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Historic Oakhurst links sold at auction

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Oakhurst Links, one of America's oldest golf courses, was sold at auction for $410,000 on Saturday in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Owner Lewis Keller Sr., 89, sold the property, course and equipment after more than a half-century as owner.

Virginia-based auctioneer Tommy Garten oversaw the 90-minute sale. An undisclosed Wheeling, W.Va., businessman won with a bid $110,000 higher than the opening bid.

“I felt like it was worth more to the world of golf than it is,” Keller said, according to The Associated Press. “It showed this morning. That is disappointing. One thing is whether or not it is a financial success; apparently the world of golf does not feel that it is as important to them as I thought. That’s what exactly it amounts to.”

Established in 1884, the club was founded by Russell Montague. The club, however, was abandoned in 1910 as many of the original members moved away from the area.

Keller purchased the property in 1959, intending to use it as a horse farm. In 1991, a three-year restoration project to re-create the golf course began. The course re-opened in 1994, with a catch – players would be required to use hickory-shafted clubs and gutta percha balls and fashion tees from sand and water. Since 1998, Oakhurst has hosted the National Hickory Championship.

According to Keller, the new owner has vowed to preserve the throwback aspects of the experience of playing the course.