The Tampa judge’s decision signals the end of Lynn Archibald and Visions Golf’s chapters with the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club.
The new year could signal new ownership for the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club, which has been marred with false hopes and broken promises for more than a decade, as it heads to the auction block next month.
Judge Emmett Battles granted a final judgment of foreclosure on the embattled golf course Jan. 2, with a foreclosure auction date of Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. The court determined the actual value of the club to be $2.5 million, more than $400,000 over the initial estimated value. Once the foreclosure sale is complete, Steven Mercer’s financially burdened Visions Golf and the starry-eyed plans of Lynn Archibald’s Professional Golf Global Group will lose all interest in the club, assuming one of the two parties does not buy it back.
Residents in Walden Lake, Plant City’s largest housing community, once celebrated the 36-hole course. When the country club opened in the 1970s, media outlets reported the anticipation for the course on par with the opening of Disney World. And, for a time, the course proved to be a Central Florida destination, attracting professional golfers and boasting a bustling club house. But for years now, the clubhouse and course have devolved to dystopian levels of decay, garnering city code violations and forcing it into the hands of a court appointed receiver despite protest from Archibald.
Last June, Archibald, the course’s manager since 2015, regaled Walden Lake residents with his multi-phase plan to restore the course to its former glory, assuring them he had ownership of the course. However, that ownership was in dispute at the time and Today’s Bank, the property’s mortgagee, had already begun foreclosure proceedings against Vision’s Golf who purchased the course in 2006. Archibald’s plan also lacked funding.
“I promised an 18-hole, premier golf course and that’s still what I want to do,” Archibald said at the time.
Visions Golf filed for bankruptcy about five years after assuming ownership of the course. As the course continued to deteriorate, plans and promises continued to be made and broken. First by Visions, then Archibald’s PGGG. Still, residents are attempting to hold on to the hope that Walden Lake could again have a premier country club.
“I think the residents look forward to having this resolved and the HOA looks forward to working with the new potential owners so that we can agree on how to proceed in a way that benefits everyone,” Sharon Philbin, president of Walden Lake’s homeowner’s association said. “We’re willing to sit down and work with whoever the new owner turns out to be. It can be profitable for everyone, but its got to be positive for our residents. That’s what’s most important to me.”
Representatives for Archibald and Today’s Bank did not reply to a request for comment.