The Villa Monterey golf course, which has a reputation for being the little golf course that no one could make work, now has a buyer. The defunct 36-acre nine-hole course at 8100 E. Camelback Road has changed hands three times in less than three years.
And now it is about to be sold again. The course is going into escrow this week, said Robert McGarey, president of Southwest Retail Group, which owns the course. “We’re selling it. We are patient. . . . It’s coming close (to being finalized),” McGarey said.
In escrow, a neutral third party typically holds money and documents in a real estate sale until all terms and conditions of the sale are met.
McGarey did not name the Phoenixbased company that intends to buy the golf course and declined to reveal the selling price.
Whether the new owner will reopen the site as a public golf course remains unanswered. McGarey said he does not know what the buyer’s plans are, and city officials said they were not aware of the pending sale.
The land where the golf course is located is in a flood plain and is limited by its deed to outdoor recreation.
McGarey’s company bought the golf course for an undisclosed amount in mid-December from prominent golf instructor Bobby Eldridge. Before that, Eldridge and a business partner bought the course from Minnesota residents Harvey and Carol Ann Mackay. Before that it was owned by the Arizona Golf Association.
Villa Monterey operated as an executive course for years but developed a reputation for financial troubles. It first closed temporarily in 2000 and reopened after individuals contributed $80,000. It had closed again by spring of that year.
McGarey said the selling price was just over $2 million and that more than 10 offers have been made in the past 30 days. Two potential buyers expressed interest in turning the property into an executive course, he said.
He said he thinks the city should have bought it and incorporated it into its overall park plan.
Scottsdale spokesman Mike Phillips and Neighborhood Services director Raun Keagy said Monday they were unaware there was a buyer. Phillips said the city, which never had plans to buy and manage the course, hopes someone will make a go of it.
Some neighbors have complained about the course being left fallow.
Bill Watkins, 82, who lives in a condominium beside the course, said, “Clean it up and make it either a golf course or a park.”
He said the once-nice course “just went down to nothing,” diminishing his property’s value. For example, a pond near his condo is overgrown with weeds, he said.
Eileen Young, 60, president of the La Villita Homeowners Association, characterized the course as “an eyesore.”
Young has lived in her townhome near the course 11 years. She said residents want to see it put to good use, as a golf course or a park.
“As long as people use it, they’ll be happy. Right now it’s nothing more than a gopher farm,” Young said.
Early this month, the city notified McGarey the course was in violation of city code because of “significant ‘grow over’ of plant material” at two of the course’s five ponds.
Keagy said the two ponds are a concern because they could become mosquito breeding grounds.
In addition, Keagy said some residents complained of a reported gopher infestation. City crews have not confirmed that, and mounds of dirt on the course from unfinished landscape work might appear to be gopher nests, he said.
In a March 3 notice of violation, the city also told McGarey he needs to provide adequate irrigation to restore the now-dormant Bermuda grass.
McGarey said the course is not in violation of city code, adding that the ponds are “in good shape” and are not breeding pools for mosquitoes.