Group hoping to save The Oaks golf course

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The flag on the par 4 ninth hole at The Oaks at Sherwood Golf Course waves in the wind on an empty course after the announcement of the club's closing due to financial problems. A group is trying to raise funds to get the golf course operating again. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The flag on the par 4 ninth hole at The Oaks at Sherwood Golf Course waves in the wind on an empty course after the announcement of the club's closing due to financial problems. A group is trying to raise funds to get the golf course operating again.

A group led by the former pro at The Oaks at Sherwood Golf Course is trying to raise the cash to buy the course and take it private.

The Oaks closed in part because the course couldn’t pay off the bank debt, around $2.7 million, or $15,000 a month, according to an email from Blaine Patin.

The course’s most recent appraisal valued the property at $3.2 million, he wrote.

If 450 people invest $6,000, the investors can pay the bank debt and take the club private.

The investors also would become the club’s members, paying $275 a month, more than enough to cover the course’s expenses. Food and beverage sales and revenue generated by the golf shop, guest fees and meetings could generate an additional $20,000 a month or so.

“With those numbers, we can do some pretty special things with this golf course,” Patin said.

First on the list of course improvements is replacing the irrigation system. The project would be expensive, but the course would generate enough income to complete the project within 12 to 18 months.

The Oaks had private membership and also allowed public play. At one point, about 275 people purchased annual memberships, but that number dropped to about 175 by the time the course closed last week.

This is the second time the Sherwood Boulevard golf course has closed. In February 2009, a group of investors led by Layne McDaniel acquired the then-defunct Sherwood Forest Country Club for the amount of its debt, $2.8 million.

McDaniel said last week that The Oaks’ board had met with American Gateway Bank, which holds the mortgage on the property. But those negotiations proved fruitless. The Oaks board plans to turn the property over to the bank later this month.

If Patin’s effort does not succeed, a likely use of the golf course property would be for residential development, following a pattern set by other recent course closures in the area.