PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island – The sale of Metacomet Country Club, a 117-year old Donald Ross-design with a treasure-trove of Ocean State golf history, is hardly breaking news, so pending any last-minute changes, the property will transfer to a new “for-profit” ownership on March 29.
The new investment group, Metacomet Property Company, has purchased the 105-acres of real estate & all assets of the club for a reported $2.2 million, along with an estimated debt of about $1.5 million.
According to a letter presented exclusively to New England dot Golf and addressed to the current membership dated March 19, 2019, the new officers are five high-profile, wealthy Rhode Island businessmen: Brad Faxon, Steve Napoli, Brendan VanDeventer, Karl Augenstein and Tim Fay.
Faxon, a born-and-bred Rhode Islander, is a former member dating back to the 1970s and has played on the PGA TOUR & Champions Tour in a 30-year pro golf career earning almost $20 million. Napoli is a former head professional at Wannamoisett and the director of golf at Liberty National in New Jersey. VanDeventer is founder of Riparian Partners which is a high-net worth Merger & Acquisition Company. Tim Fay is President of Stone Street Corp, a real estate & development company. And, Karl Augenstein owns & manages Triggs Memorial Golf Course.
Due to a number of reasons the club had fallen on hard financial times since the recession of 2008. Older members disappeared, dues increased, assessments were constant, few millennials joined and the general decline of golf as a sport took its toll and the remaining members (under 150) made a decision to sell last summer.
The property was listed by Marcus & Millichap, the largest real estate investment brokerage firm in the nation, in October for $3.5 million. The listing spurred a flurry of interest from about 60 prospective parties and, no surprise, the Brad Faxon investment group won out.
“A lot of opportunities pop up, and I couldn’t pass on this one,” Faxon stated in an interview with the Providence Journal. “I’ve been playing here since the 1970s with my Dad. I played the club championships and the father-son events here and won the club championship once. This can be a great course once again.”
In a letter to club members dated January 2019, from then- Metacomet Club President Eric Churchill, the conditions of the sale included:
• Will assume 100% of debt
• No financing contingency; private equity to complete the transaction
• Estimated $1.5 million in planned investment into Club facilities, infrastructure and golf course
• Guaranteed 15% discount off market dues for most members
• No future assessments
• A new dues structure for members under 40 and other classes of members
• Reduction of F & B minimums to $75 per nine months
• Maintain Club members tournaments
• Engagement of existing members in governance/transition
• Hiring of a Club manager and experienced F & B operator
• Restricted outside play only during traditionally slow times
• Proposed redevelopment of two holes for future residential development while preserving the integrity of the Donald Ross original design
• Maintain access to practice facilities.
“The goal here is to restore the club to its former glory,” Steve Napoli, a well-known & respected golf industry executive told the Providence Journal. “That’s the goal. I think the current membership, and our new members, will be very pleased.”
(Editor Note: This is the first in a series of reports on the sale of Metacomet Country Club.)