Local business execs buy private golf club, plot $8M in renovations

By Nathan Rubbelke – St. Louis Inno editor, St. Louis Business Journal

Mar 26, 2024

Fox Run Golf Club, a private golf club in Eureka, is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation at its 18-hole course.

The project comes as Fox Run moves forward under new ownership, with a group of members buying the club after its founder and former owner, David Ault, died in October 2022. Fox Run’s ownership now includes Jeff Budrovich, president of construction services firm Budrovich Cos.; Ron Komlos, president of South County flooring company Flooring Systems Inc.; and Charles Reneski, division president of construction and operational services at Crestwood-based engineering firm Roeslein & Associates Inc.

The ownership group acquired Fox Run from a trust affiliated with Ault’s estate in May 2023, beginning renovations of the golf course last June. Renovations are being completed in two phases and involve adding new grass, tee boxes, cart path and other improvements to the course, said Fox Run General Manager John Patzman. The project is estimated to cost roughly $7 million to $8 million, Patzman said.

Located on 281 acres of former farmland in Eureka, Fox Run was founded by Ault in 1993. Its 18-hole golf course was designed by Gary Kern and has hosted major events over the years, including the LPGA Tour’s Michelob Light Classic in 2000 and 2001 and the 2023 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships.

Budrovich said Fox Run’s new ownership group came together to purchase the club after Ault’s death in 2022, seeking to preserve the founder’s vision for the club, with plans to keep it private and to improve the course conditions. Other undisclosed parties, based both locally and elsewhere, were interested in the property, Budrovich said. The new ownership declined to disclose Fox Run’s purchase price, but Budrovich said the group wasn’t the highest bidder seeking the property.

“Continuing David Ault’s legacy was a big part of moving forward with us versus some other options they had,” said Budrovich, a member at Fox Run since 1996.

Patzman said the renovations underway at Fox Run are part of the plan to “carry out what David started in the early 1990s.”

“What I mean by that is to make it a premier facility in premier condition that challenges golfers and give them an outlet — a beautiful playground — to come and challenge their game and have an unbelievable experience,” Patzman said.

The renovation of Fox Run will keep the course’s same routing and layout, but include significant changes to the course, Patzman said. That includes new grass on fairways, tees and greens; new sand in bunkers, as well as adding and taking out some bunkers; a new rough on the course; a new sprinkler system; and a new cart path.

“We took a layout that existed, we think we improved the layout and then we absolutely stripped it and started over again,” he said.

Art Schaupeter is architect on Fox Run’s golf course renovation, with Sellenriek Grading Co. in handling construction. Budrovich Cos. is also assisting on the project. Under the new ownership, former Fox Run course superintendent Arlen Hill has returned to that post.

Fox Run’s course features bent grass and will continue to do so, but the renovations have brought a new strain of bent grass to the course, Patzman said. Renovation of the front nine holes at Fox Run began last year, with the back nine holes remaining open amid the project. Plans call for Fox Run to reopen the front nine for the club’s member guest tournament in June to play the entire 18-hole course. Following that event, Fox Run plans to close the back nine holes to renovate them. Fox Run has a goal of opening all 18 holes on a full-time basis in May or June of 2025, Patzman said.

Fox Run has historically been ranked as St. Louis’ toughest golf course, based on its United States Golf Association ranking. That ranking has rated Fox Run based on its back tees, which gives the course total yardage of 8,454, making it the region’s longest course. But those back tees are being removed as part of the renovation process, Budrovich said.

“Nobody ever played the 8,400 yards anyways, yet we were still rated on that,” he said.

With the renovations, Fox Run hopes to grow its membership from the current 75 members to 200 members, Budrovich and Patzman said. Fox Run has always operated without tee times being required, allowing members to access the course when desired. Operating with 200 members would allow Fox Run to continue to run without tee times, a component of the club Budrovich said he promised to existing members would continue under the new ownership.

“I got a standing ovation when I said that. That’s what they’re used to and that’s what they wanted,” he said.

In addition to its no-tee-times model, Budrovich said he told members in a meeting last year that the club would continue to have an “unbeatable” membership experience and continue to have bent grass on its course.

“Those were the three absolutes I promised all of the members at the time,” he said.

Fox Run is also making improvements to its driving range and has long-term plans for renovations to its clubhouse as well as possibly adding guest cottages at the course. The golf-only club, which doesn’t offer other sports, such as tennis and swimming, also has sought to expand its dining amenities under the new ownership. A second chef has been hired at the club, which has also extended dining hours, Budrovich said.

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