Montlake's new owner eyes golf course improvements, lodging

The owner of the Montlake Golf Course on Mowbray Mountain has plans to improve the public course, its clubhouse and food options, and potentially put in cabins and treehouses on the property.

"We're trying to create more and better amenities for people here," said Kevin Bradburn, a Utah man whose group bought the site from entrepreneur Henry Luken in December for $2.75 million.

Also, Bradburn is expected to seek zoning changes in July from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission for a tent-only campground to serve the Stone Fort climbing area near the golf course as well as Cumberland Trail hikers, documents show.

He said in a telephone interview Tuesday that it's still early in the planning stages and he's meeting with Montlake homeowners about the ideas. The aim is to boost the offerings for neighbors as well as people who visit from outside the city, Bradburn said.

While there was some preliminary discussion about changing the 18-hole course to nine, plans are to keep it 18 and available to the public, he said.

"We may make changes to the course," Bradburn added. "We've hired a designer. We'll invest money in the course to make it nicer. We're looking at all the different options."

But he said it was the Stone Fort climbing area that initially attracted the interest of him and his partners.

Stone Fort has become a draw to many Bradburn said. Climbers are attracted to the boulder field that some say is among the best in the sport, according to news archives.

Also, Bradburn said, his group is working with the state and Cumberland Trail officials about connecting with the trail. Luken wasn't interested when he was the owner, Bradburn said.

"We're meeting with the trail association and the state," he said.

Luken, who has interests in real estate, television and yachts, had held the course for at least a decade as well as others in the Chattanooga area.

He said Tuesday he owns Valleybrook Golf Course in Hixson, Eagle Bluff Golf Course in Chattanooga, Battlefield Golf Club in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and Mt. Airy course in Sequatchie County, Tennessee.

Luken said by phone that Eagle Bluff is closed and his other courses are on the market. He said all his real estate holdings in Chattanooga are for sale or he intends to sell them.

A real estate listing put the sale price of Valleybrook at $3.4 million.

At Montlake, Bradburn said that while the group is looking at lodging, there will not be high-rise apartments or density of units.

"We're big on conservation and preservation," he said.

In Utah, Bradburn said he is in the real estate business, and he also does development. He said a friend of his moved from Utah to Chattanooga for the outdoor activities and mentioned Montlake was available.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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