Dec 31, 2014
The Club Re-Imagined

(BOCA RATON, FL)  The lucky members of the Polo Club of Boca Raton will no longer need to imagine a freshly renovated club. $27 million and a scant eight months after beginning a redesign of the Club, they celebrated the transformation before Christmas. All socializing and gathering areas, five dining establishments and the Spa and Fitness Center, as well as the Golf Pro Shoppe and Resort and Tennis Shoppe, were redesigned and reconstructed to create a more open-air, fresher and modern aesthetic. Renovations also included a new grand staircase, new foyers, entranceways, staff offices and reception areas. Shimmering chandeliers, brightened tones and energetic combinations of texture and light have replaced the traditional and historic feel of dark woods and deep colors. “One thing that was important to impart was a fresher, younger look,” said Brett Morris, Polo Club’s General Manager and Chief Operating Officer. “The people that we are trying to attract are 55-65, younger retirees, who want a complete lifestyle in Florida within a community that basically has it all. With Polo’s dining destinations, lectures series, recreational amenities and world-class Spa and Fitness Center, it’s been said that living here is like being on a cruise ship on land.”

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Dec 29, 2014
Asian Infusion

(MYRTLE BEACH) Golf is a global market and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Myrtle Beach golf market where investors from China now own 13 of the region’s approximately 100 golf courses. Shortly before Christmas, the Founders Group (an extension of Chinese company Yiqian Funding) wrapped up the purchase of Colonial Charters Golf Club. That gives the group nine golf courses on the Grand Strand, five of them bought in December. A frenetic pace, yes, but the investors have kept all the courses in operation. Will we see even more of Myrtle Beach bought up? “I know they are still looking for other opportunities,” Founders Group general manager Rick Taylor told MyrtleBeachOnline. But despite the infusion of cash into the region, the Chinese investors say they are feeling some pushback from locals. “Sometimes we feel we are not being treated as normal, like locals,” said Nick Dou, who represents the Founders Group. “If we feel good, we feel we’re treated fairly, we will move forward.”

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Dec 26, 2014
Cuba Libre

(CUBA) If you think the market for building golf courses in the U.S. has been sluggish, consider this: Only one 18-hole golf course has been in built in Cuba since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution. According to Bloomberg News, the course was started in 1990 and took eight years to complete. The Varadero Golf Club, designed by Les Furber at a cost of just $4 million, battled the country’s credit problems, shortages of tires, batteries and fuel, and Cuba’s bureaucracy on the way to completion. “They don’t work very efficient and they got old equipment,” Furber is quoted as saying. “It was fun, but frustrating sometimes,” he said, and “not lucrative in any sense.” Before the revolution, Cuba was home to some beautiful courses, including a couple of Donald Ross layouts. In Castro’s early years, photos were published of the dictator awkwardly swinging a golf club in full battle fatigues. But those courses disappeared under the regime’s changing priorities. Perhaps, golf will make a comeback. A 400-acre luxury resort, including a new golf course, has been in the planning stages by a U.K. company for five years, but construction is yet to begin.

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Dec 22, 2014
Last of Its Kind

(CHARLESTON, SC) The Guggenheim family was counted this land as part of its hunting and cattle ranch preserve. With its pluming sweetgrass, winding creeks, expansive marsh and stately live oak trees, it was a special place. Today, it offers some of Daniel Island’s most stunning vistas: winding creeks, golden marsh grass, and the finishing holes of the Rees Jones golf course that takes full advantage of the spectacular setting. If you’d like to enjoy the best views of those finishing holes (and be able to walk to the clubhouse from your home), you’re in luck. The first homesites in exclusive Ralston Park, located within Daniel Island’s country club neighborhood Daniel Island Park, will be available after the first of the year. The homesites are priced from the mid $200,000s to $500,000. 

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Dec 19, 2014
Bahamian Rhapsody

(ABACO, BAHAMAS) Hard to beat the views of the Caribbean at the Tom Mackenzie/Donald Steele course at the Abaco Club on Winding Bay.  The fairways run about as close as one can get to the sea without falling in. Naturally, the Bahamian “tropical links” course has been at the top of a lot of folks’ lists as one of the best in the region. Originally conceived by self-made multimillionaire Peter de Savary, then managed by Ritz-Carlton, and most recently Marriott, the club has been through a few hands. Now there’s news that Southworth Development, which has experience with links-style resorts like Machrihanish Dunes in Scotland, has bought the Abaco Club from Marriott Vacation Club. Southworth is planning a “multimillion-dollar renovation” of the existing facilities, scheduled to begin immediately. A new golf practice facility, marina, and boathouse are also being planned. “The Abaco Club has everything money can’t buy,” said David Southworth, the company’s president. “It’s a gorgeous setting, with a well thought out master plan and a passionate membership. It’s a perfect complement to our existing properties and we look forward to taking this world-class facility to an even higher level.”

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