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Nov 30, 2015
Underground McMansions


(SOMEWHERE-IN-GEORGIA) As the golf real estate industry continues to sort itself out, there have been way too many stories of golf courses being repurposed for housing developments. A recent story out of rural Georgia just might offer another (tongue-in-cheek) alternative: housing developments under golf courses. A home for sale in an undisclosed location caught our attention. The $17.5 million luxury home with 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms is buried 45 feet underground. Beyond the library, 15-seat screening room, conference room, gym, and rec room, this subterranean luxe home also includes decontamination showers, 3-foot thick concrete walls, state-of-the-art fresh air intake system, medical room, $100,000 security system and has been constructed to withstand a 20 kiloton nuclear blast. You got it. This was built to withstand the zombie apocalypse. Still, it’s above ground footprint takes up no more space than that comfort station at the turn. Hmmm…

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Nov 27, 2015
Changing Golf Economics


(BOCA RATON, FL) There are more golf courses in Florida (1,000+) than any other state. As more golf courses continue to close than open in the U.S. each year, the Sunshine State particularly feels the effects of the changing economics of the game. A lengthy New York Times piece this week examines why some courses in Florida are closing (and being developed for other uses) and why some, like Boca West Country Club, have adapted well. The article quotes Michelle F. Tanzer, a Boca Raton lawyer and National Club Association board member, as saying he golf industry is actually “doing much better than it’s looked since 2009.” Tanzer told the Times that Boca West’s $50 million investment in its facilities “is a perfect example of adapting” to the changing economics of golf. “They’re spending a fortune on making the place family-friendly. It’s a home run.”

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Nov 25, 2015
Golf in the Home of the Pilgrims


(PLYMOUTH, MA) The Pilgrims didn’t venture far from Plymouth Rock when they settled all those years ago. But if they ventured just seven miles further inland they could have been the original developers of The Pinehills. A community of more than 1,800 families with a village green, courses by Rees Jones, Jack Nicklaus, and Coore & Crenshaw, and the Mirbeau Inn & Spa, The Pinehills is located in the midst of history. Running through the community is Old Sandwich Road, the nation’s oldest unpaved road in continuous use. The picturesque development sits in a portion of the world’s third largest pine ecosystem. The pines frame the fairways and dominate the landscape, especially the 2,200+ preserved acres that make up about 70% of The Pinehills. Even if the Pilgrims had made their way here, unfortunately for them, the game of golf wouldn't reach these shores for another century or so.

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Nov 23, 2015
Battle Royale


(LONDON) We are used to watching Ryder Cup battles played out on the golf course. But at Wentworth Golf and Country Club, considered the birthplace of the Ryder Cup, members are getting ready to face off against a new management team. Last year, Chinese conglomerate Reignwood purchased the club for $210 million. Changes were bound to come, but members apparently never expected what the new owners announced last month: that they would cut membership of the club from 4,000 to 800. Not only that, but members must reapply for membership and pay $155,000 for the privilege. It gets worse for current members—for the lucky few that make the cut, their annual fees will double to $25,000. Members are considering taking legal action against Reignwood, which recently said it would invest over $30 million in the club over the next two years. Those new membership fees should provide plenty of cash to cover that investment.

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Nov 20, 2015
Multi-Million Dollar Renovation


(ISLE OF PALMS, SC) After a six-month, multi-million dollar renovation, the Links Course at Wild Dunes Resort has re-opened.  This is the first renovation since the course reopened following 1989’s Hurricane Hugo. “We’ve been talking about renovation for the last four or five years and finally got approval to do it this year,” director of golf Jeff Minton told The Post and Courier. “Basically, we rebuilt all the greens and increased the square footage from 62,000 to about 115,000 square feet so the greens are a lot bigger. They have a lot of subtle Fazio-type undulations. We were able to add close to 300 yards on the scorecard by moving some of the greens back a little and a few tees back.” The course’s seaside 18th hole, originally a par-5 that has battled erosion problems, remains a par-3 after the renovation.  “We are still in an erosional cycle and didn’t feel comfortable going back with either a par-4 or any kind of par-5,” Minton said. “For the short term, we just build a really good par-3 finishing hole that’s protected from the ocean with the idea that once this natural accretion they call for happens that we could build it back as a par-4 or par-5.”

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