New York-based asset management group purchases Legacy Golf Club

Lakewood Ranch course purchased for $2.2 million

twolfrum@bradenton.comJanuary 18, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A New York-based capital management group known for gobbling up undervalued properties has purchased Legacy Golf Club, and that may mean one of the area's top courses will become even more attractive to golfers.

OS Legacy LLC, a subsidiary of Och-Ziff Capital Management, purchased the course from SPE Go Holdings for $2.2 million on Dec. 27. That is $4.5 million less than the price SPE Go Holding's parent company, Textron Financial Corp., paid to acquire the Arnold Palmer-designed course in October 2009.

Och-Ziff financed the deal with a $3.6 million loan from Bank of America, according to clerk of court records.

Legacy General Manager Brian Richter said he expects the new owners to make an impact through course improvements. The course has 40 employees.

"It's definitely a good thing," Richter said. "Being bank-owned, you can only do so much."

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Och-Ziff Capital, declined comment Thursday.

SPE Go Holdings acquired Legacy from Troon for $6.7 million in October 2009.

Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch built the semi-private, Arnold Palmer-designed course in 1997 before selling it to Troon for $4 million in 1998.

Richter said business has been steady since he assumed his position in September 2009. A steep decline in play after 2006 forced Troon to default on its mortgage and turn the course over to Textron in 2009.

Och-Ziff has brought in a new management company to run the course.

"We've been functioning fine here," Richter said. "They're going to fine-tune some stuff. We're definitely going to try to improve some areas of the course."

Several area courses have been undergoing management changes.

Manatee County turned over operation of Buffalo Creek and the Manatee County course to Sarasota-based Pope Golf. The company recently added the private River Wilderness Golf and Country Club in Parrish to its arsenal, and ground was broken on a new course in Lakewood Ranch this week. That new course is scheduled to open next fall, bringing the total of Pope Golf-operated courses in Manatee County to four.

Tim Wolfrum, Herald sports editor, can be reached at 941-745-7052.

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