Walters sells Royal Links, almost out of golf

November 4, 2016
By Jack Crittenden
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Walters Golf sold Royal Links Golf Club in Las Vegas to Scottsdale Golf Group on Nov. 3, part of the company’s effort to exit golf completely.

Bill Walters, owner of Walters Golf, is a professional sports gambler has owned more than ten golf courses during the past 25 years. But he sold Desert Pines Golf Course to Arcis Equity Partners in 2014, and is left with onely one course — Bali Hai Golf Club on the Las Vegas Strip.

Walters has said he is open to a sale or redevelopment of that property, and he has actively tried to get approval to build commercial real estate on the property. Walters built Bali Hai in 2000, but has claimed he has never made money on the course. It had developed Desert Pines in 1996.

Walters faces federal charges related to an insider trading scheme. Federal authorities allege he was part of a six-year scheme that helped him pocket $32 million in profits. He is also alleged to have given Phil Mickelson a stock tip that helped the professional golfer turn a $900,000 profit.

Walters faces 10 counts that could draw significant prison time if he is convicted. It is not the first time Walters has faced charges. In the 1980s, he was part of the Computer Group, a syndicate that used statistics to predict the outcome of football games. The federal government alleged the group was an illegal bookmaking operation. But Walters and other members were acquitted in 1992.

Walters acquired his first golf course, Paradise Hills Country Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1991, and then Mesa del Sol Country Club in Yuma, Arizona in 1994. He also owned three courses in Illinois.

Walters said he chose Scottsdale Golf because its owner, Shelby Futch plans to keep existing staff.

"[Shelby] and his company bring with them great experience and knowledge of the industry, and I think that the members and guests of Royal Links will find the new ownership to be tremendous professionals," Walters said. "Although we received more substantial offers, one of the primary reasons we considered the sale to Mr. Futch's group, is his intention to retain most, if not all, of the Royal Links staff. Many of the staff have been with us since Royal Links opened in 1999 and a few have been with my company since before that.”

The new ownership tooke over the property on November 3.

Royal Links is Scottsdale Golf's first property in Las Vegas. It owns seven courses in Arizona and one in Texas. Futch is also founder of the John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies with 12 locations in the U.S.

 

 

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