Back in 2004, Joe Frey took a trip from Buffalo, where he lives and owns three golf courses, to Wilmington, Ohio, about 50 miles outside of Cincinnati. He had heard about a popular course that was for sale there and figured it might be a good addition to his portfolio. The instant he saw the Majestic Springs links, Frey knew he had to buy the course, laid out on 220 rolling acres crossed by a stream and framed by lush woods.
Converted from farmland in 1999, the course was created by well-regarded designer Barry Serafin. It attracts regulars from Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus.
Since acquiring the property, Frey has made several improvements to the facility, such as expanding the course's bunkers and remodeling the outdoor pavilion for banquets and weddings.
Frey, 50, says he is getting out of the golf course business to have more freedom to do missionary work around the world with his wife, Gwen. "I'm not much of a golfer myself," he says. "There's a ton of potential here for someone to pick up the torch and run with it."
Price Rationale: The price tag of $2.5 million is based on a 2002 appraisal that valued the course at $2.6 million, combined with comparisons with the recent sale prices of similar golf courses in the region.
The Pros: After Frey made improvements and put in a new management team, profit margins were up last year despite lower revenue. As the economy improves, golfers are returning to the links, and business at Majestic Springs was up nearly 33 percent this March and April compared with the same period in 2009. Frey is willing to provide seller financing.
The Cons: The popularity of golf appears to have plateaued, and little new growth is expected, according to a study issued by the National Golf Foundation. Wilmington's largest employer, DHL, shut down its Wilmington hub in 2008, and the local economy is still feeling the pain.
The Bottom Line: Given the many recent improvements and that a management team is in place, the course offers a turnkey operation to an owner or investment team looking to take over a profitable operation.
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