Dec 26, 2014 | 12:34 pm

Home For The Holidays

Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Here’s something to buy for yourself, a 50,000-square-foot mansion—with a private 18-hole golf course, to boot. The 106-acre property, known as Asherwood, is in central Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, and was the estate of the late real estate developer Mel Simon. According to Indianapolis Business Journal, the house is 15 years old and contains seven bedrooms, 24 full or partial baths, a theater, fitness room, indoor pool, tennis court, and more. There’s also a 6,000-square-foot guest house and 7,000-square-foot clubhouse (plus three maintenance buildings). The course was designed by architect Steve Smyers, who describes it on his website as a “golf facility of unique concept. The course offers three distinct nines, making possible three different course configurations. Each on is a par-36, championship-standard course.” The price? Well, if you have to ask, it’s $25 million.

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Dec 25, 2014 | 06:58 am

Bubba Claus

Along with his very obvious golf skills, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson has other “talents,” as well, including one for making videos and what some would calling singing. Adopting a new persona—that of Bubba Claus, a happy holiday elf who traded a sleigh for a hovercraft—Watson has made a new video for Christmas in which he raps about some of his favorite things. There’s sand instead of snow and we’re not quite sure what Gumby is doing there, but we’ll take a little “ho, ho, ho” however we can get it. Happy holidays, everyone.

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Dec 24, 2014 | 12:04 pm

Christmas Green

If you’re a golf course owner in Southern California this Christmas is much more merry than last. First, there are the recent rains, which the parched fairways have desperately needed. Second, many courses are taking advantage of the Metropolitan Water District’s turf removal incentive program, particularly after the MWD doubled its payment to $2 per square foot to replace grass with drought-tolerant landscaping. That works out to about $87,000 per acre and so far the MWD has committed almost $50 million to the program with nearly another $50 million in requests. There are about 20 courses are in the rebate program, including Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena (22 acres), Oakmont Country Club in Glendale (23 acres), Glendora Country Club in Glendora (25 acres), and North Ranch Country Club in Thousand Oaks (35 acres). The 27-hole North Ranch, for instance, stands to recoup more than $3 million from the MWD, as well as save $500,000 annually in water costs, which have gone from $400,000 in 2005 to $1.5 million today and rising. To save some green, courses have to give up some green these days.

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Dec 23, 2014 | 09:08 am

Changing of the Guard

Rory McIlroy may have had the most dominant year, but a look at the World Golf Rankings for Week 52 shows a few other players with plenty to smile about. Among the Top 10 as we close out 2014, 10th place Rickie Fowler made the biggest leap, from 40th a year ago. Just ahead of him in ninth, Jordan Spieth, on the heels of a strong December, jumped from 22nd place at the close of his rookie season and seems destined to climb even higher next year. The other big gainer was mercurial Bubba Watson who rode his second Masters victory into fourth-place, up 24 spots from last year. Five players--McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, and Justin Rose—retained their top-10 positions, while Phil Mickelson dropped from fifth to 14th, Matt Kuchar went from seventh to 11th place,  and Zach Johnson tumbled from ninth to 18th. The biggest losers?  Steve Stricker, who opted for a reduced schedule and fell from eighth to 41st, and yes, the injury-plagued Tiger Woods, number-one in the world last year (and 11 of the 15 years before that) who finished 2014 ranked 32nd in the world, his worst position since turning pro. Perhaps most telling, the average age of the five players who dropped out of the top 10 is 41 while the average age of their replacements (even with 44-year Jim Furyk among them) is 31.

          2014                            2013
  1 Rory McIlroy          1 Tiger Woods
  2 Henrik Stenson     2 Adam Scott
  3 Adam Scott            3 Henrik Stenson
  4 Bubba Watson      4 Justin Rose
  5 Sergio Garcia        5 Phil Mickelson
  6 Justin Rose           6 Rory McIlroy
  7 Jim Furyk              7 Matt Kuchar
  8 Jason Day             8 Steve Stricker
  9 Jordan Spieth       9 Zach Johnson
10 Rickie Fowler        10 Sergio Garcia
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