August 2017 Update

Originally posted July 31 by Bob Cole on Facebook

Well, the step we’ve been waiting for has finally happened…

Saddlebrook Golf Course is now owned by GGP Saddlebrook LLC! Green Golf Partners officially CLOSED on the purchase of the course July 27th.

  • Look out on the course. If you see a guy that looks like he played college football (which he did), that will be Tyler Boyd, our new Superintendent. Tyler has grown up on golf courses. His father is a golf course superintendent, too. And, Tyler knows EVERYTHING there is to know about turf, soil, sand, water, and everything else it takes to run a golf course. It’s also Tyler’s fault you’ve probably seen fewer geese around the course lately, too. He brings his Australian Shepherd to work every day, who LIVES to chase geese! Say HI to Tyler and his staff! We’ll be seeing a lot of them.
  • GGP has a GOAL of trying to open the driving range and the restaurant yet this fall. It depends on progress of both because they have to be done together to make good financial sense. So, watch this space for more news on openings.
  • Now that GGP owns the course, the restoration begins in earnest. They will be removing the dead trees that have cropped up all over the course; treating the ponds; fixing the irrigation system; fixing the clubhouse; repairing the bunkers. We should see lots of people at times!

Many of you have noticed GGP stripping and prepping the greens already. In early Fall, GGP will begin seeding the greens and the rest of the course. The greens are the most important part of the course. They were the most damaged by neglect. And, for the entire time until next spring they will be EXTREMELY FRAGILE. After seeding EVERYONE WILL HAVE TO STAY OFF THE ENTIRE COURSE. Not just the greens but the fairways and cart paths, too. EVERYTHING! 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No walking, jogging, running, walking dogs, riding bikes, fishing. All that will have to stop to protect the fragile turf. We’ve all enjoyed our “private park” for the past 18 months. However, this is what the largest part of our investment is going to! It will determine the ultimate success or failure of Saddlebrook Golf Course!

You’ll know when the seeding happens. There will be announcements, and GGP will put up signs. They might chain off the entrances. But we will ALL have to protect our investment by staying off the course…100%!

For everyone who has pledged, please remember ALL FINAL payments on pledges are due no later than November 15.  We owe the second payment on our financial commitment to GGP at that time, so it is very important that payments are made on time and in full.

Finally, for a final piece of good news… save the date, Sunday Nov. 5!
To thank everyone that has worked so hard to make this happen, when SO MANY people said it could never be done, and to celebrate the neighborhoods and our golf course, there will be a KICKOFF PARTY and CELEBRATION! Details are being worked on so more info to come. But it promises to be a real shindig, so plan on being there!

Thank you again for your support!!

July 2017 Update

Originally posted July 4 by Bob Cole on Facebook

Saw a beautiful rainbow over Saddlebrook this evening and realized how hard so many people have worked to save our golf course. Thanks to MORE PEOPLE THAN I CAN COUNT!

As of July 4 we have total pledges of $266,644. Even better, we have collected $166,753. We’ve more than met our commitment to pay Green Golf Partners $125,000 after they close. Thanks to everyone who’s pledged… everyone who’s paid, and all the friends out there collecting!

We have had people ask if they can still pledge or even increase their contribution. The answer is, YES! We will continue accepting contributions, as we have not reached our overall goal of $300,000.

The other question I hear is, if I increase my pledge will it count toward the “perks” GGP is offering? The answer there is also, YES. Different perks are offered at pledge levels of $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000.

Our remaining balance is due by November 15th, So, everyone’s pledges in total need to be paid in full by then. But, you don’t have to wait. Check out payment options here.

You’ve probably noticed that Saddlebrook is starting to look like a golf course again! GGP has actively been treating for weeds and mowing the course, which has made a huge difference. Their aquatics rep has been onsite and is developing plans to treat the ponds. They are also working up plans to fix the irrigation system, and to make sure the tunnel under 56th Street will be safe for years to come.

Saddlebrook’s new Superintendent, Tyler Boyd, started work on June 27th and will be directing the restoration of the course. I hope I can meet Tyler soon!

And the best news: Contracts are being drawn up and GGP hopes to close on Saddlebrook by July 14th! They’ll be the official owners of Saddlebrook!

June 2017 Update

Originally posted June 5 by Bob Cole on Facebook

Green Golf Partners (GGP) has completed its due diligence with First Financial Bank and plans to close on Saddlebrook Golf Course in July! GGP will continue mowing with more focused rehabilitation of the turf starting this month. You’ve probably already noticed an improvement in the look of the turf since they started mowing it. That’s the difference between a pro mowing the turf like a golf course with professional equipment, instead of one guy mowing it like someone’s yard with a Craftsman (mow, Forrest, mow)! GGP has already been out treating for weeds and they’ve trimmed along the fence line.

The Friends of Saddlebrook Capital Campaign remains open as we have raised $266,644 in pledges toward our overall goal of $300,000. It’s NOT too late to give to the campaign. Just click here to step up to the tee.

If you have already pledged, THANK YOU!! If you’ve pledged, but not paid yet, first payments are due by June 15. Here’s how:

Pay by check
Please make checks out to Friends of Saddlebrook. You can either give your check to your friendly campaign volunteer, or mail your check to:

Randall, Gentry & Pike
Attn: Saddlebrook Capital Campaign
3500 DePauw Blvd, Suite 2090
Indianapolis, IN, 46268

Pay by credit card
If you prefer to use a credit or debit card, click on the “Donate” button below. You will be redirected to PayPal for payment processing. Please consider increasing your contribution by 3% to cover the processing fees charged to the campaign by PayPal. If you have not already done so, be sure to also complete a pledge form so we will be able give credit where it’s due!

Thanks you for your great support. We will keep you updated as things begin to happen.

Watch our golf course come back!

April 2017 Update

Originally Posted April 23 by Bob Cole on Facebook

Last Thursday, April 20, we held a “Town Hall” meeting for Saddlebrook homeowners and neighbors. At least 100 people were in attendance. We appreciate everyone who attended, given the rain we had off and on all day! Many good questions came up, especially concerning golf course-related items like the condition of the ponds and the grass. Those issues can be taken care of by the second part of this recap…the golf course update. Ponds and grass are both items that Green Golf Partners has said they will take care of…if and when they take over the course.

It’s well within our reach to take care of these important homeowner issues. We need to work together to meet our fund-raising goal and ensure that Green Golf Partners will be our partner for years to come!

Lisa Cole, chair of the Capital Campaign Committee updated us on the progress of our Friends of Saddlebrook campaign and it is truly amazing! A lot of thanks has to go out to the members of the committee, both from Saddlebrook and our neighbors. They have put in many hours of work planning this campaign, and going door-to-door to make it a reality! Two of the partners of GGP were at the meeting to answer questions. Mike Shaw, President of GGP, is truly amazed at our progress and excited about taking over Saddlebrook Golf Course!

Our campaign began in earnest April 1 with a goal of raising $300,000. $250,000 will go to GGP for the restoration of the course and $50,000 is for our use in the repair of the fence. In just 3 weeks we have received pledges for…drum roll, please…just over $215,000! And this is after participation, so far, of fewer than 50% of the homes in Saddlebrook! We also need to recognize the hard work, and many contributions of our neighbors in Northern Estates, Melbourne Place, Morningside and Kessler Greene. They realize that Saddlebrook Golf Course is truly a neighborhood resource!

This is our only chance at saving Saddlebrook Golf Course. If we can’t reach our goal and make this happen it will not be a golf course. And, rest assured, the bank WILL sell the land. Take a look at the way it looks right now. That abandoned, weed-ridden next-door neighbor is a FRACTION of what it will look like in time! Not to mention the other development (apartments?) we will certainly see there.

Our work is not done. Although the campaign is asking everyone who can to contribute at a leadership level of $1,000 or more, what is needed now is for EVERYONE to participate at whatever level they feel comfortable. 100% participation is important!

Our campaign got a front-page, feature article in the Indianapolis Business Journal this weekend. We are so close to our $250K goal to GGP we can almost taste it! Less than $35,000 and we reach our first goal…the saving of Saddlebrook! If we can get pledges of $215,000 in just 3 weeks… come on everyone…let’s pitch in and get the last $35,000!

Recap of Feb. 20, 2017 Saddlebrook Golf Course Community Meeting

(Originally posted by Bob Cole on Nextdoor)

Monday night was a great meeting, with 217 neighbors, city and state officials in attendance! It was a year ago this week the auction signs went up, and now we have some great news to share.

Green Golf Partners, a leading golf course management and development company is currently negotiating a purchase agreement to buy Saddlebrook Golf Course. They are a neighborhood/family oriented company, operating 16 golf courses in Indiana, the Midwest and Florida. And they are excited about bringing Saddlebrook back to what it was when it was a successful, well-kept, reasonably-priced public course.

Once GGP gets a signed purchase agreement, they will begin a due diligence period. They hope to close on the sale in July. Immediate work would begin on the driving range, with the goal of opening it in the summer or fall. Then the work will continue on, with plans to officially re-open the course for play in the spring of 2018.

Our golf course had already been in decline before it went up for auction a year ago. Since then it has continued to decline, and has been vandalized. It is in worse shape now and it will take significant work and money to restore the course back to playing shape. The challenge has been that First Financial Bank has not been willing to negotiate on its asking price to accommodate the nearly 50% additional cost potential buyers have estimated restoration will cost.

Over the past year our committee has explored many alternatives, including talking to different golf course operators, leaving the greenspace as a park, even considering purchasing the courses ourselves, as a neighborhood association. Restoring the land to a successful golf course again is the most appropriate option yet no golf course operator is willing to buy the course without help with the restoration costs.

GGP has presented the most reasonable and SUCCESSFUL option for our community we have found. They estimate it will cost $300,000 to restore the course, including completely reseeding the greens, repairing the clubhouse and buildings, repairing cart paths/bridges as needed, replacing the driving range nets, and repairing the fence, among other projects. GGP has asked our community to support these restoration costs.

This would NOT be a contribution to help buy or operate the course. It would be a one- time investment in the infrastructure to bring back the course. This investment is actually very reasonable, considering that losing the golf course would conservatively cost $5.4 MILLION in lost home values in our neighborhood!

Saddlebrook golf course is important to ALL of us—whether you live on the course or not, live in Saddlebrook or not, play golf or not—we all enjoy the beauty, the wildlife, the walkability of it, the peacefulness, the security, the added value an amenity like this brings to our homes and community. Now, we all need to come together to do our part to ensure Saddlebrook stays a golf course community.
We are forming a Capital Campaign Committee of neighbors to develop and execute a plan for raising the contribution. We are even working on ways to possibly make this a tax-deductible donation for the homeowners. We have 341 homes in Saddlebrook alone, not to mention our other concerned neighbors. To have a successful campaign, our goal is 100% participation. More information will be coming. We need to determine our level of support by the time GGP is completing its due diligence period.

Green Golf Partners is VERY good news! But, it’s important to remember this deal will not close without our support. And if this deal doesn’t close, there are NO more options left other than our land will remain vacant or worse will be sold to a developer.

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