Buyer’s restoration of Saddlebrook Golf Course under way

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Neighbors who raised $250,000 to help save the northwest-side Saddlebrook Golf Course will gather there early next month to celebrate their achievement.

The public course, an anchor for the neighborhood bounding West 56th Street in Pike Township, closed in late 2015 after Indianapolis-based owner Cooprider Golf & Recreation Inc. defaulted on a $2.4 million bank loan.

Friends of Saddlebrook LLC, the entity neighbors formed to help save the course, raised the money to bring the course back to playing condition. Danville-based Green Golf Partners, which bought the course in late July, is using the funds to restore the entire course and clubhouse in preparation of a spring opening.

IBJ reported in April that Green Golf had signed an agreement to buy the course. Marion County assessor records show the company paid $342,048 for the 131-acre property.

Neighbors on Nov. 5 will get a sneak peek at the progress that’s been made so far. The “Saddlebrook is Back” event is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the clubhouse. Presentations will be made by both Green Golf and public officials, and a silent auction supporting Friends of Saddlebrook will be conducted.

“The golf course was too important to the beauty and value of our neighborhood to lose,” Lisa Cole, chairwoman of the Saddlebrook campaign, said in written remarks. “We had to try and be part of the solution. In Green Golf Partners, we’ve found more than a buyer, we’ve found a true partner.”

Green Golf manages 15 golf courses and clubs in five states, including Kemper Lakes Golf Club in suburban Chicago, which will host the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Saddlebrook is the first course Green Golf owns.

“Our purchase would not have been economically viable without the neighbor-driven capital campaign,” Green Golf CEO Matt McIntee said in written remarks. “We’re grateful for the ‘Friends’ investment, which goes a long way to ensuring the future of Saddlebrook.”

The greens, fairways, bunkers, ponds and irrigation system all accrued extensive damage during the course’s closure, Green Golf said.

The clubhouse and restaurant are set to reopen yet this fall, before the course. Green Golf is partnering with Rolyno’s Original Pizza, which has four locations in the metropolitan area, to offer dine-in, carryout and delivery.

Rolyno’s will offer samples during the Nov. 5 celebration.

Indianapolis-based RN Thompson developed Saddlebrook in 1992 and expanded it to 18 holes two years later.

An overall glut of courses that cropped up nationwide in the 1990s, as golf rose in popularity, led to scores of closures during the recession, though the shakeout continues today.

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