The Owasco Country Club has changed hands on its 120th anniversary year.
The 6750 E. Lake Road golf club has been purchased by PGA professionals Philip Kless and Andrew Myers, who also own Sunset Ridge Golf Club in Marcellus and Lyndon Golf Course in Fayetteville.
Myers told The Citizen the Owasco club's proximity to Sunset Ridge was one of its major selling points to him and Kless. They were also motivated by the size and potential of the clubhouse, the beauty of the lakeside property and the history of the club. Built in 1901, it was designed by the renowned duo of Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek, and its first golf professional was Walter Hagen.
The 86-acre club includes a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and a restaurant. It is the only private golf club in Cayuga County, and has traditionally kept its membership small — about 200 — in order to remain a "family club," according to its website. Though that membership has dwindled in recent years, Myers said he and Kless believe it's due for a "quick turnaround."
"Everyone was still in the area," he said. "(They're) just waiting for something good to happen with the property."
The club was previously owned by Gerald Crowley, who purchased it for $883,023 in 2016. The amount he sold it for was not available from Cayuga County property records, as the sale closed June 3.
Before the sale could close, $158,259.53 had to be paid to real estate company Michael DeRosa Exchange. The company was contracted to sell the club in 2015, but wasn't compensated for its share of the sale price because it was not directly involved in the transfer of the property to Crowley. The Supreme Court of the State of New York ruled in DeRosa's favor in 2018.
Broker Michael DeRosa told The Citizen he's "thrilled" that Kless and Myers have purchased the club.
"They will do wonderful things to improve the experience for club members," he said.
Myers said he and Kless plan to restore the club's golf course and facilities to "pristine condition," as Owasco has offered reciprocal play with "some of the finest clubs" in the state. They also intend to rebuild the club's wedding and banquet business, open dining to the public in the off-season and redevelop the lakeside to offer a dock, beach, seating and swimming to the club's membership.
"Bottom line, we have purchased a great golf course with an unbelievable history and a beautiful location," Myers said.
"With proper management and maintenance we are confident that it will thrive and be a source of pride for our members and the Auburn area in general."