King’s Deer once again inundated with golfers

The course enjoyed a soft reopening on May 3

Danny Summers
King’s Deer golf course reopened on May 3 to the delight of many, including head pro Nathan Vincent, left, and general manager Jeff Kelly. The course closed unexpectedly in February when the bank foreclosed on the property.
Danny Summers

All that commotion you see at the King’s Deer Golf Course means that golfers are driving, putting, chipping their way out of the rough and having a good time.

Golf returned to the course May 3, thanks to the efforts of King’s Deer resident Doug Almond and a very dedicated team.

Almond leased the course in April from the court appointed receiver. He quickly put together a staff to help get the course into playing condition.

Starting May 3 and continuing for a week, King’s Deer is having a soft opening for residents of the community and former members.

“Before the course went into foreclosure it had a heavy debt burden and we couldn’t service it with the revenue we were generating,” said Jeff Kelly, King’s Deer general manager. “The foreclosure process is going to wipe away all the bad debt and the new owner is going to get it as a clean property and for a much lower price that it was originally sold for.

“With those two factors this becomes a viable property, based on what we know.”

Kelly and King’s Deer pro Nathan Vincent kept the course watered after Nebraska-based Exchange Bank foreclosed on the former owners in February. Signs were put on the front doors of the clubhouse that month that read “closed until further notice.”

Further notice came in early April when Almond became the receiver of the 197.3-acre course at 19255 Royal Troon Drive.

Kelly said the foreclosure will be completed in September and that Almond plans to buy the course at that time. He said the price will be less than $1 million.

“The community obviously wants the course here,” Kelly said. “It benefits their home values. Nobody wants an empty field in your backyard when you’ve bought golf course property.

“It’s never good to have a golf course closed. It’s a shrinking industry, obviously. But we believe it can work in this area and we’d like to see it work.”

Almond has been updating King’s Deer home owners with regular messages on the King’s Deer Homeowners Association web site. John Highhouse, president of the King’s Deer Homeowners Association, states on the web site that the golf course has no affiliation with the Homeowners Association.

Almond Golf LLC is a company created by Doug Almond and his father, Larry Almond. Larry Almond heads a real estate development company in the Charlotte, N.C., area, and owns several golf courses.

Doug Almond and his wife, Maria, bought a six-bedroom home in King’s Deer six months ago for $850,000, according to El Paso County court records. He is the manager of several call centers.

“Work is coming along nicely on our newly designed restaurant and bar area,” Doug Almond said in an email. “Our company, Almond Golf LLC, is a Colorado company that is committed to develop King’s Deer Golf Course into a world-class public course.

“Our long term goal is to be the premier public golf course in our state that will attract local and national events that will bring value to our community.”

The course opened in 1999 as the centerpiece of the upscale King’s Deer development. There are 338 homes on 531 lots built along the Palmer Divide.

Kelly said Almond Golf, LLC, plans to spend $100,000 over the next few weeks. Prior to the soft opening, Kelly and his crew, along with course superintendent Mark Hassell, aerated, over seeded and fertilized the course, and leased golf carts and credit-card processing equipment. The plan is to hire up to 30 employees to ready the course, clubhouse, pro shop and restaurant for reopening.

“I’m not concerned once we open that we will be successful,” Kelly said. “Doug will keep all the money in the company instead of trying to live off it. He’s committed to making sure the course is in great shape.”

Among those employees hired back is pro shop director Darrell Haas, who has worked at King’s Deer for 14 years.

“I’m glad to be back,” Haas said. “It’s nice to see the course open again.”

The course will be open to all players on May 10.

Monthly golf memberships start at $200 for individuals and go as high as $325 for families. Seasonal memberships are also available.

Pricing per play varies on the day of the week and month. It runs from $20 during the week for nine holes to $65 on the weekends for 18 holes.