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Retired Army general submits high bid for Golf At Acorns property, event venue

By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

Retired Army Gen. John G. Coburn submitted the high bid Oct. 29 for the Golf At Acorns golf course and event venue on Camargo Road at a Master Commissioner’s Sale held at the property.

Gen. Coburn, of Mt. Sterling, submitted a bid of $2 million, according to his son, Bob Coburn.

The sale has not been officially recorded with the County Clerk’s office by press time.

The general told the Advocate he would like to keep the course public and operated by someone who would be hired who is familiar with running a golf course.

Coburn said he considered bidding on the golf course the last time it came up for auction a few years ago and people in the community convinced him to do so this time.

“When it came for auction again I said, ‘Why don’t we take a look,’” Coburn recalls.

He said a golf course is important to the community and his fear was it may be left without one.

With Old Silo Golf Course already closed, Coburn said the community couldn’t afford to lose another one, especially with the history this one has.

“I heard it might be used for something else and you don’t know for sure what other people have in mind,” Coburn said without specifying what those alternatives might have been. “I didn’t think other uses were appropriate really.”

Coburn said that while he is not much of a golfer himself, he sees the course as an important part of the community that must be preserved and allowed to thrive.

Coburn is working with the Master Commissioner, Mt. Sterling attorney Angela Patrick, to expedite the process so there is minimal disruption.
Coburn commended Patrick for her work thus far.
He acknowledges there may be a brief period in which the golf course has to be closed, but is working with the seller to try and keep that as minimal as possible.

The general said he expects the process to take about a month for final closing. It must be approved by the court, the proceeds distributed, the title received, etc.

“We want to make sure we don’t interrupt things too much while the transaction is being finalized,” he said. “The challenge is to keep things running and have a smooth transition.”
Coburn and his son, Bob, said they are also interviewing potential parties interested in running the restaurant, which he calls another important part of the operation.

The general said he will not reopen the restaurant until he has the right management and staff in place.
“I don’t want to get into a situation in which we’re opening the restaurant when it’s not ready,” he said. “We want to make sure it’s done on a first class basis with good food and good people.”

Coburn said he has frequented the restaurant regularly in the past.
Coburn said he would like to offer regular entertainment such as country and western and other forms of music.

The hopes are to have the course, restaurant and entertainment available publicly as soon as possible with as little disruption as possible, he stressed.

“We want to make sure they’re run right,” the general said.
The Advocate reached out to Patrick for details on the sale, but had not heard back as of press time.

Some locals shared memories on social media of days spent there when it was known as the Mt. Sterling Golf and Country Club before, and urged someone to step up and buy the property before the auction sale.
Among them was Josh Coffman.

“I remember moving from Camargo when I was 6 to the apartment upstairs at the clubhouse. My dad was the golf pro and my mom managed the restaurant. Boy, those were the days, no phones, no devices, just lots of outside fun during the summer. Parents would drop their kids off on the way to work and the day would begin on the putting green and practice range followed with four holes of golf. Then we’d gather at the pond to see who could catch the biggest or how many balls we could find. Next a couple hours in the pool followed with tennis baseball near the tennis courts. Back to the pool followed with some tree golf. As the day ended, one by one parents would arrive.”
In the evenings, Coffman said people would arrive for dinner while he was upstairs watching TV.

“It was a slice of heaven where my family worked and I got to be a kid and met many good folks that have become life-long friends. It’s been difficult to see the changes to ‘my home, my friends’ home’ these past few years. I sure hope someone with great intentions purchases the property and brings it back to its old personality,” Coffman added.
The post garnered 77 comments.

Tammy Moore McKinney shared, “I was a lifeguard summer of ‘89 and ‘90. Enjoyed my summers that I worked there. Great memories.”
Stephanie Baskey Watts wrote, “So many great memories there. Literally home away from home growing up. My grandfather was the first golf pro there. My first job was in that pro shop. This place has a piece of my heart for sure! I hope someone can bring it back so more memories can be made.”

Chris Spoonamore said he too had so many memories golf and swimming. “Such fond memories of that place. Even with the changes, one thing has held constant. The people there have taken such good care of me and the girls on our golf team. Means so much to me.”

Ginna Dombroskas wrote, “Great memories for sure. As an elementary school girl I used to like walking up to the snack bar window and putting it on my tab.’ Had my first ‘lemon coke’ there (lemon packets in coke),” noting she also learned to play tennis there.

A property/real estate listing found at described the property as a “Sprawling and picturesque 177 acre complex with 18 hole golf course, the historic 7,235 square foot Chenault House with mid century modern dining and ballroom, outdoor special events and entertainment facility with new 12,000 square foot deck with a 7,000 square foot prairie style pavilion, two sound stages, outdoor bar and new restrooms. Separate two-story 6,342 square foot brick building with pro shop. The property has two functional ponds and a dam where fishing is allowed.”

Golf course maintenance equipment and commercial kitchen equipment was auctioned immediately following the real estate sale.
The previous owner of the property was West Hampton LLC, which bought the property June 1, 2020, for $1.6 million. Prior to that, it was owned by Sterling Farms, which includes Larry and Gene Barber of Lexington, according to the PVA’s Office.

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