Aug 31, 2016
The Little Course That Could

(SANDWICH, MA) The golf course business is a tough one, even when it’s on a miniature scale. And while full-sized golf courses seem to be selling to the highest bidding developer at an alarming rate, this course, on some of the most valuable real estate in the country is not for sale. Boston’s NPR News Station, WBUR, reports that Mo and Sylvia Burke, whose Sandwich Mini Golf sits on land worth over $1 million, refuse to sell. Hard to blame them. Mo began building the course in 1950 when he was just 15 years old. It wasn’t much of a money maker until Cape Cod’s tourism industry exploded in the 1970s. Now in his 80s, Mo could take the money and run. But he won’t. As WBUR reports, “After 66 years of working on the course, Mo just doesn't seem to know how to stop.” Guess there’s still a little “quaint” left in old Cape Cod.

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Aug 29, 2016
Room at the Inn

(BEND, OR) With one of the most scenic locations in the country, side-by-side Jack Nicklaus Signature and Tom Fazio Championship courses, a region that serves up some of the world’s greatest craft beers, and world-class outdoor activities, Pronghorn has always been one of our favorite destinations. Now, with work begun on a three-story hotel, there should always be plenty of room to stay. The Bulletin reports that the resort has started grading the site that will house Huntington Lodge, a 68,757-square-foot, 104-room hotel that’s expected to open by the fall of 2017. Plans for the hotel have been in the works for some time. The resort initially planned to build a hotel in 2004, but an underground lava tube was discovered during utility construction, putting the project on hold. Then the real estate recession pushed the project further down the road. This time, it looks like it’s a go.

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Aug 25, 2016
Off the Campaign Trail

(PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL) One thing is for certain, ex-candidate Ben Carson has great taste in golf communities. The soft-spoken, retired neurosurgeon, who also happens to be an avid golfer, already owns a home at Ibis Golf and Country Club in West Palm Beach. But the Miami Herald is reporting that he just paid $4.37 million for an 8,700-sq. ft. home with a six-car garage in the Old Palm Golf Club. No word on whether he’ll keep both. We do know he’ll be in good company at his new digs, which are just a few doors down from Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen. Other golf notables, who live or practice here, include Charl Schwartzel, Darren Clarke, Ian Baker Finch, and Raymond Floyd, who designed the club’s course. Sounds like life in retirement, and off the national stage, is shaping up pretty well for Carson. Though, as President Obama has shown, the Oval Office doesn’t necessarily have to curtail how frequently one hits the links.

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Aug 24, 2016
In the Bear’s Den

(ORLANDO, FL) If you’ve been waiting on buying a vacation home at the Reunion Resort, your ship may have just come in. Club and Resort Business is reporting that Reunion Resort will break ground this fall on its final element. They saved something pretty special for last. The developer says the Bear’s Den Club will be a private gated enclave featuring Orlando’s highest end vacation homes with breathtaking panoramic views. Jack, himself, had design input on the community, which will surround the 18th hole of Reunion Resort’s Jack Nicklaus Tradition Course. As an owner, you’ll have access to Reunion’s restaurants, three golf courses, pools, tennis pavilions, waterparks, and biking and hiking trails. A private Bear’s Den Clubhouse will feature the “ultimate Jack Nicklaus experience,” with memorabilia commemorating his Hall of Fame career. You shouldn’t have much trouble renting place, as renters will enjoy the same access to all those amenities while staying there. “We’ve definitely saved the best for last with the Bear’s Den Club, as it truly is the perfect culmination to Reunion Resort,” said Jim Bagley, the developer’s Managing Director and Asset Manager. “We look forward to welcoming golf fans and travelers into this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind community.” Lot reservations are currently exclusive to Reunion Resort homeowners, and reservations will open to the public in the coming weeks.

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Aug 22, 2016
An Unplayable Lie

(PHOENIX, AZ) America’s Golf Courses Are Burning. The 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.

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