Golf

Bay Pointe Golf Club in west Oakland County seeks buyer at $8.95 million

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The Bay Pointe Golf Club in western Oakland County has been listed for sale for $8.95 million.

Spread across 140 acres ($63,929 per acre), the property that sits in both West Bloomfield and Commerce townships includes about 2,300 feet of Middle Straits Lake frontage and a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse, restaurant and banquet facility that can accommodate up to about 350 people, according to marketing materials from Farmington Hills-based Friedman Real Estate, which has the listing.

The materials say about 41 acres of the property is water.

Robert Hibbert, senior vice president of brokerage services for Friedman, said the Fuller family has owned the property for decades but isn’t closing it down any time soon, pending a sale.

“They are still booking banquets and events,” Hibbert said. “They are mostly full through 2021 and the owner will not allow the property to close or trade hands until they honor those reservations.”

The property is owned by E. A. Fuller Oak Management Corp., according to West Bloomfield property records. That entity is registered to Janet Lekas in Leonard.

Hibbert said the property would be ideally sold to either another golf course/banquet hall owner or operator; a developer looking to create a small residential enclave with only a handful of private lakefront estates; or a corporate user for use as a corporate retreat.

Bay Pointe Golf Club was built in 1966 and is surrounded by some of the most popular courses in metro Detroit, including high profile private clubs such as Oakland Hills. Bay Pointe was private until opening up to the public in 2006, a strategy used by some clubs to generate revenue amid a general decline in membership.

Fuller Oak Management also operates Addison Oaks Buhl Estate, an Oakland County-owned wedding banquet, and Glen Oaks, a golf course also owned by the county.

The listing comes about three months after equity members of Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills rejected a sale of the 104-acre property to Pennsylvania-based homebuilder Toll Bros. (NYSE: TOL)

The western Oakland County suburbs are familiar with golf courses being sold for redevelopment.

The Commerce Township Downtown Development Authority bought the Links of Pinewood Golf Course and El Dorado Country Club in the early 2000s as part of a plan that ultimately became a roughly 330-acre chunk of land around M-5 and Pontiac Trail being redeveloped into a mix of uses.

In White Lake Township, the Bogie Lake Golf Club that closed in the early 2000s was converted into the The Hills of Bogie Lake subdivision.

Elsewhere in the region, the Maple Lane Golf Club in Sterling Heights was sold to Auburn Hills-based homebuilder Moceri Cos. Also in Sterling Heights, the former Sunnybrook Golf & Bowling Inc. site at 17 Mile and Van Dyke roads was sold to Detroit-based Sterling Group and Farmington Hills-based design/build construction company J.B. Donaldson Co. for a new manufacturing development.

The Forest Lake and Bay Pointe sales explorations came as Michigan’s and the country’s golf industry undergoes a market correction following a nearly 20-year golf course building boom between 1986 and 2005, when 4,923 courses were added — an average of 259 per year — increasing the country’s supply by 44 percent.

Nearly 200 courses closed nationwide in 2018 and a little more than 200 closed in 2017, according to the National Golf Foundation, while only 12 opened in 2018 and 15 opened in 2017. There were 16,693 courses nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2018, with 12,354 public and 4,339 private, the foundation says.

Michigan, long considered a golf mecca, overall has seen its supply of courses shrink. By the turn of the century, the state had at least 1,000 courses. That number is down to around 750, according to the National Golf Foundation, and likely to fall further. The last significant course to be built in Michigan was the Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club near Roscommon in 2016.

Despite a slow start for Michigan golf due to the COVID-19 shutdown and the initial ban on cart use, golf courses thrived this season. However, the banquet halls and restaurants that often make up half the revenue for the seasonal businesses are still suffering.

“Most courses experienced an increase of rounds up from 2019,” Jada Paisley, executive director of the Michigan Golf Course Association, said in an email. “However, banquet business (weddings, meetings, etc) for our courses was down anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent, resulting in an overall loss for the golf courses.”

Nationally, rounds of golf in November were up nearly 57 percent from the same time last year, according to a monthly report by Golf Datatech, a golf industry market research firm. This puts the golf industry is 13 percent ahead of 2019’s pace, despite 20 million rounds lost to COVID-19 in the spring.

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