Two local golf courses to be auctioned online

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Two public golf courses east of Pittsburgh are up for sale.

The Glengarry Golf Links in Unity, south of Latrobe, and the Phoenix at Buffalo Valley in Armstrong County near Freeport, are being offered at a December auction.

Both courses are owned by the Vincent Nese Construction Co. in Monroeville. Sheldon Good & Co. in New York City, a nationwide real estate auctioneer, is conducting the sale.

"The owner is going to refocus his business in his primary area of construction," said Mark Troen, a Pittsburgh native who is chief operating officer of Sheldon Good.

The deadline for sealed bids is Dec. 18.

Both courses will remain open during the winter, weather permitting, and will be open next year, even if they are not sold, according to a spokesman.

"Glengarry is reminiscent of the famed Scottish Links in Scotland," Mr. Troen said. "It is set with a beautiful backdrop of the Laurel Highlands and it has tall native grasses and numerous elevation changes. The word 'links' means 'rising ground or ridges,' and this course has those. It also has six lakes, and as is typical of the Scottish courses, few big trees."

The golf course is located at 168 Lenz Road, Latrobe, and was built in 1999 with a planned development of 54 single family homes surrounding it.

Eight unsold home sites can be included in the sale, as well.

Jeff Mansfield of Greensburg, has been a regular at Glengarry for the past five years.

"It's a great little golf course," he said. "I'm 60 and it's not too long and not too difficult."

"Both of these golf courses generate nice revenues," Mr. Troen said.

He said an estimated 30,000 rounds will be played at Glengarry this year, and the property features a spacious clubhouse, restaurant and grill with indoor and outdoor seating and a fully stocked pro-shop. Projected revenue for 2012 is more than $1 million.

Glengarry has a good catering business and non-golf activities, he said.

The Phoenix at Buffalo Valley was previously known as Buffalo Valley Country Club. The property, located at 499 Freeport Road, just north of Freeport, reopened in 2011 after a major renovation.

A spokesman said all greens and fairways were redone and reconditioned and some holes were redesigned, with some trees and bunkers removed.

It has a restaurant and bar, as well, and the parkland-style course is located in a rural area of scenic mature trees and rolling hills, and features eight lakes and signature white sand traps.

Buffalo Valley is located near the Allegheny River and is close to the Freeport exit of Route 28. The counties of Westmoreland, Allegheny, Butler and Armstrong all meet within a few miles.

Mr. Troen said an auction, rather than a sale, accelerates the process because it sets a deadline, and the market sets the price. His company has an online brochure, with financial figures for buyers to review, and open houses will be scheduled.

Golf is a popular sport in Western Pennsylvania. There are approximately 500 golf courses in Western Pa., according to the Sheldon Good company, and most area high schools have competitive golf teams.

Bob Allshouse, of the Westmoreland County Golf Association, doesn't believe there are too many golf courses in the area. He said that junior golf is strong in Western Pennsylvania, and the organization promotes competition and tournaments to challenge young golfers.

He said golf also remains popular with area seniors, as well.

"Working-age people, with busy kids and careers, don't have as much time," he said. "And golf is more time consuming than going out and playing tennis for an hour."

According to the American Association of Retired People, nearly 9 million people age 50 and over are hitting the links, making up 34 percent of all U.S. golfers. There were 28.6 million golfers in the United States in 2009, according to the National Golf Foundation.

Mr. Allshouse noted the popularity of the links-style of golf courses took off in the mid-2000s.

"You saw Oakmont Country Club, which had allowed several mature trees to grow over 70 years, cut them some of them down to return to the original links concept of the course that began in Scotland."

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Debra Duncan, freelance writer:


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