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D’Andrea golf course stays afloat
by Jill Lufrano
May 31, 2012 | 8148 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A golf ball lies on dried grass in the area to the east of the club house at D’Andrea Golf Course in Sparks on Wednesday afternoon.
A golf ball lies on dried grass in the area to the east of the club house at D’Andrea Golf Course in Sparks on Wednesday afternoon.
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SPARKS — Nick Oddo hasn’t swung a golf club in a few months, but just about every waking hour in the clubhouse at D’Andrea Golf Course, the retired homeowner and many of his neighbors and friends have worked to keep the course green and alive enough to attract a buyer.

But time is running out. And so is their money.

“We need to come to some decision this week,” Oddo, 82, said. If Oddo’s group, D’Andea Golf Partners, LLC, can’t close escrow and come to an arrangement with a buyer, “then we’ll go out and raise the money ourselves.”

Oddo and just about every friend and neighbor he knows is out in an effort to raise the $5 million it would take to keep D’Andrea from closing.

“If we don’t sell it or raise enough money, we will have to turn the water off,” he said.

Oddo held his phone Wednesday afternoon, waiting for a call from an investor from California. He was expecting the call at any moment from a buyer that would provide the perfect deal Oddo and his neighbors sought.

“We’re hanging on by our fingernails,” he said. “We have a potential buyer from California who wants to buy the course from us by transitioning it. It would stay a (golf) course, which is what I and our group is most interested in.”

Hopefully, the deal will go through, he said. If not, Oddo and his team will dig deep and reach out into the community to raise funds to purchase the course themselves.

“We are negotiating with a lender to acquire the funds,” he said.

Oddo’s plan is to create a public golf course that is much more attractive to the region by adding several new options. For instance, instead of simply providing an 18-hole golf day for the average golfer, Oddo’s group would like to see options to encourage some people to play a few holes, a training facility and other attractions, he said.

“We’re hoping to provide people a beautiful resource we can all enjoy,” Oddo said. “It needs to be a business. It needs to have things going on that resonate with the community. Seventy percent of people who live here don’t play golf. It needs to have banquets, nice restaurants and other kinds of resources that the community that people want. We will be able to run this business in the black right from the first year. But it won’t be that kind of place we want until we expand it a little.”

His wife, Sue Oddo, said she hopes good news comes soon.

“We still need more help and we need homeowner help,” Sue Oddo said. “You probably know that no one is getting any money. Everyone is volunteering. We’re just doing it because we believe in it.”

The D’Andrea Golf Course is surrounded by 1,200 homes with another 500 planned for construction.

“One way or another, we’re close to getting an answer,” Oddo said. “We could still easily fail. We may not raise the amount.”

The reclaimed city water is still providing enough moisture to keep the greens alive at the 18-hole public course, but the temporary agreement ends July 31.

Oddo’s group is struggling to come up with a happy medium, he said. The group may not want to take on the project full time. D’Andrea Golf Partners may want to turn it over to a third party, provide input to them in exchange for expertise or some participation, he said.

Oddo’s group purchased the course from Will Gustafson, the managing partner of the ownership group who had asked D’Andrea homeowners association for an additional $28 monthly maintenance fee to keep the golf course open.

The homeowners voted against paying the fee and Gustafson immediately closed the course. In an effort to keep the fairways and costly sod alive, the City of Sparks agreed to continue providing Oddo’s newly formed group reclaimed water at a slightly higher cost until the end of July.

Gustafson still owes the city $146,000 in past-due water bills.

“The water is still on,” Oddo said. “Our golf course looks better than most of the others around here. We’ve done our best to try to keep it alive. Our money was well spent. At least our efforts won’t be for nothing. We’ll still have a golf course. People will be able to play immediately.”
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