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Holmes Harbor, Island Greens both sold to mainlanders

In real estate averages, the Andersons may be on par.

After a stop-and-go year of listing their property and golf course, Island Greens, Dave and Karen Anderson have found a buyer.

And another set of links on the South End — the Holmes Harbor Golf Course — was also sold recently. The 18-hole course was purchased by Onyxx Capital. Kevin Hanchett said the time was right to buy the course near Freeland.

“The opportunity came up to acquire it, and I thought it would be a good idea to get it up and rolling again,” he said.

At Island Greens in Clinton, the difference between previous sale attempts and the recent sale, the Andersons said, was how they packaged the deal.

“This time we were selling the house on 22 acres,” Dave Anderson said.

Previously, the Andersons focused on the sale of the course, and not the house as well. The property was listed on the market for all of 2010, before they removed it in the winter.

One of the problems with the property’s sale was the Andersons, who included provisions in the sale to keep Island Greens open. Others proposed to turn it into a multi-home development. The Andersons weren’t interested in compromising.

“We were very idealistic, we wouldn’t even listen to them,” Anderson said.

They reevaluated their market strategy and posted the course and their Clinton home together in May, and sold it in the last week of June.

Arul Menezes and Lucy Vanderwende of Sammamish bought the property. The Andersons declined to say the selling price of the property; it had been listed at $559,000.

Vanderwende has family in Coupeville, and the couple was ready to find a place on Whidbey Island.

“We had been looking for quite a while for a place of our own, and we had also been looking for quite a large property,” Menezes said. “It was quite beautiful.”

“It matched what we are looking for almost exactly,” he added.

The new owners’ infatuation with the property was evident to the Andersons.

“They’re absolutely in love with the land,” Karen Anderson said.

Menezes said he has no plans to build on the property. That makes sense, since he said the couple is probably five years away from moving to the Clinton property. He also wants to keep the nine-hole golf course open and maintained as well as the Andersons have.

“They’ve done a really nice job of keeping it natural and very beautiful,” Menezes said. “It’s not like a manicured golf green with acres of grass. It’s very wooded and very pretty."

"It looks like something we’d like to keep going.”

The Andersons will remain on the property until September, when they move to a waterview home on South Whidbey. After Sept. 30, Menezes said he hopes to hire a caretaker, superintendent or grounds-keeper to replace the Andersons.

“If we can find someone local, that would be ideal,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of interest. We’ve actually had inquiries off the island.”

The position is advertised by fliers on the course. Any interested applicants can email islandgreens@live.com.

One person is certain not to apply for the position: Dave Anderson. After running the course for years, he’s tired of the upkeep.

“I’m 68 years old and I’m tired of mowing grass and fixing machinery and troubleshooting stuff,” Anderson said. “I spent a lot of time digging ditches this last spring and winter. That’s enough to make anybody want to sell anything.”

Karen Anderson said golfers don’t realize the work that goes into keeping a golf course clean and green.

“You think it’s just cutting the grass,” she said.

“It’s not that romantic or glorious,” her husband added. “If I didn’t have to battle the elements, that wouldn’t be so bad.”

Anderson was confident Menezes and Vanderwende want to keep the course open, as long as someone can take care of the house and the grounds.

“If he can find the right guy to do all the little things you need to do to keep a golf course running, then he’ll keep it going,” Anderson said of Menezes.

“Even though he doesn’t know golf, I think he’s sharp enough to manage it,” Anderson added.

One of the new owners of Holmes Harbor Golf Course, Kevin Hanchett, knows plenty about golf. He learned to play golf at Holmes Harbor 14 years ago, and played there until the course closed in March 2010.

Although he may know golf, that doesn’t mean he can run a course and a restaurant, which Hanchett said are linked together for a successful business.

“I personally know nothing about running a restaurant or a golf course,” Hanchett said.

Hanchett, 53, lives in Edmonds, but has a secondary residence on Mutiny Bay and is a member of Useless Bay Golf & Country Club. He didn’t see any conflict with playing at both courses, and owning one of them.

“I suspect I’ll be playing both, kind of like I did before,” Hanchett said.

Onyxx Capital 1, led by Hanchett and one other unnamed principal owner, bought the debt against the property, and the property was then conveyed to the new ownership group.

Part of Hanchett’s vision to avoid the same problems that plagued the previous ownership group, Holmes Harbor Community Partners, includes reducing the course fee and renovating the dock.

“Even I was discouraged, the last time I played there, at the prices that were being charged,” Hanchett said.

Hanchett likened the new course to the golf course at Port Ludlow Resort. The vision is to create a dock-and-play course so boaters can pull into port, grab their bags and play a few rounds.

“It’s just a golf cart ride away,” Hanchett said.

When Holmes Harbor will reopen is uncertain. Hanchett is reviewing bids from three managing groups to run the course and restaurant, and part of the bid is a timeline for repairing and reopening the course. He said he expects to have a managing group in place by next week.

Until then, he said the community’s reaction has been surprisingly positive, and frequent.

“I had no idea people could find my number and email so easily,” Hanchett said. “Everyone’s very anxious to have that reopened.”

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