Dec 03, 2014
Tumbling Treetops

(GAYLORD, MI) When your golf resort is located in northern Michigan, there’s not much chance of getting more than six months a year of playable weather. Treetops Resort and Spa, which made the list of most national golf magazines’ top golf resorts, filled the winter months with a full slate of snow activities. Apparently it wasn’t enough as the company that owns the resort filed for bankruptcy protection last week. The Detroit News reports that a court filing states the resort has suffered substantial operating losses and cash flow deficits." The financial problems were "due in part to the declining economy (and the golf resort business generally in Michigan) and, in part, due to poor management." This, despite the fact that total rounds of golf played rose from 48,843 in 2010 to 96,430 in 2013. Gross revenue rose 72% during the same period. Seems hard to place the blame on golf when it was trending up and when the resort’s long-term debt was dragging the operation down. Here's hoping they successfully negotiate bankruptcy. There's some fabulous golf to be played there.

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Dec 01, 2014
Headed Up

(MEADOW VISTA, CA) Things are looking up at Winchester Country Club, set in the Sierra foothills between San Francisco and Sacramento. We don’t mean just the views, which are spectacular at this exclusive golf and residential community that sits below the Sierra Tahoe snow line and above the Sacramento Valley fog. That advantageous elevation allows members to experience a unique doubleheader in the winter: skiing in the morning and golf in the afternoon. The club finished $1.3 million in capital improvements in August, including new bent grass putting surfaces throughout the entire course and aesthetic landscaping and club upgrades. Sales have been robust as of late and the increase in traffic spurred them to raise prices by $5,000 per homesite last month. Already prices per square foot at the community are drawing more than $100 per square foot above the average price per square foot in the area. Currently the average square foot price of a Winchester-built home is $368. With easy access to both Sacramento and San Francisco, plus recent inclusion in Golfweek’s Top 100 Residential Golf Course List, that’s a price plenty are willing to pay.

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Nov 28, 2014
Water Woes

(NIPOMO, CA) The ongoing drought in California has already had a big effect on the state’s golf courses. Now, the water shortage has prompted Trilogy at Monarch Dunes to consider ditching a planned third course and using the land for a vineyard instead. (The community is located in the heart of California’s Central Coast wine country.) According to The Tribune, the developer’s original plan called for 1,320 homes, three golf courses, a 500-room resort and a 140,000-square-foot commercial center. Their new proposal replaces one golf course with a vineyard and downsizes the resort to 300 rooms. The developer says the vineyard would save 88 million gallons of water per year compared to a golf course and that homeowners would have a stake in the vineyard. Seems like a proposal everyone can raise a toast to. 

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Nov 26, 2014
Happy Wintumn

(Truckee, CA) Signature golf courses, luxurious clubhouses, and enviable locations are hard to beat at the best of private golf communities. But as anyone can tell you who lives (or has lived) in one, it’s the intangibles that separate the best from the wannabes. Martis Camp is one of those places. Sure, they offer world-class golf and skiing. Yes, they’ve almost sold out of developer properties. And in a year of record sales, this is the community that set a record with a $1.6 million real estate sale in bitcoin (the virtual currency). But if you want to know why they are really so successful, check out their blog (link below) detailing what’s going on during the season they call Wintumn (equal parts autumn and winter). From Thanksgiving dinner at their Camp Lodge to holiday tree lightings, from skating on their rink to the lighting of Chanukah flames, life here is cozy, fun, and family-centered. Plenty of hot chocolate, cookie-making classes, and quiet moments with family in the season between golf and skiing. Wintum. It has a nice ring to it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Nov 24, 2014
Long Shot?

(EAST QUOGUE, NY) The Discovery Land Company has created some of the country’s most notable private golf communities, including Estancia and Mirabel in Arizona, Yellowstone Club in Montana, and Kuki’o in Hawaii. They haven’t ventured into the Eastern U.S. much and their current project on in the Town of Southampton on Long Island may shed light why. They are working to gain approval to build a community in the village of East Quogue that will have a little over 100 homes, a Tom Fazio golf course that “winds through a preserved forest of coastal pines,” and aclubhouse. A recent article in The Southampton Press painstakingly details zoning committee meetings with environmental experts that drill down to small details concerning as little as “2 milligrams of nitrogen or less.” Sounds like the going has been tough, but Discovery Land Company has stayed committed to both building the community and meeting the concerns of local residents, environmentalists, and planning boards. 

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