The Horse Thief Golf and Country Club in Stallion Springs continues to remain vacant —a far cry from the once vibrant greens — but there is still the possibility a new owner might purchase the property, despite the golf course's neglected condition.
"We have had several offers on the property," said Lou Lollio, commercial managing director of Keller Williams Commercial La Jolla, who is representing the seller.
He added, "We are hoping someone will come in and revise the whole property and I’m sure that everybody wants that too."
The 18-hole golf course closed in 2018, with the 171 acres going up for sale shortly after and listed for $2,835,000. At one time, the property was listed as being in escrow; however, it's back on the market.
As of now, the property is listed online for sale at $1.7 million, with the greens and clubhouse needing to be repaired. The golf carts and equipment are leased, but may be renewed, according to loopnet.com.
The parking lot has multiple potholes, vegetation is overgrown, the tennis court is in disrepair, and the swimming pool is drained.
Ed Miller, Realtor with Keller Williams in Tehachapi who is representing a potential buyer, said, "I am representing a group who are in negotiations with the current owner and they are going back and forth."
Miller said he can't disclose specific information about the potential buyer, but that they are interested in restoring the grounds and making it into a family-owned business.
"I would guess $1.5 to $2.5 million to get it up and running. That's probably a safe bet. You actually have to hire a specialist to come in to help restore the greens," Miller said.
He added that "both sides are committed to getting this done and hope to get this wrapped up in the next couple months."
Many Greater Tehachapi residents and golfers from surrounding cities came to the course every year when it was open.
Ron Mathews, a resident of Ridgecrest, said he used to come to the golf course at least six to eight times every summer.
“It was a spectacular golf course and a gem in the valley of Stallion Springs and a challenging golf course," Mathews said.
He added, "It was economical and it wasn’t like they charged a fortune to play. They had an amazing restaurant as well."
Mathews said he remembers reading in a sports magazine that the course was listed in the top 25 golf courses in California.
Now he travels more than two hours to other golf courses and looks forward to the course reopening.
Even though the water and sewer is turned off, the golf course's closure impacts residents, said David Aranda, interim district manager for the Stallion Springs Community Services District.
“The fact that the commercial entity is not paying their fair share, it could have a negative impact on the district’s operations financially, which could impact the rest of the community,” said Aranda.
District staff still have to be available to make repairs and service lines and property tax money is impacted too, added Aranda.
Homes on the boundaries of the golf course and property resale values in the area are impacted.
Miller said Keller Williams represents many buyers and sellers in Stallion Springs and as the golf course continues to remain vacant, property values continue to decrease.
“The economy is taking a hit because no one is traveling here to play golf," Miller said. "All the businesses have taken that hit. So there is definitely an economic hit as well as a home value hit."