A local group that develops senior housing has acquired the Golf Club of Indiana in southern Boone County near Zionsville and is planning improvements to the course.
The buyers plan to upgrade the 18-hole course on more than 150 rolling acres, which over the years has played host to the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman, said Todd Glowacki, the course's head golf pro.
The course, designed by Mickey Powell and Charles Maddox, opened in 1974.
The buyer is SL Development Inc., a for-profit affiliate of the not-for-profit Baptist Homes of Indiana Inc., which in 2010 bought 175 acres that surround the course from another lender.
The seller was Missouri-based Middleton Properties Inc., which acquired the mortgage on the club after the original lender was seized by the FDIC. A developer that owned the property before it went back to the lender had hoped to build homes there.
Director of Golf Jeff Rubenstein said the new owners plan to continue operating the property as a golf course with the same management and staff. He said the deal closed July 7. Terms were not disclosed.
The site could make sense for homes or apartments someday but most likely will remain a golf course for the "foreseeable future," said Ross Reller, director of land services for the Indiana operation of Colliers International.
"We have too much of everything, including golf courses," Reller said. "But I don't think there's a higher and better use at the moment."
The deal comes almost a year after a lender unloaded the surrounding land at a fire-sale price.
Baptist Homes, a developer of senior housing that owns the 150-acre Hoosier Village complex near 96th Street and Zionsville Road, closed on a deal in September 2010 to buy 175 acres that surround Golf Club of Indiana.
The property just southwest of Interstate 65 and State Road 334 had been owned by a unit of Huntington Bank, which took the property back from previous owner Fellowship Investments.
Huntington had the property listed with Reller for $1.75 million, but in August, the bank told Reller to drop the price and find a cash buyer who could close quickly. Reller declined to disclose final terms of the deal with Baptist Homes.
Several central Indiana courses closed in 2010, including Big Pine Golf Course, Dye Golf at Sagamore Resort, Fishback Creek Golf Club, Frankfort Country Club and Glen Miller Golf Course.
Even high-end courses have suffered. The Sagamore Club, the once-ballyhooed Jack Nicklaus-designed course near State Road 37 and 166th Street in Noblesville, was perilously near bankruptcy in 2009 before Nebraska-based Landscapes Unlimited LLC bought out three other partners in the club and took over the surrounding residential development from South Carolina-based Melrose Cos.
"For several years, this market has been overbuilt with too many courses while the number of players simply hasn't been increasing at near the same rate," Mike David, executive director of the Indiana Golf Office, the organizing and sanctioning body for golf in Indiana, said in 2010.
IBJ Reporter Anthony Schoettle contributed to this story, which has been updated from an earlier version to add the identity of the buyer.