Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2010

Alvamar finds buyer for two golf courses in Lawrence; deal to be done by 2011

Golfer and Lawrence resident Marcello Hall practices on the driving range Tuesday at Alvamar Golf and Country Club. Owners of Alvamar Inc. have decided to sell the two golf courses for a price of $6.5 million.

Golfer and Lawrence resident Marcello Hall practices on the driving range Tuesday at Alvamar Golf and Country Club. Owners of Alvamar Inc. have decided to sell the two golf courses for a price of $6.5 million.

December 16, 2010


The prospective new owner for Alvamar’s two Lawrence golf courses is identified, the price set, the timing arranged.

Now all that’s left is to sink the putt, sign the scorecard and hit the clubhouse on a “very acceptable” deal for properties that listed for sale two months ago for $6.5 million.

All by the end of this year.

“We have, in fact, signed a letter of intent, and we are in the second draft of negotiations on a sale contract,” said Bob Johnson, chairman of Alvamar Inc. “It ain’t done till it’s done, but it’s moving very rapidly and there is every reason to believe that it will happen.”

Alvamar’s 120 shareholders have been looking for a buyer to purchase the two 18-hole courses in the heart of western Lawrence, and they’ve found one Johnson describes as a private corporation that is “extremely experienced” in the ownership and management of such courses.

The out-of-state entity either owns or manages more than 120 courses nationwide, he said, and likes the idea of acquiring a public course and a private course that together are located close to the Kansas City metro area, maintain close ties with Kansas University and whose country club boasts at least 1,000 golf and social members.

“It’s all very positive,” Johnson said.

Alvamar leaders say they’re working to sell their corporation’s recreational assets as part of a plan for shareholders — many of them owners for more than a quarter century — to liquidate their assets. Many owners are reaching or have reached retirement age.

Johnson declined to discuss the purchase price, which is included in the signed letter of intent and is not the subject of remaining discussions between buyer and seller.

“The negotiations have been very, very acceptable to the board,” Johnson said, before acknowledging: “It’s seldom anybody pays more than the asking price, for anything.”

The sale would not include Alvamar’s nonrecreational assets: 17 parcels of land, including 165 acres of residential and commercial property at the western side of Lawrence.

Johnson and other board members assumed control of Alvamar Inc. several years ago, following the death of Alvamar founder Bob Billings and litigation that pitted the current board against previous management.

Now, with a sale Johnson figures to have a 95 percent chance of closing, Alvamar members should be able to look forward to a future of strong management and continued golfing and social excellence.

All under new ownership.

“We are making a transaction here that will be very positive for the shareholders, the Alvamar membership and the public in their enjoyment of these facilities,” Johnson said. “I think that there will be no outward appearance of any change whatsoever. … These are golf course people. They’re buying it for the golf courses.”


John Hamm 7 years, 4 months ago

"done till it’s" Should be "done 'til it's" Till: To prepare (land) for the raising of crops, drawer for storing money as in a store. 'Til: abbreviated version of "until." Need to use more than a spell checker....

Bill Lee 7 years, 4 months ago

Newspapers can't afford copy editors anymore.

mfagan 7 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the notes, but I must say that we do, indeed, use more than a spellchecker. We follow AP style, as contained in The Associated Press Stylebook (now available online), and the stylebook notes that the proper use is "till" — "Or until. But not 'til." I do acknowledge the issue, though; I recall this very topic on my copyediting tests at KU back in the day. I'm just glad that I'm still managing to get this one right, even 20 years later ... - Mark Fagan Reporter

wmathews 7 years, 4 months ago

I checked on this. The correct version is "till" -

Whitney Mathews Assistant Community Editor for Online

Strcraft19 7 years, 4 months ago

The new owners actually have very little or no experience in golf courses, however, to their credit, they have retained a very experienced Golf Management Company to run and manage the courses. The statement "the out-of-state entity owns or manages more than 120 golf courses nationwide" is somewhat misleading as it refers to the Management company not the owners.

fairplay 7 years, 4 months ago

Proof once again...Crack Don't Smoke Itself.

Lance Cheney 7 years, 4 months ago

You're an idiot. That didn't make any sense.

Brent Fry 7 years, 4 months ago

This is a problem at almost any public course. Whoever came up with the 8-minute time period between groups probably has never set foot on a golf course before. 12 minutes used to be the standard.

Honestly though, the major problem with long rounds is the fact that most courses don't properly educate their marshals. The marshals, due to the fact that they are typically retired and paid with free golf privileges, don't encourage people to increase their pace of play or to allow faster players to play through.

The slow pace of play all relates back to the late 90's Tiger Woods boom in golf. What happened is a bunch of 20-40 year old people who had never touched a club started playing golf. Most people before Tiger came along learned to play golf with their dad, who taught them golf etiquette. The people that just jumped into golf post-Tiger have zero golf etiquette. I honestly think courses should require a "license" to play golf. It would be a simple test that makes sure players know etiquette and playing rules, and things such as fixing divets (another huge problem with "new" golfers).

parrothead8 7 years, 4 months ago

"The marshals, due to the fact that they are typically retired and paid with free golf privileges, don't encourage people to increase their pace of play or to allow faster players to play through."

I agree, although I would argue (and it seems you would agree, based on the rest of your comment) that the marshals are not the real problem. It shouldn't be the marshals telling players to let faster players play through...the players themselves should understand their responsibilities.

Brent Fry 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes, I do agree. But the marshals have the power to tell the slower-playing players to allow faster players to play through.

Larry Bauerle Jr. 7 years, 4 months ago

I completely agree. Golf was such a great job when it was reserved for the white upper middle class. It's all gone the heck now that anybody can get on the course.

Brent Fry 7 years, 4 months ago

That's not why I was saying in any way whatsoever. What I said (and I thought I made this pretty clear) is that a whole new group of people started playing without ever being educated on golf etiquette.

You are the one suggesting that only white upper middle class people have golf course etiquette.

smot 7 years, 4 months ago

Some people are serious about their golf and would like to complete their rounds in under 4.5 hours. It is reasonable for slower players to let faster players through when convenient. This does not mean the faster players have serious problems in the rest of the their lives.

Brent Fry 7 years, 4 months ago

I completely understand what you are saying with the relax and enjoy part. That's how I play golf. But I can relax and enjoy AND also expect that my 18 holes of golf not take 6 or 7 hours (which is does on the public side sometimes) to complete.

Clickker 7 years, 4 months ago

I love playing behind some Hack who is struggling to shoot 100 and lines up every putt, putts every ball out, looks for every hopelessly lost ball....etc...

Kryptonite 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow, so from the sounds of it you were a scratch golfer starting out? You sure are lucky that you didn't have to be a beginner golfer like the rest of us. It must be good to be you!

monkeyhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

I hope the new ownership either installs more toilets or at the very least puts up signs directed at the rude pigs who think it's ok to hang their wongs out in plain view to sprinkle the most convenient shrubbery on the public back 9. I doubt that it happens with regularity on the private side, so another consideration might be to privatize both courses in order to upgrade the clientele.

KU_cynic 7 years, 4 months ago

I can assure you that it happens with regularity on the private side. Such views are just another benny for living on a golf course housing lot.

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

Optimistic that the new owners will keep the course and not plat the land.

GovJunkie 7 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like Billy Casper Golf... here is something from their website:

Billy Casper Golf is an operator of more than 120 golf courses and clubs in 27 states. We provide full-service management of daily-fee, public, private and resort courses for private owners, public agencies, boards, developers and investors. Additionally, we provide consulting, marketing, public relations, and development services to golf course owners nationwide.

BigDog 7 years, 4 months ago

If it is Billy Casper Golf, I hope they do a better job managing this course than they do managing Cypress Ridge in Topeka. Over the last couple of years, the maintenance has been horrible. I played in a tournament there this summer and the course has gone downhill. Besides the swampy areas around a couple of greens because a sprinkler pipe had been leaking water for sometime. The course had crab grass growing in the fairways and even on several of the greens. And during the heat of the summer the fairways were about as short as the greens .... causing dead areas throughout the fairways.

It once was a fairly good course but not any longer. I sure hope if they are the managing company that the do a better job with the Alvamar courses.

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

golf always reminds me of my Dad, When he was questioned about why he chose a dangerous profession or why he risked his life trying to save someone, He always answered the would rather die doing something worthwhile than die drunk on a golf course hit by lightening. I think he knew someone that died that way. He neither drank or played golf.

Full disclosure; I don't drink, I don't golf and I don't admire the sport, but for some reason I love golf movies.

smot 7 years, 4 months ago

Golf is a sport which some choose to play for fun and exercise. Some people drink when they play golf and some don't. Golf has been a good thing to many people. Sorry you do not admire it but it does not make it any less a sport worth playing if you so desire. Stop passing judgement on people who do.

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

Ok mister , I will stop passing judgment right away. yes sir. Except I wasn't passing judgment . Good for you for admitting you like golf but don't feel judged as a person if someone doesn't admire the sport. I certainly don't think you are passing judgment on me because I don't like golf. That wouldn't enter my mind. I do think there is a big chance the people who are buying the course may plat the acres. But they might not. I remember the people who sold an large orchard to a guy a bit cheaper because he said he wanted to keep the land as an orchard. That area is north of fourth street between McDonald and Michigan street. He found after a year he could make a lot more money with going with a developer. I hope the community gets a golf course if that is what they want but I see no guarantees unless it is in writing and time and circumstances erodes even ink.

smot 7 years, 4 months ago

Pace :

You must be a fun and interesting person in real life. Thanks for clearing up my confusion regarding your stance on golf.

devobrun 7 years, 4 months ago

After reading the above and recalling my experiences on a golf course, I remember why I quit. What a pain in the but golfing is. Weather. Slow play. Bad rounds and angry people behind you. Costs increasing at a high rate for greens fees and equipment. Endless etiquette because there are just too many of you out on the course at one time. 14,673 rules regarding what I should do when the ball lands in a pile of goose droppings........

Are we having fun yet? Not me. I haven't played a round in 10 years and probably never will again. You guys can have it.

And wait a minute. Hundreds of acres of prime real estate for 6.5 million? Sounds like the investors found out that there are a lot of people like me around today. Golf is not what it used to be and investors are finding out that it is in decline. Maybe when the Tiger Woods wannabes quit too, the game will be more affordable, and more enjoyable.

Sigmund 7 years, 4 months ago

Which begs the question, "Why can't the City of Lawrence sell Eagle Bend Golf Course???"

VTHawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Eagle Bend doesn't even have the prospect of profitability, I would imagine. Hope that I'm wrong about that.

KU_cynic 7 years, 4 months ago

The city could bid out the concession to operate Eagle Bend, say for 10 years in exchange for an up front payment. However, the land is not owned by the city but operated under a lease, so there's no "option to develop". There's also the issue of whether some explicit subsidies enjoyed by Eagle Bend (city water, use of city maintenance personnel and equipment) would continue or have to be repriced if the course were operated as a private concession.

So, any price for bidding the concession to operate would depend on positive cash flow, which has been an iffy proposition at Eagle Bend ever since it was built.

sherbert 7 years, 3 months ago

So is it closed and under new ownership now?

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