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Aug 01, 2016
Shrinking Courses


(PHOENIX, AZ) Part of the golf appeal of Phoenix, beyond 300+ days of sunshine a year, is the sheer number of courses to choose from (more than 200 in the Phoenix area). Turns out that number may be too high to sustain. Several golf courses there have been in the news lately as developers consider shrinking the courses, or getting rid of them altogether, and using the valuable real estate for housing or other development. Last week, the owners of the Raven Golf Club in south Phoenix dropped plans to turn half of the course’s 18 holes into houses after sustained community and city opposition. But the Phoenician resort’s new owners may turn their 27 holes into 18 and the Phoenix City Council this month approved the first phase of transforming what was once the Vistal Golf Club in south Phoenix into hundreds of single-family homes, according to The Arizona Republic. Phoenix has seen “renewed interest” over the last few years in turning golf courses into other uses, Alan Stephenson, director of Phoenix's Planning and Development Department, told the newspaper. At least they can’t take the sunshine away.

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Jul 29, 2016
Presidential Club Selection


(WASHINGTON, DC) We know where President Barack Obama is going to live after he leaves office next January (he’ll stay in Washington), but speculation has been ramping up over where he will take a golf membership. It will have to be close to home. Obama has played nearly 300 rounds during his presidency and the expectation is that he’ll want to play lots more once he has the freedom to do so. Club & Resort Business reports on the speculation gathered from D.C.-area publications and the smart money seems to be on Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland. According to the article, a full membership there carries initiation fees of $80,000. The club was founded for the Jewish American community in 1913 and was the only D.C.-are club before the 1950s that would accept Jewish members . The publication noted that the club has won “Best Place for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah” in every readers’ poll conducted by Bethesda Magazine since 2011. “How cool is it that the first African-American president of the United States may well be joining a country club originally established because Jews couldn’t get in anywhere else?” asked Ronald Halber, the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, D.C.

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Jul 27, 2016
The Bandon Boost


(BANDON, OR) Bandon Dunes must be used to the praise by now for having positioned itself as the best pure golf experience on the planet. Its courses are on every serious golfer’s bucket list. And now the resort’s local newspaper, The World, has published a piece praising the golf mecca for becoming “one of Coos County’s greatest economic boosters in terms of payroll, taxes and a host of indirect economic benefactors.” The article cites a University of Oregon report that says the total rounds played at Bandon Dunes, the county’s top employer, reached nearly 147,000 in 2014, an increase of 64 percent compared to 2010. Not only are more rounds being played, but golfers are staying longer (no doubt due in part to the increased number of courses at the resort). And golfers are spending more in the region during the stay. “Through job creation and tax contributions alone, [Bandon Dunes Golf Resort] emerges as a key champion of the South Coast’s current and future economic growth,” according to the University of Oregon report. “With that long-term vision in mind, BDGR has also engaged in what appears to be an authentic and mission-driven effort to support the region well beyond job and tax growth through a series of comprehensive community engagement initiatives.” High praise indeed.

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Jul 25, 2016
Star Power


(JERSEY CITY, NJ) F. Scott Fitzgerald said it most famously, that the rich are different from you and me. And as if we didn’t know, celebrities are, too. Forbes reported last week, that celebrities also buy homes differently than rest of us and listed six ways. Some of the ways are not surprising. They spend more money on their houses, lots more. They have better amenities (While Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s four gold toilets may not appeal, Britney Spears’ 3,500-bottle wine cellar may get you a wee bit jealous.) Celebrities also buy younger and shop with a team. But perhaps the most intriguing ways they buy houses differently is that they buy off market (these pocket listings never appear on MLS) and they don’t get emotionally attached to their houses. Forbes cites Jordan Spieth, who just sold a home he purchased in 2014 for another more expensive place, as an example how celebrities buy and sell homes much more frequently.

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Jul 22, 2016
“Hell, No!”


(RINGOES, NJ) With all eyes turning to Baltusrol this coming week, less than an hour away another New Jersey golf course was making the news. NJ.com reports that a plan to build a $2.5 million clubhouse at county-owned Heron Glen Golf Course drew a packed house to a public hearing this week. The ordinance was approved 4-1, but not without some fiery opposition. When it came time to vote for a roll-call vote on the measure, Robert Walton, the lone dissenting legislator, yelled, “Hell no!” The debate was colorful, with Walton describing the clubhouse as the fly in the bowl of lobster bisque; another calling it a Taj Mahal being built on the taxpayers’ dime; and one pragmatic objector saying, “What you need is a pavilion with drop-down sides, some grills and some cold beer.” In the end, when the ordinance was approved, someone in the audience had a retort for Walton’s lone dissenting vote, yelling out, “Hell, yes!” Now, that the clubhouse has been approved, here’s hoping they can all rally round the project. But, truth be told, that pavilion with drop-down sides, a grill, and cold beer had a certain cachet to it.

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