buying golf course

Members of the board of directors and advisory council of Sea Palms West COA, Jennifer Broadus, from left, Ann Lee, William Askew, Fiona Attwater, Joan Wilson, David Kenndey, Gaye Payne, Ann Miles, Jo Scott, Bob Irwin, Herb Miles, and Miles Clark pose for a photo on the first fairway of the Sea Palms West golf course. Not pictured is Sue Amiano, Larry Mills, Marilyn Methany, Iain Attwater, and Milt Schrieber.

Hoping to prevent residential development in the future, the neighborhood association of Sea Palms West homeowners voted to purchase the nine-hole West 9 golf course and convert it into green space.

Members of the Sea Palms West Community Association voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to amend its covenant to allow it to buy the golf course, said Jennifer Broadus, Sea Palms West resident and spokeswoman for the association.

Clark said the association confirmed the golf course was up for sale in May. The association’s board of directors started negotiations with the course’s owner, Atlanta-based Ardent Companies, which culminated in Saturday’s vote to allow for the purchase of the property.

“The only way we could ensure the land didn’t get developed is to buy it ourselves,” said Miles Clark, Sea Palms resident and president of the association.

The association doesn’t own the property yet, however. It is scheduled to close on the property in November, Broadus said. It needed a loan to cover the $2 million price tag, she added.

Should the deal go through, homeowners will be assessed and pay additional dues based on their assessment to the association to cover debt payments, Clark said.

The association’s acquisition of the property means the end of the land as a golf course, Broadus said, as it will be converted into a park.

“It (the golf course) was the centerpiece of our community, and as such we’re going to be one of the few communities that has a 48-acre green space and nature park right there in the middle of our community,” Broadus said.

Securing the land may also lead to higher property values in the neighborhood, Broadus added.

“Now that we have the time to catch our breath, we can focus on the best ways to maintain the property,” Clark said in the release, “Clearly, we intend to keep it as natural green space. In the months to come, we will look into all of the best options to preserve the property for the betterment of the entire Sea Palms West community.”

The course, completed in the late 1970s, predated houses in Sea Palms West, Broadus said. Golf courses have been closing across the country, she said, and she’s glad Sea Palms has the chance to prevent theirs from being developed into more houses.

“We’re very grateful to all 340 members of our association for support this, so we can protect the property, and protect the value of our homes as well,” Broadus said.

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