A Fargo businessman has come to the rescue of Windsong Farm Golf Club, the high-end private course that fell on hard times last year and was headed back to the bank.
David Meyer, founder and CEO of Titan Machinery Inc., a billion-dollar farm and construction equipment dealer based in Fargo, has bought the club from its member-owners. Meyer said he couldn't discuss the terms of the deal, which closed Tuesday.
Meyer said the club in Independence in western Hennepin County will remain an exclusive private club and keep its members, and stay true to its original spirit as a course for golf traditionalists.
Members, who expressed enthusiasm for the deal, said there's talk about recruiting more national members and possibly turning a large horse barn on the site into some sort of living quarters.
"It's a wonderful mulligan," club member Mark Lewis said of the deal.
A former horse farm, the course was partly designed by PGA pro and Minnesota native Tom Lehman and opened in 2003 with plans to become a destination, championship course.
But the timing for a club with high fees was lousy as the economy soon crashed and the bank, Commerce Bank in Geneva, Minn., found itself under pressure. The bank never started foreclosure proceedings but was in the process of taking over management.
A member of the club said its bank loan was for $4.2 million. The bank declined to comment.
For Meyer, it's a return home. In a letter to members, Meyer said his grandfather bottled and delivered milk from his great-grandfather's Long Lake dairy farm in the 1930s, and then moved the business, which became Meyer Bros. Dairy, to Wayzata.
Meyer said he's a lifelong golf fan who graduated from Delano High School and helped put himself through college caddying at Rolling Greens Country Club.
His father developed the public golf course across the street from Windsong, Pioneer Creek Golf Course, which his sisters run.
As for Windsong, Meyer said he knew little about it until his sister called him in December and told him it was in trouble. The traditional nature of Windsong appealed to him, he said.
Meyer said he belongs to a few golf courses in the Fargo area and that two of his sons are serious players. But he's never played the course he just bought.
"I don't play a lot now," Meyer said. "I spend most of my time working."
Meyer defended Windsong Farm's $15,000 initial membership fee and annual dues of $7,600.
"That's really fairly reasonable for championship golf courses," he said. "Some have $100,000 initiation fees."
Phillip Ebner, a wealth manager in Edina and an equity member in the club, called Meyer "a white knight."
"If you could have drawn up a perfect buyer, it would have been this guy," Ebner said.
Jim Kidd, the club's general manager, said Windsong employs about 60 people at the height of the season and used to have 200 members, both equity members and player-members. He said he expects most members to return.
"I think he's going to put some money into it," Kidd said. "It's a great thing for the local economy out there."
Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683