Sep 15, 2014
Trumping the President

(NEW YORK) Maybe the rest of us shouldn’t complain when we can’t get onto the country’s elite courses. Perhaps you’ve heard by now that President Obama was in New York over Labor Day Weekend to attend a wedding. Naturally, he wanted to squeeze in a round of golf. But according to an NBC New York report, he was turned down by the Trump National Golf Club, Winged Foot and Willow Ridge. Seems none of these clubs wanted to inconvenience their members by shutting down over a busy weekend. Obama wasn’t singled out. King Mohammed VI of Morocco couldn’t get a tee time that weekend either. And these same clubs snubbed bill Clinton when he was he was in office. The clubs aren’t talking, with one notable exception: Donald Trump responded to the reports of Obama being rebuffed with a tweet: If Obama resigns from office NOW... I will give him free lifetime golf at any one of my courses!"

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Sep 12, 2014
Worth the Wait

(BLYTHEWOOD, S.C.) The recently unveiled clubhouse at Cobblestone Park Golf Club serves as a nice illustration for the journey private golf communities have been through in the last decade. The P.B. Dye-designed golf course first opened as the University Club in 1995 as part of the Cobblestone Park community. Home to the University of South Carolina's men's and women's golf teams, the course is widely hailed as one of the South’s best. In 2008, the old, smaller clubhouse was torn down to make way for a bigger and better version. Then the real estate recession came along. For nearly five years, the unfinished new clubhouse sat virtually untouched, a rusting eyesore. Homebuilder D. R. Horton saved the day when it bought the Cobblestone property in 2012 and immediately began updating its investment. Finally, six years after it was begun, the new 28,000-sq. ft. clubhouse, overlooking the finishing holes of the course, is a point of pride in the community. The three-story Colonial Revival clubhouse includes a main level with restaurant and bar, double-sided fireplace and banquet room, an upstairs level with boardroom space and bride’s and groom’s wedding suites, and a lower level with golf shop, men’s and women’s locker rooms, lounges and golf cart storage area.

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Sep 10, 2014
Senior Strategy

(ROCKY RIVER, OH) With due respect to the First Tee, the golf industry may be looking in the wrong direction to grow the game. This week’s Club & Resort Business reports,  “golf seems to be paying scant attention to an age group that is not only America’s fastest-growing but the most able to afford golf and club membership, and likely already involved in the game: namely, seniors age 65 and up.” Seniors have the time, the money, and the desire to play more golf. An increasing number of clubs are catering their programs to tap into this growing market and it seems to be paying off. Reduced membership fees as players age (and presumably play less), fitness regimens, and more senior-friendly tees are all being used to cater to seniors. One of the most innovative and successful programs is taking place at Ka’anapali Golf Resort on Maui where they instituted a unique solution to the problem some seniors have of playing a full 18 holes. Their “Golf My Way” program lets anyone (not just seniors) purchase an 18-hole round and play it any way they want. Play three holes and stop for breakfast? No problem.  At some Mosaic Clubs & Resorts there are programs where membership dues actually decline as members hit 60, 70, 75 or even 80. Some 80-year olds end up paying very minimal or no monthly dues at all.

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Sep 08, 2014
Choppy Seas

HORSHAM, PA) Rather than a smooth housing recovery, there will be “choppy seas and a sloppy boat ride,” Toll Brothers chairman, Robert Toll, told Bloomberg News last week.  The largest U.S. luxury home builder has seen orders for new homes fall in the last three months and has lowered its forecast for new homes for the year. Instead of delivering 5,850 homes, they expect at most to deliver 5,500. While that may not be good news for the industry, there’s no reason to feel bad for Toll Brothers. Their fiscal third-quarter earnings more than doubled thanks to rising prices. The average price of homes sold in the quarter climbed from $651,000 to $732,000. Toll Brothers’ revenue also rose to $1.06 billion from $689.2 million a year earlier. Doesn’t seem like too sloppy a boat ride after all.

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Sep 06, 2014
Big Break's Best

(GREENSBORO, GA) Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee is great place to visit (or live) under any circumstances, but the fun is being dialed way up this month as a field of 40 former Big Break competitors will go head-to-head in full tournament conditions for the first time at the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation. The four-day invitational tournament airs live Tuesday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 3 from 3-6 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel. Among the competitors are some of the series’ most memorable competitors, including Tommy “Two-Gloves” Gainey, NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, any many who are now competing on the PGA, LPGA and other pro tours. They’ll all be together competing on the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation. You can enjoy the competition as a spectator or by purchasing  the Big Break Invitational Package that includes golf, accommodations and tickets to the tournament.

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