After their parent company, Fariways Group LLC, lost its funding, Tiger Point Golf and Country Club in Gulf Breeze, Fla., The Club at Hidden Creek in Santa Rosa, Fla., and Shalimar (Fla.) Point Golf and Country Club are assuring members that they are not closing. However, the clubs do have until November 28 to be sold or transferred into the hands of an unnamed Boston Investment Trust.
Staff at Tiger Point Golf and Country Club in Gulf Breeze, Fla., The Club at Hidden Creek in Santa Rosa, Fla., and Shalimar (Fla.) Point Golf and Country Club are vowing the clubs are not in bankruptcy after their parent group, Fairways Group LLC, lost its funding, Gulf Breeze (Fla.) News reported.
All three clubs do, however, have until November 28 to be sold or transferred into the hands of an unnamed Boston Investment Trust. The trust has already purchased the financing that underwrites the courses, Gulf Breeze News reported.
Fairways Group borrowed a total of $15 million in 2007, which encompassed all four courses, including the now-sold Scenic Hills Golf Club in Pensacola, Fla.
“We had our financing with Textron Financial, and they sold our note to the Boston trust who actually bought 20 other loans off Textron,” said Scott Beasley, Vice President of Operations of Meadowbrook Golf, Inc., which owns Fairways Group. “After Hurricane Ivan, our clubhouses were destroyed. We borrowed $15 million to underwrite our post-Ivan renovations and repairs when our insurance had to be used to pay off a balloon payment on our loan. We are not in default of any loans, and no one is in bankruptcy. We have never been late on any Textron Financial payments, and we have never missed any payments.
“We are bound by anonymity, and we continue to work with the investment group while we continue to try to sell the properties,” Beasley said to Gulf Breeze News. “We are operating with business as usual. We have enjoyed a great working relationship with Textron Financial, and they offered us decreased ‘strike points’ to sell the golf courses. We have until November 28 to seal our deals and sell the properties, a written contract the investment group is also bound by.
“Textron Financial started liquidating loans and over the course of a year or so dispersed over $1 billion in loans,” Beasley said. “At the beginning of this year, they came to us. We are still trying to sell the courses.”
Beasley said Textron Financial was also financing golf courses when the industry was booming, a practice they reversed two years ago. Textron is a subsidiary of Textron Inc., which is known for its brands, such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems, Gulf Breeze News reported.
Beasley said he is actively seeking buyers and is “meeting with a small investor group to discuss Hidden Creek, and a members group is actively working to purchase the Shalimar course.” He said a local individual has stepped up to negotiate a purchase of Tiger Point.
“Things have been great, really, even after all we’ve been through with storms and the recession,” Beasley said to Gulf Breeze News. “2009 was our best year, and the first quarter of 2010 blew away all of 2009, until April when the oil spill hit. These are not failed courses, they are successful. We are much better operators today after it all. I’d like to stay and be a part of at least one course. The staffs have been amazing, working hard and truly committed to continued success. If I were taking over the course, or buying it from the investor group, I’d keep staff the same – just as they have at Scenic Hills.”
Operations Manager and Golf Pro Tony Cross of Tiger Point said the staff vows to work to keep the course and clubhouse open, Gulf Breeze News reported.
“We continue to operate the club as normal,” Cross said. “A lot of staff have taken on additional work load to ensure continued quality as well.”