Auburn golf course headed for March auction

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Photo by Marty Gordon
A for-sale sign is up along Route 8 in Riner advertising the sale of Auburn Hills Golf Club.

By Marty Gordon
NRVsports@ourvalley.org

The Auburn Hills golf course will be placed up for auction in the spring. Owner Danny Thompson confirmed Thursday that the facility will be up for sale in March.

He and his wife had hoped they could keep the course for golf, but a sale of shares this past month did not reach the minimum needed for him to keep the facility, which includes a pool, as is.

While the auction could mean the course remains under new ownership, it could also mean the acreage is sold off in parcels. A previous sale listed as many as 17 parcels in and around the site.

Less than two months ago, Thompson held several meetings asking nearby landowners and golf members to purchase shares in the business. Thursday, he said several shares had been sold, but it simply was not enough. Ninety-eight shares at $10,000 each were the minimum needed to keep the course up and running. Again, that did not happen.

No one has approached Thompson about buying the course as it currently exists, but he is optimistic that might still happen.

At the last of the series of meetings, Thompson said he and several other staff members have been working without pay for almost two years. “I just can’t continue to do that,” he said.

This is not the first time the future of Auburn Hills has come into question. Three times in the past 10 years, the course has seen for-sale signs and all three times, the acreage was placed on the auction block.

But this time the auction might bring the end of the land as a golf course. Thompson has contracted with Woltz Auction company, which has held similar sales in the past.

Thompson and Philip Nolen, under Fore LLC, bought the course at auction in 2013 for approximately $1 million.  That partnership was dissolved three years later and again the course was auctioned. This time, Thompson was the lone bidder and took sole control of the facility.

The property, comprised of an 18-hole course, outdoor pool and clubhouse, is assessed at $1.4 million for tax purposes.

The decision to sell does not, according to Thompson, come down to the course not being financially unsound.

“Yes, we have had some lean years,” he said. “Up until this past year, we have been seeing red, but we showed a profit in the past fiscal year and there is no reason the upside will not continue.”

Thompson is a farmer by profession and admits the golf course would make a great location for a farm whether it be cattle or crops. “But I don’t want that to happen. I want it to stay a golf course, and I am sure the adjacent landowners would not want to see a farm here,” he said.