PULASKI — The Pulaski Country Club will be sold at a foreclosure auction next month, casting uncertainty over an institution that has been in the community for more than 90 years.
Club Treasurer Bob Adkins said Thursday that he remembers the heyday of the 1970s, when the golf course had well over 350 members, many of them lawyers, Pulaski Furniture Corp. executives and car dealership owners — like himself.
“You just don’t have that anymore,” Adkins said.
Pulaski County’s economy is now propped up by out-of-town manufacturing giants, such as Sweden-based Volvo Trucks and Colombia’s Phoenix Packaging.
Between those demographic changes and new competition from other golf courses, Adkins said it’s been a struggle.
Membership at the club, long privately-owned before entering foreclosure proceedings, is now about 125 golfers — less than half of what it once boasted.
The Pulaski Country Club and its 18-hole golf course are still open, and Adkins hopes they will stay that way after the auction at 12:30 p.m. on May 17.
But there are no guarantees with the auction approaching.
Everything will go in the sale, from the 146-acres of land along U.S. 11, to the tennis courts, lawn mowers, cooking equipment and leaf blowers.
The 7,786-square-foot clubhouse was built in 2001 and features a pro shop, restaurant, banquet hall, locker rooms and pool.
The property is valued at $2.2 million for tax purposes, according to Micah Torrence, who is organizing the sale through Forest-based Torrence, Read & Forehand Auctions. But he said there’s no telling what the winning bidder will be willing to pay.
The auction will be held inside the clubhouse. Bids can be submitted in person there, remotely by phone or online.
It’s just the latest golf club to run into hard times. The Auburn Hills Golf Course in Riner sold at auction for $744,000 in 2016, according to property records.
Golf clubs in larger communities haven’t been spared from the industry trend, as all three of the Roanoke Valley’s full-service private country clubs have struggled in recent years with membership declines. Hidden Valley Country Club described its situation as a “cash crisis” in a February letter to its members.
Adkins says the Pulaski Country Club is about $1 million in debt. The proceeds of the sale will be used to pay back the bank, and whatever is left over will be distributed among the business’ roughly 6,500 shareholders.
“That’s optimistic, but that’s the plan,” Adkins said.
The country club’s struggles are also tied to 1999, when a stove inside the clubhouse kitchen caught fire and destroyed the original 1920s-era building.
The club’s board of directors decided to rebuild with a $1 million loan in the early 2000s.
That was about the same time Pulaski County’s demographics took a turn and competition with other nearby…