After a hiatus of more than two years, activities are expected to begin again at the Plantation Palms Golf Course.
A new owner took possession on May 16 and plans to get the golf course’s fairways and greens ready for use within a few months.
Bill Place, owner of Ace Golf Inc., bought the golf course and clubhouse for about $700,000 in a short sale approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. His general manager picked up the keys to the clubhouse at the closing, said Rob Rochlin of Dennis Realty.
Place is on vacation in Africa.
In an email sent to The Laker/Lutz News in late April, Place said he hoped to have the golf course open within four months.
After years of neglect, the golf course needs extensive work, including restoration of the fairways and greens, Place said, in a later email on May 18.
“Grass and weeds grew up to 6 feet high!” Place said. “The greens are all dead, and most of the fairways will have to be re-grassed.”
Almost everything from the parking lot to the clubhouse has to be renewed.
“It’s been an eyesore,” said Tim Hodes, president of the Plantation Palms Homeowners Association. But, he added, “We’re embracing it and looking forward to it reopening.”
A low estimate on the cost to get the golf course ready would be about $800,000, Rochlin said.
With the rainy season around the corner, he added, “You have the window of opportunity. Now is the time to get it right.”
Place said social and golf memberships will be available, with public play during most hours.
In addition, the more than 800 Plantation Palms’ residents will support the renovations by purchasing social memberships for each of the next five years. Plans also are to add a 3,000-square-foot banquet room overlooking the golf course. It will be available for weddings, meetings and other events.
Place said he expects to open a version of Mulligan’s Irish Pub at Plantation Palms, similar to restaurants at other golf courses owned by Ace Golf.
Plantation Palms’ golf course is regarded as one of the top courses in Tampa Bay, with a 4-star rating from Golf Digest, Place said in his email.
Rochlin has been marketing the 156-acre golf course for two years. It also has a driving range, clubhouse, restaurant and bar.
MJS Golf Group bought the property in 2011 for about $2.1 million, financed by the Native American Bank of Denver. But, owners Mitchell Osceola, Jayson Ray and Steven McDonald were plagued with recurring financial losses and debts.
The course shut down briefly in 2013, then reopened briefly, only to close for good in May 2014.
Rocky Morgan of GSP Business Alliance stepped forward in 2015 to say he would buy the course. But, Rochlin said Morgan never came through with money to finance the sale.
Because the mortgage holder – Native American Bank of Denver – serves Native Americans, the short sale had to be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Place has extensive experience in golf course and driving range management in the Tampa Bay area.
His company, Ace Golf, owns and operates Crescent Oaks and Wentworth golf clubs in Tarpon Springs, and Pebble Creek in New Tampa. Place also has driving ranges in Brandon and Riverview.
Plantation Palms was an attractive acquisition, Place said, because of its proximity to his other golf courses and the huge growth on State Road 54.
“I think the right guy got it,” Rochlin said.
Published May 25, 2016