A Community Comes Together
With new owners and help from the community, Brick Landing Golf Course is set to open again.
Five Brick Landing Plantation residents bend over to dig up the host of weeds populating the 7th green of the golf course in Ocean Isle Beach. “We love this community,” Rick Coltharp says to explain why he and the others are exposing themselves to the 80-plus-degree temperature on a July morning. “The golf course is an integral part of it for all these years, and we couldn’t bear to let it go away.”
Debbie O’Keefe adds another weed to the pile near her. “We’re golfers and looked purposely for golf communities,” she says. “We want the community to thrive, and this [golf course] is a big part of it.” Larry Doyle, owner of the golf course since 2011, closed it on January 1, 2020. He had bought it after it had been closed through 2010.
“This property was losing money like crazy,” Brick Landing resident Russ Baltzer says. He explains that he saw the financials, yet he formed Swan Partners LLC, along with his wife, Alice D’Angelo, and neighbor John Gobble, and bought the golf course and clubhouse, which includes The View restaurant, for $1.2 million. Swan Partners, though, is reselling.
“We don’t know anything about running a golf course,” he says. “We did not want to own 130 acres of golf course and an old clubhouse needing lots of work.” Baltzer says Swan negotiated with local home owners who were more golf-oriented and had the dream of reopening the property as a golf course. Swan will keep the clubhouse but lease it to the new owners. It has already leased the restaurant to Andrew and Terry Bland, owners of Art Catering and Purple Onion Café in Shallotte.
The golf course was marketed through a firm in Florida that specializes in selling golf courses. “But they have other ideas besides golf,” Baltzer says. “It may not be consistent with what we wanted.” Residents feared condominiums, a marina or “who knows what else” would be built on the property.
The residents buying the course from Swan — Gene Bonstein, Rick Coltharp, Bill Fredericks, Ken McGill and Walt Mahary — formed Community Partners Golf LLC. Coltharp says it needs $550,000 to $600,000. Investors buy in at $5,000 increments.
“Our goal is to resurrect the course and lease the clubhouse,” McGill, president of Community Partners Golf, says. “There’s a good community spirit here, and I think people are realizing this is a valuable resource.”
Bonstein’s wife, Elsa, explains that Steve Martin, regional agronomist for East Coast Golf Management, suggested volunteers extract the weeds on the greens, which is an efficient and less costly method of preparing the greens for maintenance. The message went out to residents that the new LLC needs community support, and they received it. More than 70 residents volunteered to dig up weeds on all 18 greens.
“It will take two to three months to bring the greens back, but they will come back,” O’Keefe says. “The people who are investing in it live here, care about this area and care about the golf course,” Elsa Bonstein adds. “If it’s just an investment, you don’t have that emotional pull to it.”
The Bonsteins have been associated with Brick Landing since 1986, and in 2000 they built a home on the third fairway.
Gene Bonstein explains that Community Partners Golf will hire a greens superintendent, who will need seven to eight employees. It will hire another four to five people who will work at the clubhouse.
The final transfer of property is set for November 1, 2020, Baltzer says. “The good thing here is that the time, money and energy is being used productively instead of futilely,” he adds. “All we could do is give them the opportunity.” Community Partners will offer golf packages and incentives. “We will tailor it to get the most participation from the community,” McGill says. “We’re moving back into business and hope to put in front of [the public] a very good golf course with good service and a good experience for them.” “We had to find a way to make the thing work,” Baltzer adds. “I think we’ve managed to do that if it all comes together.”
Want more information about Brick Landing Golf Course:
Ken McGill (910) 755-5270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.