Aug 22, 2016
An Unplayable Lie
(PHOENIX, AZ) America’s Golf Courses Are Burning. The Bloomberg.com headline this past week is certainly attention-getting, as is the subhead, “More than 800 golf courses have closed over a decade. Now clubhouses are going up in flames.” The story focuses on Phoenix’s Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course, whose owner, losing money, shuttered the course and erected barbed-wire fences around it. Struggling to find a buyer, the course lost its clubhouse to a fire in February. Not surprisingly, the source of the fire is suspect. The story details a handful of other clubhouse fires, and declares, “More than 800 golf courses have closed nationwide in the last decade, as operators grapple with declining interest in the sport and a glut of competition. Many of those shuttered courses were built on land proscribed from redevelopment by local zoning codes seeking to preserve open space—or, as with Ahwatukee, by deed restrictions intended to protect homeowners who had paid a premium to live near a golf course. That leaves some golf course owners with the real estate equivalent of an unplayable lie: They can't make money running the course, and they can't recoup their investment by selling it.” Fair enough, but we’re struggling to make sense of this quote: “I’m hard-pressed to think of many cases where there isn’t a higher or better use than a golf course for the site,” said Jeff Woolson, managing director of the golf and resort group at CBRE Group. “The only clear exception would be Augusta, Georgia.” If Augusta National is the last course standing, we all better pray the membership requirements are relaxed.
Aug 19, 2016
Golf in the Mix
(DENTON, TX) Could there be another success story for golf communities in the offing? According to the Dallas Business Journal, Hartlee Field Ranch, a 652-acre ranch that includes a historic air strip with ties to World War II, is in talks to become a golf course-anchored, mixed-use development that would include two to three-acre estates. The ranch includes the Hartlee Field Airstrip, which served as a training ground for military cadets in World War II. A 19,500-square-foot home, which could be used as a potential clubhouse, sits on the property. Though you may not recognize Hartlee Field Ranch’s name, the property has been used in movies, including Armageddon and Outbreak, as well as music videos for Faith Hill and Meatloaf. Although the concept of a golf course-anchored development appears to be the frontrunner, other parties are looking at the buying the property. No word if golf might be in the mix for their plans. “We've gotten a lot of interest, mainly from developers, since Denton County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation,” Angie Nelson, vice president of the ranch and land division of Dallas-based Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty, told the Dallas Business Journal. “The city is on fire and there's been so much growth and steady development in Denton County.”
Aug 17, 2016
(HEBER CITY, UT) The private recreational mountain community of Red Ledges already had plenty of premier amenities for its members to enjoy: two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses (an 18-hole championship golf course and a new 12-hole Golf Park), the Jim McLean Golf School, the Cliff Drysdale Tennis School, an extensive equestrian program, a swim and fitness club, and two private member ski lounges in Deer Valley. But last year they added a spectacular clubhouse that was recently honored as one of the top “2016 Clubhouses of the Year” by Golf Inc. Magazine. The 15,300-sq. ft., two-story clubhouse features fine dining in the Juniper Grill, a sports shop, luxurious locker rooms, and relaxing patios offering great views of Mount Timpanogos. The western-ranch and mountain-style clubhouse epitomizes rustic elegance with its heavy timber columns, beams, and trusses, along with locally quarried red sandstone. Red Ledges, a Troon Privé managed club, placed third among all private club new clubhouses honored by Golf Inc.
Aug 15, 2016
(WESTFIELD, IN) There have been plenty of stories that past few years featuring golf courses turned into housing developments. In a new twist, Pulte Homes has proposed a residential community in Indiana that would surround a struggling golf course and make it the centerpiece of the development. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the 780-acre development in Westfield would include single-family houses, multifamily housing, tennis courts, swimming pools, and some commercial use. The future of the public Wood Wind Golf Course has been in question for more than a year. The Pulte proposal calls for partially redesigning, modernizing, and upgrading the course. Proposed new amenities also include a recreation center, lap pool, resort pool, kid’s pool, tennis and basketball courts and banquet pavilion to be added near the clubhouse at Wood Wind. But the developer has its work cut out for it. A much smaller project was recently opposed by a group of residents and failed to move forward.
Aug 12, 2016
$100 Million Expansion
(BLUFFTON, SC) Not content to be an award-winning resort, with a AAA Five Diamond award and named one of Travel & Leisure's "Top Romantic Hotels" in the world, the Inn at Palmetto Bluff has been undergoing a $100 million expansion this past year. The work is expected to be complete by September 1. The new high-end hotel, now named Montage Palmetto Bluff, will grow the resort from 50 cottages and 30 homes to include 200 additional rooms, a 13,000-sq. ft. spa and salon, a chapel and three new restaurants. The hotel is situated in Palmetto Bluff, a 20,000-acre luxury waterfront community that boasts a Jack Nicklaus golf course, conservatory, equestrian center, kayaking, boating, fishing, dolphin watching, a shooting range, tennis, croquet, and shopping, for its residents and guests. Condé Nast Traveler describes Palmetto Bluff as, “just what we have in mind when we swing down South—great golf, good manners, and plenty of room to relax. You won’t want for anything here—the resort offers up everything.” And soon there will be plenty of room for more of us to enjoy it.