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Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 12:46 PM
By Diane Lederman, The Republican

AMHERST – A partner and owner in a New Jersey-based golf course management company paid $1,000,050 for the Hickory Ridge Country Clubat a TD Bank foreclosure auction Thursday.

Jay Craig, a partner in Appliedgolf in Millstone Township, N.J., said he doesn’t know if he will own the course personally or whether his company will own it. He owns three other courses himself. Appliedgolf owns and manages about 13 courses from New Jersey to St. Petersburg, Fla., he said.

Hickory Ridge is the furthest north the company has gone.

There were several other unidentified bidders. The auction opened at $1 million but when no one bid, the price was dropped to $750,000 before climbing back up.

The 18-hole course includes a restaurant, banquet facility and pro shop. According to the latest assessor’s records, the 150-acre course is valued at nearly $1.3 million.

Craig said he had been talking to former owner Douglas Harper, who bought the course in 2003 for about $3.5 million, for 2½ years about purchasing the course before the bank “forced the issue,” he said. “We’re on very friendly terms,” he said.

He said some of the staff will remain.

Craig said the course will focus on a semi-private model, which caters to its members and invited guests.

He was hoping to open the course in about two weeks, but declined to bid on the equipment sold at auction separately. He didn’t think it was worth the $75,000 the bank bid. He said he hopes to open in mid-April and will send out mailings to members today.

About 100 people packed the banquet room for the auction, including many golfers who waited after the auction to hear the course’s fate.

Patty Freedson of Belchertown has golfed the course for 20 years. “I love the course, I love the people.” she said.

Hadley resident Michael Pequignot has also played at the course for 20 years. “It’s a great course. Great people, it’s convenient,” he said. Pequignot, who’s retired, said he plays every day.

Last week, the former owner of the clubhouse at the nine-hole Northampton County Club and the mortgage holder bought the clubhouse for $600,000 at a foreclosure auction. The purchase included rights to the 9-hole course.

According to the Appliedgolf website, the company vision “is to create the highest quality golf and club experience while maintaining personal involvement with the members, employees, and club-owners ensuring their long-term profitability.”

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