Conway Golf Club is shut down as the future of the property is debated in court.
The case has become more complicated as more people have joined the legal proceedings during the past several weeks, though a proposed sale of the course is scheduled for a hearing next month.
The nine-hole club — which is the third-oldest course on the Strand behind Pine Lakes Country Club and The Dunes Golf and Beach Club — has been tied up in a legal battle since shareholder Judy Edwards filed suit on March 8. The course remained in operation for several weeks following the filing of the suit.
Edwards, a former Conway Golf Club snack bar worker who is listed as the club’s secretary on the sales contract, requests the corporation that owns the course — comprised of shareholders and operated by a board of directors — be dissolved by a court order.
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The suit has postponed the sale of the course, though Beverly Homes real estate attorney Robin Ciaccio confirmed Monday that the course is still under contract to a local homebuilder.
According to a sales contract that was submitted to the court, Beverly Homes has agreed to pay $2.05 million for the 65-acre property.
A hearing on the club’s request for the court to approve the sale to Beverly Homes has been set for 3 p.m. on June 13 in the Office of the Horry County Master in Equity.
Douglas Zayicek, an attorney for the club and its board of directors, said via email Monday the course is closed because it “does not have the funds to keep operating, especially after the recent damage done to the clubhouse. This closure appears to be permanent, because the bank has not been paid on the mortgage for several months, and the cart company had to repossess the carts.
“The Club is hopeful that the court will approve the current sale . . . I am confident the court will do what it is the best interests of the all the shareholders.”
Beverly Homes commissioned an appraisal of the propertycompleted on April 26that sets the value of the property at $1.625 million, and it was submitted to the court Thursday.
In Thursday's motion, Zayicek argues the sale as contracted to Beverly Homes would bring the highest return, compared to a foreclosure sale or bankruptcy sale that might bring less and include added legal fees.
“That sale will result in a substantial return for the shareholders,” Zayicek said. “. . . If some of the shareholders are opposed to the development of the property (because they live close to the golf course), they can lobby city council or county council.”
Other shareholders and former club board member Christopher Lloyd Ross, who was arrested at the course twice over three days in late March, have filed motions to intervene in the case to protect their interests.
Ross, who barricaded himself in the clubhouse for several hours on March 26 – four days after reportedly being voted off the board – and was arrested again on March 28 after allegedly breaking into the clubhouse, claimed in a May 2 court filing that because he is incarcerated he is unable to protect his financial interests in the course.
He says he’s a stockholder and he can’t be “adequately represented by existing counsel to this action in that there may be a conflict of interest between the existing represented parties.”
Ross also denies, in his court filing, altering or destroying company records during his break-ins. He claims the club’s real property and stock value appear to exceed the amount of debt and the course may be saved through a new sale of stock and the company has engaged in a “wide range of unusual management policies and actions.”
The course’s insurance company has estimated damage to the clubhouse when Ross was barricaded on March 26 to be $21,353, and the club has asked the court to allow the insurance funds received to also be deposited into the court and distributed to the shareholders if a sale occurs.
On April 3, a group of 14 shareholders filed a motion to intervene in the court case, claiming they “are not adequately represented or protected by the existing parties in this litigation.”
The shareholders’ attorney, Reese Boyd, has requested numerous documents from the club’s board related to the board’s activities as well as the club’s outstanding and unsold shares.
It’s believed that there are hundreds of shareholders in the Conway area. Many have died and many may not be accounted for, which has complicated the case.
Circuit Judge William H. Seals Jr. has referred the case to the Master in Equity or a special referee, and a date of Oct. 4 has been set for an alternative dispute resolution to begin, if it is needed.
In the original motion asking the court to approve the sale filed on April 6, Zayicek wrote, “Defendant has been in a precarious financial situation for a significant period of time. Defendant has done what it could to keep the club operating, but is unable to continue operations.”
That claim contradicted the club’s denial on March 15 of Edwards’ claim that it had insufficient income and assets to pay its debts and liabilities and is or will soon be insolvent.
The club’s motion to approve the sale recommends all proceeds from the sale be held by the court until the status of the shareholders can be determined.
The development of Conway Golf Club began in 1937 and the club was incorporated in the early 1950s, according to club records.
The course was built, thrived and was sustained over decades by its shareholders but its popularity has waned in recent years.
Lundy earns status
Little River resident Patrick Lundy will have status on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada this summer.
Lundy tied for 31st in Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada Qualifying Tournament at The Club at Eaglebrooke in Lakeland, Fla., with an 8-under 71-68-72-69--280 on April 27 to earn 2018 conditional status.
The qualifier is one of five this year and featured 132 players. The top 16 finishers are exempt for at least the first four events of the season and players 17th through 40th earned conditional status.
The Order of Merit winner following the 2018 Macckenzie Tour season will be fully exempt on the 2019 Web.com Tour, while finishers 2-5 earn conditional status and an exemption into the Final Stage of Q-School.
Finishers 6-10 also earn an exemption directly into Final Stage, while players in the 11th through 20th spots earn exemptions through Second Stage.
The path has already been utilized by 20 players who have gone on to earn PGA Tour cards since 2013, highlighted by PGA Tour winners Nick Taylor, Tony Finau and Mackenzie Hughes.
The tour begins May 31 in Vancouver. Since the Tour’s inception, 166 alumni have earned Web.com Tour status, including 72 competing there for the 2018 season.