An unidentified party has submitted an offer to buy The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, the financially troubled golf course in Sheboygan Falls.
The offer, for $2.2 million, was presented to Wisconsin Bank and Trust this week, three weeks before the course is tentatively scheduled to be sold at a sheriff’s auction June 23.
The offer is substantially below what the bank is owed by the course’s former owners. Last fall, a foreclosure judgment showed the course’s owners were in default to the bank for more than $4.2 million. The course, the only Jack Nicklaus design in Wisconsin, was set to put up for sale at a sheriff's auction in January before the owners filed for bankruptcy, halting the auction. Then in April, the bank agreed to accept an offer of $3.1 million for The Bull, but that offer was withdrawn at nearly the last moment, leaving The Bull’s future in limbo and leading to the second scheduled sheriff's auction.
Virginia George, the lawyer appointed as bankruptcy court trustee to oversee the sale of the course, said this week she is hopeful the new offer will end the uncertainty and allow a new owner to take over the golf operation.
“I don’t see any reason why the bank wouldn’t accept it,” she said. “The terms are substantially similar to the first offer … the price is lower, but that’s something the bank has known it wasn’t likely to get.”
In addition, she said, if the bank should get ownership of the property through the sheriff’s sale it would incur annual holding costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“This is the second best offer they’ve had in two years, so it’s really up to the bank what they want to do. The bank has to make a business decision on what it wants to do.”
The previous bidder, Milwaukee businessman Scott Molitor, cited unspecified issues he discovered during due diligence in explaining why he withdrew his offer. George said the new bidder has been conducting due diligence already even before submitting his signed offer.
The Bull at Pinehurst Farms opened in 2003 on the site of a longtime cattle breeding operation, but despite finding a place on numerous “best” course lists struggled to achieve profitability. The property is immediately adjacent to the two celebrated Kohler courses at Blackwolf Run.
The bank’s attorney said recently the course is being maintained so that a new owner would be able to open it for play.