July 6, 2014

Rock Hill’s Waterford Golf Club to be sold Monday at foreclosure

Waterford Golf Club, one of two public 18-hole courses in Rock Hill, is scheduled to be sold Monday at a foreclosure sale.

Waterford Golf Club, one of two public 18-hole courses in Rock Hill, is scheduled to be sold Monday at a foreclosure sale.

Waterford – located along the Catawba River in the Waterford Business Park off Dave Lyle Boulevard – is the last of five Carolina Trail courses once owned by Jeff Silverstein to be sold at foreclosure.

Those courses ran into financial and other troubles under Silverstein, who announced last year that the courses were headed into foreclosure.

The other four courses are in North Carolina – Birkdale Golf Club in Huntersville, Highland Creek Golf Club in Charlotte, The Divide Golf Club in Matthews, and The Tradition Golf Club in Charlotte, which is owned by Mecklenburg County but was leased by Carolina Trail.

The lien holder, the Romspen Mortgage Investment Fund of Toronto, has taken possession of the courses and hired Traditional Golf Properties of Virginia to manage them.

Traditional Golf Properties officials said it would be premature to discuss any changes at Waterford before the foreclosure sale.

Carolina Trail golf memberships or any other annual passes, playing privileges, memberships or coupons will end and will not be assumed by the new owner, according to Traditional Golf Properties.

Tom Webb, a former Winthrop University administrator who has worked and played at Waterford, wants Rock Hill to buy the course.

“We had an excellent course many years ago,” he said.

The course, designed by golfing great Hale Irwin, has deteriorated over time, Webb said, with weeds on the greens, sandless bunkers and overgrown approaches that make it difficult to see the greens and pin placements.

It also no longer has the three tee placements that were named for the sites of Irwin’s U.S. Open championships – Winged Foot, Inverness and Medinah – Webb said.

Rock Hill already has a history of excellent athletic facilities, such Cherry Park, Manchester Meadows and the two new cycling facilities, he said, and golf should be added to that list.

“This is a golden time to step in,” Webb said. “This will be the cheapest way to buy a golf course and give it a future.”

Webb estimates the course could be bought for about $2.5 million, with about $700,000 in improvements needed.

Traditional Golf Properties officials declined to name a possible price and cost of improvements, pending the foreclosure sale. However, the company has invested “substantial” improvements at the Charlotte Club it manages, said Mike Riddle who oversees those clubs.

Dennis Harrington, a Waterford Golf Club member, said some golfers hope favorable things happen with the foreclosure.

“Hopefully they will recruit new ownership, management that will restore Waterford,” he said.

Rock Hill City Manager David Vehaun said City Council has heard Webb’s request and is considering its options.

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