Jack Lamberson, owner of Fallbrook Golf Course, was asked for an update regarding his 116-acre layout in the Gird Valley.
“It’s for sale, just as it’s been for the last two years,” said Lamberson during an interview in his golf course office on April 29.
Two weeks ago, it appeared Lamberson had found a buyer in Harold Vaubel (HGM Golf Enterprises) of Tucson, Ariz. Vaubel had spent a few days visiting Fallbrook Golf Course and rumors circulated that a deal had been made. The rumors proved false as the transaction fell apart late in the negotiations, according to Lamberson.
Anil Yadav, owner of Pala Mesa Golf Resort in Fallbrook, traveled from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with Lamberson on the afternoon of April 29. Contacted immediately following his discussion with Lamberson, Yadav stressed the meeting was strictly exploratory.
“The community is very active and that’s what peaked our interest,” said Yadav, a very successful entrepreneur who went from being a fry cook at Jack in the Box to owning more than 300 restaurants and employing more than 8,000 people. More than 200 of Yadav’s restaurants are Jack in the Box franchises.
“If it financially made sense we would do it, but we’re not sure where we’re going to go yet,” said Yadav of purchasing Fallbrook Golf Course. “If we weren’t interested, we wouldn’t have flown down here to meet with Jack. I just wanted to meet him and see what’s the story, what the opportunity is and what can be done. Evaluate it and go from there.”
Yadav added that his interest is in keeping the property as a golf course. He currently owns two golf courses – Pala Mesa and The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon (Northern California) – and is in the final stages of purchasing a third, Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Gilroy (Santa Clara County).
Lamberson said he had more meetings with different parties scheduled for the week of May 2-6.
“I’ve got two meetings and someone else is supposed to get back to me,” said Lamberson. “All different people. Some of them for sub divisions, some of them for mitigation, some of them for golf, and some split – golf and mitigation.”
Lamberson doesn’t hide that he wants out of golf course ownership.
“You can’t entice me to stay in the golf business,” said Lamberson. “I wasn’t raised to be in a business that loses money every year. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.”
Fallbrook Golf Course is currently operating – Lamberson announced in March that he was closing the course and then changed his mind – with a skeleton crew. The pro shop is only open from 7 a.m. to noon. After noon, golfers must check in with the bartender at AJ’s Taphouse to pay green fees and get carts, or to get a bucket of balls for the driving range.
The restaurant kitchen has been shut down, reducing food options to sandwiches and salads from a cooler in the corner, or snacks such as chips and peanuts.
Meanwhile, the course, despite its rough fairways, still attracts some golfers.
“It’s never been my favorite course but I just moved in up the street, so it’s now my local (course) and I use it as my practice facility,” said golfer Ron Ebel. “The course has deteriorated because they’ve kind of slacked off on the upkeep because of the uncertainty of the situation. My girlfriend likes to walk the back nine because it’s kind of park like. It’s a cute little municipal course. I think it benefits the community and it would be a shame to lose it. “