Northwest side neighborhood rallies to raise nearly $300,000 to reopen golf course

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Homeowners in Saddlebrook along 56th Street were determined not to see their golf course turn into apartments and new development.

“It’s one of those modern-day David versus Goliath kind of stories,” Saddlebrook Capital Campaign Committee Chairman Lisa Cole said. “The little neighborhood that stood up to the bank and said, ‘you’re not going to take over our neighborhood and define what it is going to be in the future,’ we are.”

Saddlebrook Golf Course closed in 2015 after the former owner could no longer pay the bills.

First Financial Bank sent the course to be auctioned off last March, but the bank didn’t accept the bid.

Neighbors were then in a predicament.

It wasn’t going to be profitable for anyone to come in and buy the course and then invest the money to get it back up to par after more than a year of deterioration.

So after a handful of neighborhood meetings, homeowners decided they would help a local golf course management company, Green Golf Partners, get the course back up and running.

There are 341 houses in Saddlebrook proper and the goal was to raise $300,000. Neighbors started a campaign and went around knocking on doors asking for $1,000 a home.

“This is all about protecting the value of our homes,” Cole said.

The campaign started in April and in about a month the group was able to raise more than $260,000 with more than 60 percent of homeowners donating.

“Well I think it’s amazing,” Saddlebrook resident Linda Johnson said. “I think ($1,000) a lot to ask of people, but I think it says how much we care about this neighborhood and how much (the golf course) means to us.”

“Frankly I haven’t seen anything like this,” Green Golf Partners President Mike Shaw said. “I’ve been through projects of this type before, but nothing like this.”

Green Golf Partners is in the final stages of finishing up its deal with the bank. They plan to start doing maintenance on the course this weekend and Shaw said a spring 2018 opening date is still on schedule.

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