Newport Golf Cub to open

The Newport Golf Club is ready for players starting this weekend.

NEWPORT — As an out-of-state bank looks for a new buyer for the Newport Golf Club, former owner Nick Catsam is working to get the club open for the season.

“It’s always been a community project my whole life,” Catsam said.

First Southern National Bank, based in Kentucky, is the owner of record, taking the property from the partnership of Catsam, and his brother, John Catsam, and nephew, Joseph Catsam.

“I have no ill will toward the bank,” Catsam said.

First Southern Nation tried selling the bank last month at an auction, but ended up buying the property itself when no buyers were willing to meet a minimum $800,000 price. Catsam agreed to operate the club while the bank continues to search for a buyer for the property.

Despite the ownership drama, Catsam wants to see the club, and whoever ends up with the ownership, succeed. The club is 99 years old this year, he said.

“I’d like to see it get to 100,” he said.

The club opens this weekend for golfers, and Catsam said it could be a real draw for Newport, bringing people to town for shopping and eating after a round of golf.

“It’s a real vital part of the community,” he said.

The club has about 200 members, and Catsam said people are eager to play on the links.

First Southern National filed a lawsuit against the Catsam’s earlier this year claiming they had failed to make mortgage payments on the property. It also alleges they tried to sell the property in violation of the loan agreements. The lawsuit is seeking more than $1.3 million. Catsam said that case is still pending in court.

The Catsams themselves bought the property out of bankruptcy in 2003. The 55-acre property is valued at more than $480,000, including the land and buildings, according to town records.