The dream to revive Lake Don Pedro Golf Club and Resort has ended with a for-sale sign.
The financially troubled golf and real estate venture closed for the second time in the last six months Saturday and, this time, it appears to be closed for good under its current ownership.
Chris Porter, the vice president of the San Ramon-based Deerwood Corp. and the grandson of Deerwood President Tom Porter, confirmed Tuesday that it seeks a buyer for the property.
"For us to keep running it, that time in our company's history has run its course," Chris Porter said. "It came down to the fact there wasn't enough business and the water rates will be doubling shortly. It's devastating for the community and the family, but there wasn't much of a choice."
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Renovating the course and rebuilding the clubhouse became a community act of good will from Tom Porter, 79, who was raised and schooled in Waterford and Oakdale. He and his wife Peggy, residents of Danville, still spend much time at their second home on a hillside overlooking the Lake Don Pedro project.
Porter invested $11 million to recharge a course that had gone to seed, a course closed from 2001 to February of 2008. The Billy Bell design reopened to much fanfare and featured a new clubhouse, condominiums, remodeled and relocated greens, redone bunkers and updated irrigation.
Lake Don Pedro couldn't overcome, however, the problem that has plagued it since its original opening day in 1970 — location. Chris Porter referred to it as "geographical challenges," but what he meant was the club's 45-minute-to-one-hour separation from any major population center.
Simply put, customers preferred more conveniently located courses.
Undaunted, Deerwood and the Porters tried to make it work. They closed Lake Don Pedro for three months and reopened their doors one more time last December. In fact, they ran an ad in The Bee sports section on closing day Saturday.
"There was a huge outpouring from the community to reopen (in December)," Chris Porter said, "but nothing seemed to change."
Greens and tee boxes will be maintained while a new buyer is sought. For now, the local golf scene sadly checks Lake Don Pedro off its list of options.
THE SHAG BAG — Saddle Creek in Copperopolis is ranked No. 15 in California in Golfweek's "Best You Can Play, State-by-State" list this year, three spots higher than 2009. ... The Northern California Golf Association Foundation subsidized more than 90,000 buckets of range balls and 60,000 rounds of golf last year, doubling the the 2008 totals, through its Youth on Course program. More than 115 facilities took part in an outreach program that opened the door for kids to play golf for as low as $2. The foundation also held 20 clinics, one led by NBC golf analyst Roger Maltbie.
HOLES-IN-ONE — David Trotter, Modesto, 254-yard par-4 fifth at Jack Tone Golf, Ripon, 3-wood. ... Steve Anderson, Riverbank, 158-yard eighth at Creekside, 9-iron. ... Don Travis, Modesto, 151-yard 14th at Jack Tone, 4-iron. ... Gerald Linstedt, Copperopolis, 126-yard 11th at Saddle Creek, Copperopolis, 9-iron. ... Peter Broers, Ripon, 102-yard sixth at Jack Tone, 7-iron.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2302.