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May 04, 2016
Saving Private Course


(LAND O'LAKES, FL) Plantation Palms Homeowners Association members put their money where their mouths are to bring their golf course back. The 156-acre Plantation Palms Golf Club and 11,000-square-foot clubhouse opened in 2001, shut down temporarily in 2013 amid financial troubles, and closed for good in 2014, leaving an empty field filled with weeds as a neighborhood eyesore, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Ace Golf, owner of three area golf courses, has stepped in to buy the neglected course. But in order to make the numbers works homeowners had to agree to a surcharge on their memberships for the next few years. About 70% of homeowners agreed. “That was big. It said we want our golf course back, and we're prepared to become good customers…immediately,” said board member Jim Hammond. Repairs to the course are expected to cost a minimum of $1.5 million.

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May 02, 2016
Silver Linings


(BRAINERD, MN) The power of storms was evident over the weekend at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. But nothing like what happened last July at Madden’s on Gull Lake in Minnesota. A series of microbursts pummeled the 63-hole resort, damaging 20 buildings and downing 200 trees. Guests had to be evacuated, but, thankfully, there were no serious injuries. Ten months and $13 million later, the popular resort has reopened. The Duluth News Tribune reports “It wasn't the first time destruction had beset Madden's, which steadily grew from humble beginnings by expanding and buying neighboring resorts and lands. In 1964, a fire destroyed the golf complex at the resort's Pine Beach Golf Course. The disaster gave the Maddens cause to rebuild, resulting in a superior facility. Jim Madden would later recall: ‘It may have been the best thing that has happened to us.’” The silver lining this time around? 85 new guest rooms and updated amenities.

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Apr 29, 2016
Grave Situation


(RIVERSIDE, CA) While golfers may have died a thousand figurative deaths over the years at General Old Golf Course, we can probably safely assume the golf course was the final resting place for any of them. Until now. Part of the military land around March Air Reserve Base, the course had been slated to be reconfigured as part of a new housing development of 670 homes. But the course would remain. Then plans changed and the course was nixed as being too expensive. Instead, 1,660 homes would be built on the land. As if that was indignity enough, the plan was changed once again. Under the new proposal, the golf course closes and the homes disappear. In their place, the entire parcel would be used to expand Riverside National Cemetery. Obviously not a fan of the golf course, one local business leader called the cemetery expansion “the perfect use for that land.” Looks like the course’s obituary has already been written.

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Apr 27, 2016
Red Hot Richmond


(MOSELEY, VA) Home to one of one of Golf Digest’s “Best New” courses in 2015, Magnolia Green is Richmond’s best-selling new home community. And they have just introduced four new neighborhoods in anticipation of another record-setting year. The community’s owner, iStar, has invested nearly $150 million in the premier multi-generational, active-lifestyle residential community, including resort-style amenities such as swimming pools, sports courts, playing fields, and the Magnolia Green Golf Club (a Nicklaus Design in association with Tom Clark). Now comes the next phase of development with four new neighborhoods, which will include many homesites with golf course views. A 15,000-square-foot clubhouse is scheduled to open in spring of next year.

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Apr 25, 2016
High Flying Deals


(SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL) With the possible exception of space travel, over-the-top amenities that come with the purchase of luxury homes may have finally reached “the sky’s the limit” level. At the South Florida luxe condo development, Aurora, owners get a one-year membership to a private jet charter company. While in New York City, the residents of 111 Murray Street have access to Blue Star Jets’ 25-Hour Sky Card program for last-minute flying. Wine cellars, lap pools, and yoga gardens were once considered enough to lure buyers to pay top dollar for luxury homes. But the ante has been upped in recent years with some developments offering luxury cars as part of the incentive to buy. But will it be enough? Bloomberg reports that “even with such enticements, it’s a tall order to hawk high-end condos these days.” Luxury condo prices are trending downward both here and abroad. Whether or not flashy amenities, like private jet travel, will help buck that trend remains to be seen.

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