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Sue Bush
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Mount Anthony Country Club Sale A $3 Mil Deal

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, December 22, 2006

A sign announces the Mount Anthony Country Club property. The property was sold for $2.6 million.
Bennington, Vt. - The $3 million sale of the Mount Anthony Country Club property and a home that occupies part of the site may bring a new vitality to the club and its' membership, said several country club members.

"I'm very excited." said 15-year club member and town resident Greg Van Houten. "You aren't likely to find a member who won't be excited with this new energy."

$2.6 Million for Golf Course Property

David L. Griffin, doing business as Down To Earth Golf Course Development, closed a $2.6 million deal on the golf course property on Dec. 21 and, on the same day, Griffin closed on a $400,000 purchase of the house. Griffin bought the properties in separately recorded transactions from the Mount Anthony Golf and Tennis Club Inc. and the Mary Louise Price Irrevocable Trust, according to property transfer documents.


A restaurant and lounge are part of the property purchased by David Griffin of the Down To Earth golf course development firm.
The property was purchased by Ted Price in 1983 and operated as a country club by Price and his wife Mary Louise "Mary Lou" Price for 23 years.

New Energy

The property had been on the real estate market for just over two years and there was a stagnant climate while the owners waited for a buyer, Van Houten said.

"As you'd expect, they kind of lost enthusiasm once they decided to sell," he said. "In a club atmosphere, that lack of energy gets reflected into the membership. There were some maintenance things. The new owner will bring some new energy to the club."

Griffin reportedly said that he plans to begin golf course renovations in April. The property hosts an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a restaurant and lounge and a pool.

Griffin was a member of the club's junior golf program as a youth and that program contributed greatly to his love of golf. The junior golf program was very important to the former owners and is a priority for the new owner, said a member who also belonged to the club's junior golf program.

"Great Stuff"

Speaking on conditions of anonymity, the member said that "great stuff" was likely in the country club future.

"As a golf course, there were things that needed to be fixed. As a country club, I think we are going to see great stuff from the new owner. This is what he does, it's his job. I think the previous owners and the buyer want the same outcome for the club. They are at different points in their lives, but both of them emphasize family and the junior golf program."

T.J. Carmody, owner of "Carmody's" restaurant and a country club member, said that he and Griffin are long-time friends. He recently spoke with Griffin over dinner, he said.

"Good Ideas"

"He's got some good ideas," Carmody said. "He is from here and he knows a lot of the people. He really wants to make the place family-friendly, that's very important to him."

Town Clerk Timothy Corcoran said termed the sale "significant."

Griffin left the area after graduation from the Mount Anthony Union High School. He has fond memories of the country club, Corcoran said.

"He is familiar with Bennington and he plans to invest in [the property] to bring it to a more modern standard," he said. "People are pleased that there is not going to be [new commercial or residential] development there, that it will remain a golf course."

The property was developed in 1897 and was once a private golf course. The current clubhouse site once hosted a military boarding school. The school burned to the ground in 1957.

A "Regular Guy" Country Club

The club is unique in that it is not rooted in exclusivity, said Van Houten.

"This is a very inclusive club," he said. "It's a 'regular guy' country club. You don't need a referral to become a member; you walk in with your dues and you are a member. And there is a huge junior membership. So if your kid plays gold and you don't, there is a good place that's reasonable for your kid to play."

The reaction from those familiar with the sale and the future plans has been upbeat, Van Houten said.

"Everything I've heard has been positive."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 413-663-3384 ext. 29.
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