November 6, 2015 – Two longtime employees of Maple Ridge Golf Club have signed a letter of intent to purchase the 18-hole course from the W.C. Bradley Co.
Club Pro Mike Gill and course Superintendent Doug Smith signed the agreement on Friday, W.C. Bradley Co. Real Estate Division President Mat Swift said. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year if the buyers can secure financing, Swift said. No purchase price has been released.
“This is a golf professional’s dream,” Gill said. “I can’t speak for a superintendent on that, but I can tell you what I told my wife, and that was I always wanted to own a farm. This is just a little different kind of farm.”
Gill has been with the club since September 1993, about six months after it opened. Smith started working at Maple Ridge in 1992 when the course was under construction. Both men are in their early 50s.
“From our standpoint, we are excited and hopeful that this will work out,” Swift said.
The 180-acre course is the centerpiece of a large-scale residential development that has been built out over the last 28 years.
W.C. Bradley Co. put the course on the market earlier this year. Swift said at the time that the company hoped to sell it as a golf course, but would not restrict the buyers. The development was marketed as a golf course community.
Gill and Smith plan to keep the course open, Swift said. The course is currently managed by Mosaic Clubs and Resorts, a large Alpharetta, Ga., management company that contracts with many top-flight facilities. Gill and Smith work for Mosaic.
“Last year when we found out they were serious about selling it, part of my plan was not to buy it, but to get the homeowners association involved in the course,” Gill said. “We opened up social memberships for free. You just had to sign in. I hope the homeowners association is willing to support Maple Ridge. This is a great community, people are active, there are a lot of young people.”
W.C. Bradley has developed more than 800 acres on the Maple Ridge site since 1987.
There are about 700 homes, condos and high-end apartments surrounding the golf course. Most of the W.C. Bradley residential development concluded in the last five years.
The Columbus real estate company has since turned its attention and focus to downtown development.
The W.C. Bradley Co., hired Hilda W. Allen, Inc., of Adel, Ga., to market the course to potential buyers. A lot of potential out-of-town buyers were concerned about the Columbus market, which has low greens fees and a high-quality municipal course in Bull Creek. Having been in the market and operating a semi-private club against the city competition, Gill said they understand what it will take to compete.
“Most of the buyers were from big cities and are very selective in their decision-making process,” Gill said. “They would not be on-site operators. The benefit for us is that Doug and I have been here and know the Columbus market. I feel we can make this work.”