LAKEWOOD RANCH — In a long-awaited move, the lender Textron Financial Corp., which took over Legacy Golf Course’s $6.7 million debt in August of 2009 to avoid foreclosure, sold the course in late December 2012.
A subsidiary of Och-Ziff Capital Management, a New-York based hedge fund, bought the course for about $3 million.
It financed the purchase with a $3.6 million loan.
Och-Ziff, an alternative asset manager with about $31.9 billion in assets, hired Christovich and Associates of Oviedo to manage the course.
Providence, R.I.-based company Textron Financial has been wanting to shed Legacy from day one, when it took over for Troon Golf after the course cited fewer golfers playing public and member rounds, said Brian Richter, who has managed Legacy for Textron since 2009.
Richter, who is still with Legacy after the management change, said he’s seen more activity around the course lately, which gives its new owner flexibility to spend money.
“They (Och-Ziff) will keep Legacy a high-end facility and can put a little extra money into it for improvements,” Richter said. “I’ve seen more excitement around here lately. But (golf) is still a luxury item, and at the higher end of it, and with the economy down, we’re still not at a profitable point yet.”
Golf legend Arnold Palmer designed Legacy, an 18-hole, 200-acre course that Schroeder-Manatee Ranch built.
It opened in March 1997 and was soon acquired by Arizona-based Troon Golf.
In 2009, public rounds dropped 8.5% from the year before, while member rounds fell 2.5% from 2008.
Troon tried to negotiate with its lender to change the structure of the property’s debt, but was unsuccessful.
Textron soon took over.
Och-Ziff has not released specific plans about the property.
Richter shut down speculation that Och-Ziff would flip Legacy in a few years and turn a profit on it.
“They (Och-Ziff) are not in the business of flipping,” Richter said.
An Och-Ziff Capital Management spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected]