has already departed.
Craig said he wasn’t sure when the restaurant would reopen, noting that it may have to go through a municipal permitting process.
Members are being contacted by e-mail with more details about what the new management will mean, he said.
Annual membership rates for families had been set last year at $2,595, and for singles at $1,725.
For avid golfers who had been dismayed at the possibility Hickory Ridge would be lost, the purchase by a golf professional associated with a management company gave them renewed optimism, the newspaper reported.
“We’re excited that it’s going to open,” said Chris Colaccino of Belchertown, Mass. a member of the Hickory Ridge Women’s Golf League. Colaccino was joined at the auction by others in her group who were also part of the women’s league, which has been using Hickory Ridge for more than 20 years.
Colaccino said the women had decided as a group to wait until the auction to decide whether to seek memberships at another area course.
But they didn’t want to leave, added other members of the group, because Hickory Ridge has been an exceptional course and is walkable, and had been well-run in the last decade under the ownership of Douglas Harper and his wife, Cathy.