Owner acquires Pauma Valley in complex deal

SJS Tomorrow, a company that already owned three golf courses in Southern California, acquired Pauma Valley Country Club in October. Pauma Valley, located in Northern San Diego County, was founded in 1957 as a destination private club with an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones course and its own airport. 

But the member-owned club had languished the last ten years, with the number of full members dropping below 150. It has more than 400 members, counting national and international members. Rather than face a large assessment, members chose to sell the course.

SJS also owns Steele Canyon Golf Club in Jamul, about 70 miles south, Dove Canyon Golf Club, about 75 miles to the north, and Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, about 26 miles north. 

SJS assumed the clubs’ debt, estimated less than $1.5 million, and promised to fund an irrevocable account to pay for substantial renovations and improvements around the Club. There are also long-term operating covenants for the course to preserve its heritage, its membership program and the private nature of the club.

The sale was complex in that the equity memberships were transitioned into new memberships with no equity rights. Troutman Sanders advised Pauma Valley’s equity membership on the transaction, led by partner Michael Whitton and others. There were no brokers involved in the sale. 

“We are very pleased with the results of the sale of Pauma Valley Country Club,” said Bill Carlson, president of Pauma Valley Country Club. “Mike and his team skillfully navigated the complexity of the transaction and we are pleased with the outcome.”

The new ownership team, led by Larry Taylor, has already removed hundreds of trees and lengthened two holes. It is expected to invest $10 million more to bring the course back to its former glory in the 1960s when it hosted televised tournaments that featured some of the biggest names in golf, including Arnold Palmer. 




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