The Golf Club at Vistoso received a lifeline from a consortium out of Phoenix that will allow the shuttered course to reopen.
The 18-hole facility, which closed on June 6, was bought by longtime course operator Alan Mishkin via the Parks Legacy Project out of escrow Aug. 15.
The group purchased the Tom Wiskopf-designed championships links course for $3.5 million, with the longtime course operator estimating another $2.5 million to be spent on rebuilding and replacing the facility’s aging infrastructure.
The project owned 24 courses around the country, including the Biltmore golf courses in Phoenix.
Advisor Peter Robbeloth believes that the course’s future can be successful, so long as the neighboring residents support the complex.
“[The course’s] in disarray and it needs clean up, and it needs repairs,” he said. “So, it loses a lot of money. So, you can’t just spend $3.5 million for the golf course and another half-million to open it.”
Robbeloth said the key to making Vistoso work is to redesign the course into a more user-friendly layout, while making the amenities affordable to residents. His team plans to charge $40 a month in membership fees for those that live on the course, while those living in other parts of the Vistoso neighborhood would pay $20. Such an investment would allow the course to operate successfully, which Roebbeloth said is vital to keeping house values up in the area.
“When you take an amenity like this away, then all of the houses lose value, all of them,” he said. “Those homes are going to drop in value, affecting the overall average of all of the homes in the area. And then, that amenity isn’t there anymore. So, it has an adverse effect on everybody.”
Longtime Vistoso Home Owners Association Vice President Les Henson agrees with Robbeloth's perspective, describing how important a functional course is to the community as a whole.
“There would be a big effect on property values around here if it were to close permanently,” he said. “So, I think everybody’s in favor of seeing it reopen.”
Henson, who has lived in the neighborhood for two decades, said he’s seen firsthand how far the course’s conditions dragged under former operator OB Sports. He’s thrilled to see investment in the facility and believes the future is bright so long as it remains in operation.
Robbeloth touched on a similar topic on Wednesday, Aug. 22, saying community members will benefit in the long run from their investment from a number of standpoints.
One such leg they’ll have to stand on is the right to go to court should the course fall into disrepair in the future, thanks to the monthly membership fees that will be deeded to the community’s homes.
“You have a legal mechanism inside this transaction for the homeowners association to be able to come in and make their voices heard,” Robbeloth said. “They can use those dues and fees as a lean on the property, in order to protect the premium that they paid for.”
Robbeloth expects the course to open in the first part of 2019, saying his company plans on rebuilding the course’s sand bunkers, tee boxes, greens and irrigation systems in the coming months.
He knows that the course’s fate would have been much more dire if they did not step in and purchase it, which he believes is a positive for Oro Valley as a whole.
“If it doesn’t get bought now, the golf course is closed,” he said. “The water is turned off except for the greens right now. If we don’t buy it, the water on the greens gets turned off and the golf course stops.”
This story has been updated.