How much does a golf course cost? An 18-hole course in Ohio just sold for $710K

·4 min read

LANCASTER, Ohio — The Valley View Golf Course and Swim Club has officially sold and will remain operational, according to the previous owners.

Cory and Barbi George, who have owned Valley View for 30 years, sold Valley View to Barry and Jennifer Rhonemus.

Cory George’s father Bill first opened Valley View Golf Course in 1956, with renovations taking place in 1963. Bill’s brothers Dick and Curt also worked at the course, with Curt managing the course’s facilities, while Dick helped with landscaping. The course has remained in the family ever since.

According to the Fairfield County Auditor’s Office, the golf course and swim club were sold by Valley View Clubs for a combined $710,000 to Geronimo Golf Real Estate and Geronimo Swim Club.

Cory said when his parents passed away, he and Barbi were faced with a difficult choice.

“I have a brother and sister who had part of the action, and when my parents passed away, it was either Barbi and I take a lot of money out of our savings and buy them out, or sell the course,” he said.

Barbi said area golf courses, including Valley View, were experiencing a decline when they put the property on the market.

“There were a lot of reasons [to sell] that are personal and family stuff,” Barbi said. “But on the other hand, golf courses weren’t doing very well when we decided to sell.”

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As was the case with Pleasant Valley, Valley View also saw an increase in traffic and revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as golfing allowed people to still have fun outdoors at a safe distance from others.

“The past two years have been gradually better and better as more people started playing golf,” Barbi said. “Even though there were less outings, we had more tee times, and so it was starting to be profitable again, so Barry’s coming in at the right time.”

Both Barbi and Cory said they received offers from potential housing developers. However, the couple was adamant about selling the property to someone who wanted to keep the course operational.

“Different builders gave us offers, and we just kind of skated on those because that’s not what we wanted to see happen,” Barbi said. “So we were pretty picky about who bought it. When Barry came onto the scene and presented his ideas, we were very excited because they were some of the same ideas that we had in our heads too that would be great for the place.”

Despite the sale, the Georges aren’t going anywhere, as both Barbi and Cory will remain on staff in managerial roles.

“The future looks good, and I think that the public will enjoy the golf course in the future,” Barbi said.

Barry and Jennifer were both born and raised in Lancaster and were on track to becoming high school sweethearts until Jennifer’s family moved to Toledo in their sophomore year. The couple reconnected 11 years ago, married five years later, and are back living in Lancaster.

Barry said he and Jennifer began looking at property to build their new Lancaster home four to five years ago. In October 2020, the couple began making plans to purchase the Valley View Golf Course, a place Barry said he and his family spent much of their free time.

“We had heard that Valley View Golf Course was quietly for sale, and maybe not-so tongue-in-cheek on my part, but I said [to Jennifer] ‘you know, maybe we should buy Valley View Golf Course and even build a home out there,'” Barry said. “It became a chuckle, and then a couple weeks later, we went out and looked at the property.”

Barry and Jennifer said they expect to have a seamless transition in operations at Valley View. Already, the couple has plans to make several improvements to the clubhouse and landscape, and evolving the space into more than just a venue for golf.

The Rhonemus family is also tied to the early days of the Valley View Golf Course. Not only were the Rhomemuses regular customers at the course, but Barry’s father, Don, helped with masonry work during construction of a new clubhouse in 1960.

The sale comes after two other courses in Lancaster announced their sale earlier this summer. Pleasant Valley Golf Course on Coonpath Road sold for $1 million in July, while the owners of the Lancaster Country Club announced Aug. 12 it had sold with the transaction being official in mid-September.

Pleasant Valley’s owners confirmed a housing developer had purchased the property, and that the golf course would cease operations at the end of the 2021 season. Details about the Country Club’s sale have not yet been made public, as amenities such as the pool and restaurant have already closed, while the club’s golf course will be open to the public through Sept. 15.

Logan Weaver is a news reporter for the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, part of the USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter @loganaweaver.