So, this is the final chapter of the golf story, the last installment left us awaiting the full dossier following the visit from the ' Golf-course expert' -there must an official title for these people -with anticipation!
The day dawned , the dossier arrived and we waded through it .
It was very detailed , from the complexities of the soil, right down to drawings of a) the 18 hole golf-course with the water holes , b) the clubhouse situated near the 9th hole, and c) the large Hotel nestling just within the woodland. It also noted the catchment areas by population, and current golf courses within a certain radius. Then it talked up the benefits of creating such an establishment in the countryside of the Loire Valley in France. In fact it was genuinely worth the large sum we had paid, so we were well satisfied!
So the next step was to go to the Mairie for the planning permissions! Then the ' French Administration' took over and we spent a long period ( I cannot recall exactly how long but it was at least 2 months) biding our time and looking into local golf courses and the running of them!
Finally -- We got our permissions! WHOOPEE! We were estatic, and thought that we had really arrived! Our dreams had been realised! We would find a buyer and be able to repay the bank and get back to concentrating on our first love, which was running the beautiful chateau La Roche Hue.
How naive we must have been, always looking through rose coloured glasses, we were about to get our first lesson in trying to" run before you can walk"
Our main setback was to discover that just outside of our nearest local town ' Baugé ' a Japonese consortium had already obtained planning permission for an 18 hole Golf-course which was already well under construction! This information was a huge blow as it had not been mentioned by our expert in his dossier. So he had not been as thorough as we had thought. We had relied on him to discover any potential competitors! We went to visit this course and it was in an ideal situation , and was being developed by professionals! This Bauge Golf-Course is still up and running today!
"So where do we go from here?" was our first thought!
We carried on with a search for a buyer for the golfing project-- we advertised in Golfing papers/magazines etc. Several enterprises showed interest but none of them decided to go ahead, mainly because of the other Course. We thought of suing the Pro for our money back on the dossier, but realised it might end up costing us more, so we discarded that idea.
We also approached several golfing celebrities- again nothing and money or ' lack-of ' was getting to be a problem.
Well, at the end of the day, we still had our lovely farm, so, reluctantly we put it back on the market.
Eventually , we sold it to the nephew of the family we had bought it from, ie the original owners of Chateau La Roche Hue. He , the nephew, was a Comte ( an Earl) and (unbelievable, but nevertheless true) he wanted to buy the farm, renovate it and install his mistress and her pet wolf! Yes I did mean WOLF!
So we struck even! We sold the farm for what we paid for it, making no profit, put our dreams on hold and got back to the business we were running, and concentrated on how to make it profitable. So endeth the tale of the GOLF..............