Apr 01, 2016
Sun Belt Surge

(MCLEAN, VA) For golfers, the lure of the Sun Belt, with its promise of year-round play, is almost a no-brainer. Golf courses and private golf communities have always sought the sun-soaked regions of the U.S. in far greater numbers than the northern regions. While last decade’s recession put a bit of a freeze on the move south, new U.S. Census Bureau numbers indicate that Sun Belt cities, like Tampa, Dallas, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Atlanta, were among the country’s fastest growing last year. That growth coincides, not incidentally, with an improvement in the employment opportunities in those cities. Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, who, according to USA Today, closely follows the migration south, sees this as the beginning of a longer-term trend. On the other side of the coin, the same Census data shows growth slowed in the greater New York area, as well as Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and their suburbs.

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Mar 30, 2016
Tiger’s Trophy Property

(FAIRVIEW, NC) With Bluejack National now officially the first Tiger Woods-designed golf course in the U.S. it’s easy to forget the fanfare that accompanied the Cliffs at High Carolina in 2007. The 795-acre tract in North Carolina was supposed to be home to the first U.S. Woods-designed golf course, but the project fell victim to the real estate market collapse and Tiger’s own personal troubles. The land, once sold for $40 million, is now on the market at $24 million. The project, which was to include 1,000 luxury homes (only two of which were ever built), was officially declared dead back in 2011 and the land went into foreclosure. According to the Citizen-Times, in 2013 the original seller took back the property, which includes an eight-acre lake. The land, described as a “trophy property,” is being marketed under a trademarked name, The Majestic Highlands of Asheville.  

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Mar 28, 2016
Mammoth Manor

(WESTCHESTER, NY) The Donald is used to getting what he wants. But 20 years after buying the opulent Westchester mansion know as Seven Springs, the 230-acre property remains an undeveloped family summer retreat. Trump spent nearly a decade trying to get approval for what would have been his very first golf course. He got as far as hiring Arthur Hills to design the course and contemplated naming it The Trump Mansion at Seven Springs. But the locals vigorously opposed his plan and, uncharacteristically, Trump gave up on his vision for the property that was once owned by the Rockefellers, settling instead for approval to subdivide it and build homes. That still hasn’t happened and the 50,000-square-foot home and carriage house, where the Trump family spent summers and weekends, remains a part of the family’s portfolio. Who knows? The way things are headed, Seven Springs might become a Presidential summer retreat.

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Mar 25, 2016
Water Wise

(CARMEL, CA) Significant—and smart—renovations at The Preserve Golf Club in the Santa Lucia Preserve Community will be noteworthy, not just for how they will improve the playing experience at the top-ranked course. In water-starved California, the renovations will also result in a marked decrease in water use—by as much as 35 million gallons a year. The fairways are being changed from bent grass to Santa Ana Hybrid Bermuda grass for a firmer, faster, and consistently superior playing conditions. A complete renovation of its bunkers and new tees that add length and variety will added to seven holes. But the renovations have another benefit. Working together, the club and The Santa Lucia Preserve Community were able to realize a marked reduction in water use by improving and increasing the course’s ability to collect and store drainage water. The course could reap savings of 22 million gallons of water per year initially, and when all the efforts are complete, savings could be as much as 35 million gallons of water annually. The Preserve is the only community in America with a perpetually endowed, 18,000-acre nature conservancy.

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Mar 23, 2016
No Relief

(COEUR D’ALENE, ID) Ouch! Former members at The Golf Club at Black Rock, who paid initiation deposits ranging from $40,000 to $125,000, lost a class-action lawsuit this week to get those initiation fees back. The Spokesman-Review reports that the 2008 recession and credit crunch of 2008 killed new sales at Black Rock, a luxury golf community with 382 homesites. When the club began to default on $12.5 million in loans from Washington Trust Bank back in 2010, the bank forgave the debt in exchange for ownership of the property. All memberships were terminated and the bank negotiated the sale of the club to a homeowners’ investment group for $6 million. It has since reopened as The Golf Club at Black Rock LLC. The new owners sold buyback memberships for $25,000 each, but the former members were left holding the bag. 

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