The sale of Fallbrook Golf Club, which began June 28 when Harold Vaubel of HGM Golf Enterprises, LLC, entered into an agreement to purchase Fallbrook Golf Course, Inc., from Jack Lamberson, is expected to be completed this week.
As of Tuesday, July 5 (the deadline for this article), lawyers representing both parties were meeting to seal the deal.
Fallbrook Golf Club was closed by Lamberson on June 25. After reaching the agreement with Lamberson on June 28, Vaubel, with Lamberson’s blessing, reopened the course on Friday, July 1, and has kept it open while the lawyers vet out the sale.
Vaubel, who has 34 years of experience as a golf course superintendent, and his longtime business colleague, Cary Lee, CEO of the golf construction company Candylgolf Group, immediately started working on the course after the agreement with Lamberson was made.
Lee instantly signed up golf course maintenance workers who had been let go due to the closure, and the crew had water hitting the greens and tee boxes by that evening. It was the first watering of the course in four days.
“Our priorities for the golf course are greens, tees, fairways, and roughs,” said Vaubel, “And the main issue on any golf course is irrigation and we are already working on that.”
Vaubel resides in Oro Valley, Ariz., with his wife, Linda, and together they make up HGM Golf Enterprises.
“HGM Golf Enterprises has been up and in operation for a year and a half,” said Vaubel. “It’s a continuation of HGM Consulting, which I had from 1985.”
Vaubel has been in the golf business for 46 years and has been the golf course superintendent at 10 different clubs – Tucson National, Albuquerque Country Club, Desert Forest Golf Club, TPC Starr Pass, TPC Prestancia, Eagle Crest, La Costa, Hidden Valley Golf Club, Talega Golf Club, and Santa Rita Golf Club – in three different states, California, Arizona and Florida.
During his years as a superintendent, Vaubel had the opportunity to participate in 17 PGA tour events.
“I have PGA Tour experience, KemperSports Management experience, and experience as a golf superintendent at a Top 100 rated golf course in the U.S. – Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, Ariz.,” said Vaubel.
Lee, who according to Vaubel will eventually be a partner in the ownership of Fallbrook Golf Club, has worked in golf for 32 years.
“Take my 46 years of experience and Cary Lee’s 32 and you have 78 years of golf experience,” said Vaubel. “I have experience with the PGA and Cary has experience with the LPGA. We know and understand golf and can cover any aspect of it.”
Vaubel is very confident that he and Lee will turn Fallbrook Golf Club into a course that golfers will be lining up to play, and even predicts that his greens will be the best in San Diego County.
“You give me 30 days, you’ll be very happy,” Vaubel told a member of a men’s golf club who dropped by the course to meet the new owner. “You give me 60 days, you’ll be inviting all the other golf people to come play this golf course. I guarantee you that. I’m that good.”
When asked about the greens, Vaubel replied, “We’re converting the greens over to bentgrass. We’re getting rid of our poa annua. We plan on having the best greens in the community – not just Fallbrook – I’ll have the best greens in the San Diego area. La Costa – all the big dogs – I will have better greens. I am known to have the best greens.”
No one has more interest in Fallbrook Golf Club succeeding that Vaubel, who is living the phrase “put your money where your mouth is.” In buying Fallbrook Golf Course Inc., he assumed responsibility for paying off the note on the 116-acre Gird Valley property. Vaubel will be making those monthly payments to D-Day Capital, LLC, which bought the note on the property from First National Denver bank, Lamberson’s lender, on June 28 – just hours before Vaubel reached his agreement with Lamberson. D-Day Capital is a debt purchasing company owned by Beverly Hills attorney Ronald Richards. “We’re going to assume the note because Jack’s got the note at such a good rate,” said Vaubel. “I’d rather just keep on making payments on the note, then I can pay cash for the improvements on the golf course – a new irrigation system, redoing the bunkers, redoing the greens, enlarging the lakes, tree maintenance, and new maintenance equipment.” “So, in other words, you take the $2.6 million (for the note) and add another 2.4 million (for capital improvements), you’re putting $5 million in investment into this property,” continued Vaubel. “There’s your number right there. That’s what I was planning on doing, so I’m good for the next 10 years. I’ll bring in additional investors if we need it, but right now, I’m happy where we’re at. It’s just a matter of how do we rebuild the reputation. It’s exciting for me.”
Vaubel said patrons will be able to monitor the capital improvements.
“We will have a weekly maintenance plan posted in the golf shop and the club for people to see,” said Vaubel. “I want people to be informed and come see what we’re doing.”
Vaubel added that the improvements will be noticeable to people that merely drive on Gird Rd. – motorists that have seen nothing but dried out fairways the past few months.
“You’re going to see the progression of the place immediately from the roadway,” said Vaubel. “Hole No. 1, No. 8, No. 15 – the holes that are visible from the roadway – people are going to be able to see the difference we’re making.”
Vaubel hasn’t decided who will be operating the restaurant at the course.
“We’ll probably lease out the food and beverage operation,” said Vaubel. “You need the food and beverage to compliment the golf course, so I want to make sure that whoever we bring in at the other end of the building can stay up to what our standards are.”
Vaubel said the bar, with sandwiches and snacks available, will reopen Friday, July 8, and conduct business from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. He expects to have the restaurant in operation by Aug. 1.
Vaubel said golfers can hit the links early as the pro shop opens at 6:30 a.m. each day. The snack shop opens at 7 a.m.