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Feb 25, 2015
Pro Shop Swan Song?


(SALEM, SC) The days of the pro shop being the place you stopped in before your round to replace a worn out glove, grab an extra sleeve of balls, or fill your pocket with free tees, may be a thing of the past. And the trend is being driven by a private luxury community. The Cliffs (yes, that collection of seven private communities in the Carolinas) is transforming its golf shops into award-winning luxury lifestyle stores. With a shopping experience for the whole family, the shops are more like a high-end boutique and cater to the needs of golf and non-golf members alike. Members and their guests can buy golf shoes…but also hiking, lifestyle and summer shoes. Luxury items like Vitamix blenders, tech gadgetry, custom paddleboards, hiking gear, Meyer lemon trees, premium luggage, watches and celebrity items are also available. So far they have transformed three of their golf shops, including the newly rebranded The Cliffs Storehouse at Keowee Falls. That store has been successful by all measures. At its grand opening, members bought more than $8,000 of merchandise in the first two hours and the store has surpassed its annual budgeted revenues by more than $43,000 in just eight months. Let’s just hope those free tees don’t get lost in the shuffle.

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Feb 23, 2015
Live Like The Donald


(GREENWICH, CT) Maybe you can’t be The Donald, but you can get a taste of what it’s like to live like him. Or more like the early version of him. Back in 1982, Trump and his first wife, Ivana, purchased a waterfront mansion on a peninsula in Greenwich, Connecticut, for $4 million. Using materials that they were also using to refurbish Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, their home was soon “dripping in gold leaf and other elaborate trappings of elegance,” according to TopTenRealEstateDeals.com. Ivana ended up with the home after their divorce and sold it for $15 million. The new owners toned down the glitz and, though it’s hard to believe the Trumps didn’t have more than enough room, put on an addition. Now standing at nearly 20,000 square feet with eight bedrooms and thirteen baths, the house is on the market for $54 million. Looks like Trump’s golden touch with real estate didn’t leave the property when he did.

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Feb 20, 2015
Lifestyle Upgrade


(PALM CITY, FL) There’s a reason the best private communities stay at the top of their game: they continue to improve. Harbour Ridge Yacht & Country Club, which brings together boating and golf in a magnificent way for its members, would seem to have it all. But this week its membership approved a 3-year, $11 million amenity enhancement program to build a new lifestyle center and renovate its famed Golden Marsh golf course. (And doing it by the way without levying a membership assessment or incurring new long-term debt.) The new lifestyle complex, designed by Peacock + Lewis of North Palm Beach, will include fitness and workout areas, Pilates and personal training spaces, physical therapy capability, a full-service spa, salon and wellness center, a tennis and retail shop, as well as food and beverage. Outside will be an enlarged pool for both lap swimming and water aerobics, a children’s play area and nine tennis courts. Construction of the new lifestyle center is expected to begin in November 2015, with completion targeted for December 2016. That will be followed by the renovation of Golden Marsh, expected to begin in Spring 2017 and finish by year’s end.

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Feb 18, 2015
Major Facelift


(SANFORD, NC) You can never have enough of a good thing. Members at Carolina Trace Country Club in North Carolina’s famed Sandhills region can count their blessings that they have two course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. That will allow them to continue enjoying the Creek Course while the Lake Course undergoes major renovations starting March 1. The complete overhaul will include new leveled, squared tee complexes with additional sets of tees, completely rebuilt bunkers (new ones will be added, some existing will be relocated and others will be eliminated), re-contoured fairways, and removal of trees that have encroached onto the course over the past 40 years. Escalante Golf, which purchased the club last year, expects to wrap the renovations up by this fall. They will also overhaul the clubhouse, including completely redoing the men’s and women’s locker facilities.

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Feb 16, 2015
Justice Done


(WINTERGREEN, VA) Though the Wintergreen Resort holds sentimental value for billionaire James C. Justice II (it was one of the last places he golfed with his dad), selling it has been part of the plan all along. His company bought the then financially troubled Wintergreen for about $16.5 million three years ago and invested nearly as much making improvements to the property. The demands of The Greenbrier Resort and his other business dealings kept Justice from ever visiting Wintergreen after the purchase. According to The Daily Progress, EPR Properties, a real estate investment trust based out of Kansas City, Missouri, has purchased the property and will lease to the rights to manage the resort to Pacific Group Resorts. Terms of the deal were not disclosed except that Justice will retain ownership, a 400-acre site adjacent to the resort’s ski operations that he may develop into resort lodging and residential property.

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