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FLOWER MOUND, TX-With 1031 Exchange funds from a California land sale, a Florida investor has bought the last of two Tour 18 championship grounds in an off-market transaction with Olympus Real Estate. Family members have relocated to North Texas to steer the 180-acre course’s emergence as a full-service facility.

“The location wasn’t something we picked. It was the golf course that led us to Texas,” Cathey Lee, daughter of Tampa, FL-based investor Dennis Lee, who will share duties at the Tour 18 Dallas course with her brother Stephen. “We think it has so much more potential than where it is today. We’re going to bring it up to compete with higher-quality courses.” Right now, she says it competes with mid-tier courses, but that will change with the overhaul and a marketing push to secure more tournaments.

The first step in the takeover of 8718 Amen Corner in Flower Mound was for the Lees to replace the Orlando, FL-headquartered Arnold Palmer Golf Management, which has been overseeing the 18-hole course since Olympus, headquartered in New York City and Dallas, bought it in 1999. Now, the Lees have hired an architect to redesign the clubhouse, banquet room and lounge while other makeover plans come together for the course. “The condition of the course will change dramatically,” Lee stresses to GlobeSt.com. The staff, totaling 50 workers in the off season, isn’t going to change, she adds.

The off-market sale came about when Dennis Lee called Ken Arimitsu, director of Grubb & Ellis Co.’s national golf services group, for help in finding a replacement property after selling golf course land in Fontana, CA, to a residential developer. Unlike other courses on disposition lists, Tour 18 isn’t “distressed,” Arimitsu says. “It has good cash flow. It’s a great course.”

Dennis Lee has spent the past 15 years buying and selling golf courses in California and Florida, according to Arimitsu. Lee’s Desert Dunes Golf Course in Desert Hot Springs, CA, is under contract, his daughter confirms, adding they’re already scouting California and Texas for replacement properties. The family also owns Diamond Hills Golf Club in Tampa.

Arimitsu teamed with Scot C. Farber, senior vice president in Grubb & Ellis’ Dallas office, to close the deal for one of the nation’s first “replication courses,” with each hole representing some of America’s most challenging and including a finishing three that pay tribute to the famed “Amen Corner” at the Augusta National.

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