The Montgomery Village golf course officially changed hands Tuesday afternoon after the sale to a real estate developer.
Michael Darby, principal of Washington, D.C.-based Monument Realty, finalized the sale Tuesday afternoon. Monument Realty will keep the course open, but has long-term plans to transform the 147-acre space. Longtime Montgomery Village golf course owner Jack Doser has decided he will retire, instead of running the course under new ownership.
Doser — formerly a professional golfer who now lives in North Palm Beach, Fla. — once owned all or part of five courses in Maryland and in Florida. He owned the Montgomery Village course for 34 years.
He called the sale “very bittersweet.”
“I was there for 34 years and my employees were my family, and my members were my friends. That’s the bad news,” he said. “The good news is now I’m down here in sunny Florida.”
Doser called the multimillion-dollar business unprofitable at Montgomery Village Foundation meetings in 2011, The Gazette previously reported.
The golf course filed for bankruptcy protection on Aug. 17 to stop a foreclosure, according to Doser’s attorney, Jim Greenan. A bankruptcy court judge ruled Dec. 20 that the course be sold, and Monument Realty was the winning bidder.
In 2012, the state determined the property was worth about $1.6 million. The price Monument Realty paid for the golf course has not been released.
Darby said his firm and the existing golf course staff will work on improving cash flow and creating a better experience for members. They will run a membership drive to bring more people to the course, and perform maintenance on the facilities. The greens will be manicured with updated equipment, he said.
Darby said much of the staff will remain the same, but more seasonal workers will be hired. Richard Rosenthal, a 24-year employee of the golf course and former head of the pro shop, will now oversee golf operations.
Rosenthal, an Olney resident, said he hopes to create “more of a family atmosphere” on the course, including continuing their junior clinics for young golfers.
Doser taught Rosenthal how to play golf when he was a child, and the two have known each other for decades.
Darby said Monument Realty wants to bring housing to the property. He envisions townhomes and multifamily residences mixed with open spaces on the current site, designed with input from nearby residents.
“We’re eager to work with the community,” Darby said.
Darby said his firm has met with Montgomery County and the Montgomery Village Foundation to feel out the rezoning process. It will take at least three years before the lot can be rezoned and designs can be made for the site, he said.
Veterans of the course have mixed feelings about the sale. Rosenthal said the 13th hole is his favorite — he sunk his only hole-in-one there. He hopes to play the course about twice a week, but may not be able to do that because of his new responsibilities.