Three years ago, after playing a round of golf at the Rocky Knoll Golf Course in Orrington, Ellsworth businessman Mike Wight told his wife, Daisy, he’d like to buy the course someday.
Fast forward three years and Daisy Wight, who is a realtor, informed her husband Rocky Knoll was for sale.
Now the Wights own the 18-hole course.
Rocky Knoll Golf Course is the latest business venture for Mike Wight, who also owns Broughman Builders Inc. and Downeast Maine Property Management with his wife, both based in Ellsworth. The golf industry has flourished in Maine during the COVID-19 pandemic as it is an ideal sport for social distancing while people have sought a safe, outdoor activity to get them out of their homes.
Stella Morgan put the course on the market in September for $875,000 and Mike Wight said that is what he paid for it when the purchase was finalized earlier this month.
“There were several interested buyers but the Wights were the first,” Morgan said. “They’re really nice people.”
Morgan bought the 156.53-acre property for $350,001 at a foreclosure auction in 2016. She placed the only bid.
“I’m not a golfer, and I sold it to a golfer,” Morgan said.
“I have a four-year plan for it that will take a substantial amount of money,” Mike Wight said. “I want to make it a premier place to be. It’s never going to be Sugarloaf or Belgrade Lakes but it’s going to be a nice local course.”
His list of improvements include the clubhouse, pro shop, the website, the Rocky Knoll sign and the greens.
“The greens are really big and nice. But they need a little help. We need to put some time into them. They’re pretty slow. We need to make them faster,” Wight said.
The 51-year-old Wight bought Broughman Builders Inc. in Ellsworth 16 years ago and has turned the modular home company from a $1.5 million business per year to a $22 million-a year-enterprise. He has added two more Broughman Builders Inc. in Belfast and Holden.
“I’ve been in business a long time. I see things a lot of people don’t see, things that could make it so much better,” said Wight, an Ellsworth native.
Rocky Knoll opened as a nine-hole course in 2000 and a back nine was added in 2009. It is a 6,062-yard, par-72 layout.
Morgan said she showed a profit every year and said the amount of rounds being played has increased each season.
“I always felt it was a hidden gem. Now more people know about and love it,” Morgan said. “It is a challenging business. I learned a lot. I met a lot of great people.”
Wight intends to put a new deck on the clubhouse and will eventually purchase some new golf carts in addition to all the other improvements.
“The front nine is pretty easy,” said Wight. “It’s wide open. There are some challenges on the back nine that will help you improve your game. It’s almost like playing two different golf courses.”
Wight is looking forward to his new venture.
“I’d like to retire someplace warm for the winter. And then return to Maine in the summer and have a place to play golf.”