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Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Week That Was, february 17, 2019

     The truth can hurt. So, especially in times of stress, people occasionally try to dull the pain by stretching the facts or telling half-truths or putting a happy face on a situation. They try, in other words, to make things seem to be better than they actually are.
     A recent example of such embroidery comes from Golf Advisor, in an article headlined “17 New Golf Courses Opening in 2019.” In the article, Golf Advisor not only contends that the collapse of golf development is “not necessarily a bad thing” (echoes of the National Golf Foundation!) but blissfully attempts to redefine the word new, which has been with us, according to Merriam-Webster, since before the 12th century.
     Clearly, the ground beneath our feet has shifted. When the NGF and golf’s other opinion-makers feel compelled to change definitions that have stood for eons, it’s because those definitions measure performance in ways that are too troubling.
     Did Golf Advisor actually find 17 new courses that will open this year? Absolutely not. It found 11 courses that, by the customary definition of the word new, are expected to open. And of those 11, only seven are in the United States.
     Regarding the six other courses on Golf Advisor’s list, they’re what we used to call major remodelings. In most cases, no doubt, the remodelings are dramatic. Still, back when developers were opening hundreds of courses a year, they wouldn’t have been considered new.
     Golf Advisor doesn’t want to deep-dive into the distinctions between traditionally defined new courses and newish courses that take shape atop existing courses. “There are some cases,” it acknowledges, “where one could potentially argue whether some of the ‘new golf courses’ on this list are actually heavy renovations.”
     You don’t say.
     Make no mistake: A broader definition of new, as originally championed by the NGF, doesn’t benefit the golf industry. It’s just a phony, transparent attempt to gloss over the truth about the current state of U.S. golf development. It doesn’t clarify. It doesn’t make people smarter. In fact, by muddying the facts, it clouds the issues.
     If we expect to solve golf’s problems, we have to be honest about the dimensions of those problems. I know many people in the golf business, and they can all handle the truth. Seven is an honest number. Seventeen is not.

     What’s been described as “the first major smart sustainable city” in Europe and “a place where you want to work, live, and play” could soon take shape in Castilblanco, a city in Badajoz, Spain. Eco- and family-friendly Elysium City has been master-planned to include houses, hotels, casinos, a Formula One race track, a “Disney-level” theme park, a waterpark, a 40,000-seat sports stadium, shopping areas, a high-speed train station, and an 18-hole golf course. A developer hasn’t been identified, but government officials hope to complete the city’s first phase of construction in 2023.

     Pipeline Overflow – A pair of South Korean companies may build resorts, complete with golf courses, in Primorye, Russia’s dedicated gambling zone. The companies are Ramid Hotels & Resorts and K International, and the quality of Ramid’s venue will reportedly be “at the level of recognized world entertainment centers Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Dubai.” . . . What’s said to be “a large-scale golf course development” is expected to take shape in Paralimni, a vacation spot on the eastern coast of Cyprus. A site hasn’t yet been chosen, and environmental concerns will have to be addressed, but the Mediterranean island has been angling to become a golf destination for many years. . . . Planning officials in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India, are looking for a private-sector group that’s willing to build the city’s first 18-hole golf course. The city has two nine-hole tracks, but the Lucknow Development Authority believes a regulation-sized layout is necessary to satisfy a “growing population.”

     Here’s a rundown of significant course closing that have occurred over the past month or so:
     – Sable Oaks Golf Club, a 30-year-old venue that features what’s been described as “probably the most significant 18-hole [course] that’s ever gone away in the state of Maine, without a doubt.” The course, in suburban Portland, was co-designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva, and its 179 acres are slated for residential development.
     – White Hawk Golf Club, the centerpiece of a golf community in Bixby, Oklahoma. Roger Rodich, who bought the 25-year-old club last year, hopes to build houses on the property’s 18-hole, Randy Heckenkemper-designed golf course.
     – Possum Trot Golf Club, which has operated on South Carolina’s Grand Strand since 1968, the year that the Smithsonian says “shattered America.” Possum Trot is operated on a lease that expires this fall, and it appears that the owners of the nearly 170-acre property are intent on residential development.
     – Woodland Meadows Golf & Event Center, in suburban Sacramento, California, which “just doesn’t have the community support anymore,” according to its owner. The 40-acre property, featuring a nine-hole course that opened in 1996, is slated for redevelopment.
     – Hawthorne Valley Golf Club, a 95-year-old facility in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, isn’t expected to reopen in 2019. The club, which has been living on borrowed time for several years, features an 18-hole, Donald Ross-designed course.
     – Badin Inn Golf Club, a venue outside Albemarle, North Carolina that’s operated since 1924. The 145-acre property has been sold to Newport Landowners Services, which told the Stanly News & Press that the inn’s an 18-hole, Ed Seay-designed track is “done as a golf course.”
     – Blackhawk Run Golf Course, an 18-hole track in Stockton, Illinois. The owners of the 55-year-old property reportedly hope to find a buyer.
     – Little River Resort’s golf course, an 18-hole, Dan Maples-designed track outside Pinehurst, North Carolina that’s in need of upgrades that might cost $1 million or more. The course reportedly lost its greens last summer, when its irrigation system failed, and Oceanico Group USA isn’t eager to spring for the repairs. It’s looking to sell.

     Duly Noted – What do Portugal’s top golf courses have in common? Well, no surprise here: None of them were created by Portuguese architects. What’s mildly surprising, though, is that every one of the top five, according to Sports Daily, were created by Americans: Jack Nicklaus, Cynthia Dye McGarey, Arthur Hills, Robert Trent Jones, and Joe Lee. . . . Hard numbers can’t be found, but the BBC has wondered why “so few people” attended the European Tour’s recent tournament in Saudi Arabia. “The inaugural and lavish Saudi International,” the British news service noted, “was most certainly not funded by gate receipts.” . . . After he did some minor damage to a few golf greens during the Saudi International, it was said that Sergio Garcia had “made a fool of himself” and was “not in a well-balanced state of mind.” It was said that his actions constituted “an offense that deserves a suspension.” Sadly, similar outrage wasn’t expressed when Garcia spewed a racist joke about serving fried chicken to Tiger Woods.

     Are you wondering how much of a week’s golf news I cover in this blog? The answer, unfortunately, is just a fraction of what passes my way. The golf business, particularly the development side of the golf business, has unquestionably perked up over the past year or two, and there’s no way for me to address all of it. So if your business requires a more comprehensive news digest, contact me via e-mail at golfcoursereport@aol.com. I’ll send you a sample issue of either U.S. or International Construction Clips, depending on your needs.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Week That Was, february 10, 2019

     Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most notorious human-rights offenders, aims to capitalize on the validation it’s received from the European Tour.
     The Saudi Golf Federation, its eyes trained on what’s said to be “a large, young, and affluent population with a growing interest in sports,” claims to be “committed” to building somewhere between 13 and 20 golf courses by 2030, at least some them to take shape in the puritanical kingdom’s forthcoming “economic cities.” If such dreams come true – for an untested golf market, a course a year for the next decade is a tall order – Saudi Arabia is going to emerge as a certified hot spot for golf development.
     Of course, it’s appropriate to wonder who’s going to fill the tee times and membership rolls on a dozen or more courses, as a Chinese news agency reports that Saudi Arabia has only 220 homegrown “registered” golfers, along with an estimated 6,000 other players. And perhaps more importantly, who’s going to design and build all those courses? We already know that European Golf Design is amenable to working in the monarchy, as it created the course that hosted the recent Saudi International, but how many other individuals or firms might be willing to lend credibility to a regime that censors free speech, discriminates against women, assassinates journalists, and slaughters innocent people in Yemen?
     Saudi Arabia will likely soon be a wonderful opportunity for the golf industry. It’s also going to expose our industry’s true values.

     Pipeline Overflow – Jim Urbina has been tabbed to redesign the nine-hole, par-3 layout that serves as the home course for the First Tee of Greater Portland, in Oregon. The remodeled track, the centerpiece of Seamus Golf Park at the Children’s Course, is being created by Seamus Golf, which built a course in Winter Garden, Florida that’s been called “short, architecturally interesting, and affordable.” . . . A Texas-based turf company reports that Tour 18 and a residential developer have teamed up to build a 2,000-acre golf community in North Houston, Texas. Details are scarce, but history tells us that the course at the to-be-named community will be a replica layout, like the Tour 18 venue in nearby Humble. . . . Glasgow Golf & Country Club, a venue in greater Bowling Green, Kentucky that was shuttered last year, may be revived. John Riley, the owner of a fireplace store, aims to buy and reopen the 85-year-old club, which is currently controlled by a local bank.

     Traditional Golf Properties has found a buyer for the last of the three Richmond, Virginia-area golf venues it put on the market in 2017. Late last year Joe Sanders, the owner of a local construction company, paid $800,000 for the dormant Stonehouse Golf Club (a.k.a. Tradition Club at Stonehouse), a 23-year-old property in Toano that features an 18-hole, Mike Strantz-designed layout. “The more I did the math, the more I thought it was a good buy and a reasonable investment if the business is run correctly,” Sanders told Richmond Biz Sense. In separate transactions last year, Traditional sold Brickshire Golf Club and Royal New Kent Golf Club. The company took a major haircut on Stonehouse, for which it reportedly paid $5 million in 2001. The price appeared to be a deep discount at the time, considering that Stonehouse’s previous owner had, according to the magazine, paid $16.3 million for the club in 1997.

     Surplus Transactions – On the final day of 2018, Joseph Hernandez, described as a “New York biotechnology entrepreneur” and a “philanthropist with ties to the University of Florida,” paid an undisclosed price for Gainesville Country Club. The 56-year-old, member-owned venue, which Hernandez acknowledges has had “great days and challenging days,” features an 18-hole, George Cobb-designed golf course. . . . Middleton Golf Course, an 18-hole layout co-designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Bill Robinson, will end its 54-year run next month. The town of Middleton, a northern suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, has agreed to pay $3.8 million for the course’s 52 acres, which will be developed with community facilities. . . . For $1 million, and as part of what’s been called “a public service,” the city of Moberly, Missouri has acquired Heritage Hills Golf Course. Heritage Hills feature an 18-hole layout that opened in 1965, and the city believes that it can “figure out operational activities in a timely manner.”

     Duly Noted – Later this year, Greg “the Living Brand” Norman expects to start selling “branded” CBD products to “active adult men and women” across America. Like other aging Baby Boomers, the LB has taken to complaining about the “significant wear and tear” that life has taken on his body, and he’s presumably discovered that CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana, can provide relief. . . . Speaking of the LB, Sandals Resorts International has pulled the plug on its proposed golf resort on the island of Tobago. The resort was supposed to feature a Norman-designed track that would lure “international tournaments” and make Tobago “a golfing destination.” . . . The self-described “world leader in private clubs” has hired Robert Morse, a former president of hospitality for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, as its chief operating officer. ClubCorp believes that Morse’s “wealth of operational knowledge” will prove to be valuable as it “transforms to a lifestyle company.”

     In compliance with recently issued European laws regarding data collection, I’ve been asked to provide a statement about my use of the data that’s collected about those of you who read the World Golf Report. So here’s what I have to say on the subject: I don’t collect any data, and I don’t put any cookies into your computer. That being said, here’s some language that Google, the company that maintains this slice of cyberspace, would probably approve of: “We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies.”

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Week That Was, february 3, 2019

     Alice Dye’s death leaves a void in an industry controlled by privileged men.
     Dye, who died last week at 91, was an individual of great accomplishments as an amateur player and course designer and a determined advocate for the place of women in a sport that routinely shuns them. The men who’ve so far commented on her passing remember her as “a trailblazer,” “the Patron Saint of the Forward Tee,” the “consummate partner” to her much more famous husband, and “the first lady of golf architecture.”
     That last phrase strikes a particular chord for me, because I remember a comment Dye made almost exactly a year ago, when she recalled what “a struggle” it was for her to become the first female member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. And I can’t help but note that not one of the many obituaries I’ve read since I learned of her death reached out to a woman for a tribute. If anyone needs further proof that golf remains fundamentally an old boys’ club, there it is.
     The men who grip the levers of power in our business need to recognize and remove the obstacles that women have to overcome in order to make valuable, lasting contributions. If there’s a lesson to be learned from a person’s life, that was Dye’s.

     Greg Norman is capitalizing on his role as Vietnam’s tourism ambassador. In a conversation with Golf magazine, “the Living Brand” reports that he hopes to start building a golf course next year on property that has “sand dunes that dwarf anything you’ve seen.” He’s also snooping around for golf-friendly sites outside the city of Sa Pả, in mountainous Lào Cai Province. Unfortunately, he provided no details. For some perspective, Lonely Planet says that Sa Pả’s tiny, remote villages, in the northwestern part of the nation, seem “a world apart,” and Wikipedia remarks that the people who live in the area are “very poor even by Vietnam’s rural standards.”

     The ink hadn’t even dried on its contract with Genzon Golf Club before European Tour Properties added another property to its fast-growing collection of branded destinations. The tour’s second signee of 2019 (and its third in the past three months) is Constance Lemuria, a high-priced, 250-acre resort on Praslin, a tropical island in the Seychelles that Lonely Planet regards as “a wicked seductress” with “lots of temptations.” Constance Lemuria is home to the only 18-hole course in the Seychelles, a track that was co-designed by Rodney Wright and Marc Antoine Farry, a Frenchman who used to play on the European Tour. Top 100 Golf Courses considers it to be “quite a fine golf course,” and an online reviewer says it’s set in a landscape that’s “so beautiful it becomes almost impossible to describe.” Constance Lemuria resort is owned by Constance Hotels & Resorts, which also maintains a 36-hole complex at its resort on Mauritius, another island in the Indian Ocean. In a press release, the tour said it was “committed to building the reputation of the venue.”

     Peter Thomson’s former design associates at now-defunct Thomson Perrett & Lobb have set out to blaze fresh trails with new partners. South Melbourne, Australia-based Ross Perrett has joined Karrie Webb, a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, to create Perrett Webb, while Tim Lobb, who operates out of an office in London, England, is looking to find clients in Canada via a collaboration with Alex Hay, who used to work for European Golf Design. The Lobb-Hay venture hasn’t yet signed any contracts (in a press release, Hay reports that it has “a number of exciting prospects that we are reviewing”), but Perrett Webb has been commissioned to turn Indooroopilly Golf Club, in suburban Brisbane, Queensland, into “a world-class facility.”

     Year over year, the number of rounds played on South Carolina’s Grand Strand, a bellwether of the U.S. golf market, fell by more than 7 percent in 2018. The culprit, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, is “one of the worst weather years in memory.” On the bright side, however, course owners and operators in the Myrtle Beach area expect an uptick this year.

     ClubCorp, once a golf company but now a self-described “lifestyle company,” has a master plan for growth that involves upscale dining, aquatics, fitness, wellness, racket sports, and various forms of family-based entertainments, including high-tech golf gaming. David Pillsbury, the company’s CEO, thinks such family-friendly, “low-friction” attractions can function as a gateway to golf, which, as he and many others believe, intimidates people with its steep learning curve. ClubCorp’s idea is to introduce the sport in enjoyable, easily digestible nuggets and, slowly but surely, get its members hooked on it.  
    “I believe that for decades now that most of the problems in golf are self-inflicted,” Pillsbury explained in an interview with the National Golf Foundation. “We don’t have a demand problem or an interest problem, we have a conversion problem. That’s a function of our inability as an industry to convert people who are interested in the game into becoming golfers. That’s because there’s so much friction in the process of conversion. So, what we’re after is taking that friction away, using all the contemporary tools to make golf more attractive, more fun, less intimidating, so we can migrate people down the funnel to ultimately become core, avid golfers. We believe, certainly within our ecosystem, you might start out as a fitness member, but if we’ve done our job, five or 10 years later you should be enjoying golf. That’s up to us. We have to manage that conversion from interest to trial. That’s where I think the industry has fallen short.”

     In compliance with recently issued European laws regarding data collection, I’ve been asked to provide a statement about my use of the data that’s collected about those of you who read the World Golf Report. So here’s what I have to say on the subject: I don’t collect any data, and I don’t put any cookies into your computer. That being said, here’s some language that Google, the company that maintains this slice of cyberspace, would probably approve of: “We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies.”

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Week That Was, january 27, 2019

     European Tour Properties has worked its way through Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and now it’s landed in China, as it’s added Genzon Golf Club to its stable of branded communities. Genzon, a 24-year-old facility in Shenzhen (it opened as CITIC Green Golf Club), features a pair of 18-hole, Neil Haworth-designed golf courses, the second of which arrived in 2008. The club has previously hosted European Tour events, and Planet Golf ranks its A course at the #10 track in the People’s Republic. (Golf Digest ranks it at #20.) In a press release, a club official expected the tour to help it create “a comfortable golf social space” so its members can build “a healthy body and pleasant mind to live life to its maximum.”

     Acknowledging that they’re making “a leap of faith,” a quartet of investors in Ooltewah, Tennessee have acquired Champions Club and its Jay Morrish-designed golf course. The group is led by Jim Brunjak, who’s acknowledged that Champions’ 18-hole track, once “one of the nicest courses in Chattanooga,” is “far from that right now.” Though they know that golf properties “usually lose money and are bad investments,” the new owners believe that there’s “still a place for a country club community with the synergy of a pool, tennis course, a golf course, and a dining facility in a close-knit community like Ooltewah.” Henry Luken, the owner of at least a half-dozen golf properties in the area, reportedly accepted $2.1 million for his 20-year-old club.

     Surplus Transactions – Elected officials in Collier County, Florida have voted to spend $28 million for Golden Gate County Club, a 55-year-old venue in Naples that features an 18-hole, Dick Wilson-designed golf course. The club’s current owners, Robert and Mario Vocisano, were hoping to build a subdivision on their 167-acre property. . . . Although it has designs on national expansion, GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness’ next acquisition will be located right in its wheelhouse. For an undisclosed price, Tom Walsh’s company has agreed to buy Fox Ridge Golf Course, a century-old, nine-hole track in Newton, Kansas. The sellers were Mike Riffel and Sid and Bob Nattier, who accepted GreatLIFE’s offer due to “the low profitability of the operation.” . . . One of the 11 golf properties recently sold by American Golf Corporation was Trophy Club of Apalachee, a 25-year-old venue in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. The parties involved haven’t disclosed any details about the transaction, but the buyer is said to be “a Class-A PGA member and longtime golf-industry executive.” Regarding the price, AGC was asking for $2.4 million.

     Surplus Surplus Transactions – The heirs of Robin Roberts, the Hall of Fame pitcher, have accepted $18.5 million for Limekiln Golf Club, an 85-year-old venue in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The end is near, however, as Matrix Development Group and a partner intend to turn Limekiln’s 209 acres, now the home of a 27-hole golf complex, into a community for active adults. . . . Southern Oaks Golf Club, an 18-hole track in Burleson, Texas that’s said to have “a private club feel,” has changed hands. For an undisclosed price, AngMar Retail Group has sold the 20-year-old club and its Mark Brooks-designed course to an entity that appears to be led by Shipman Companies. . . . Camp Rainbow Gold, a group that provides camps, retreats, and a variety of “emotionally empowering experiences” to children who’ve been diagnosed with cancer, has agreed to pay $1.3 million for Soldier Mountain Ranch & Resort, a 150-acre spread in Fairfield, Idaho. Soldier Mountain, which was once owned by Die Hard and Pulp Fiction star Bruce Willis, is home to a nine-hole golf course whose future is uncertain.

     Duly Noted – In an article for Golf Course Industry magazine, Henry DeLozier of Global Golf Advisors asks a question that a lot of people in our business would like to have answered: Will millennials save golf? Unfortunately, he never answers it. He does, however, note that our nation’s 6.4 million millennial golfers play golf primarily “to hang out with friends” and typically pay between $25 and $50 for a round, although 12 percent of them (768,000) are currently members of private clubs. . . . When golf clubs tied to residential real estate go under, home values plummet. As it turns out, though, residents of communities with mandatory club memberships may also be paying a price, as the dues they’re obligated to pay to keep their clubs afloat are making their houses less salable. Because buyers are fewer and farther between, according to a real-estate economist, homes in communities that are obligated to support clubs are typically priced “way below what they should be selling for.” . . . Come this April – on the 20th, if the new owners truly appreciate the spirit of legalization – a golf course in southeastern Ontario is expected to debut as “Canada’s, and perhaps North America’s, first cannabis-themed golf course.” What’s now known as Lombard Glen Golf & Country Club will operate as Rolling Greens Golf Club, and golfers will be encouraged to enjoy the high life.

     Are you wondering how much of a week’s golf news I cover in this blog? The answer, unfortunately, is just a fraction of what passes my way. The golf business, particularly the development side of the golf business, has unquestionably perked up of late, and there’s no way for me to address all of it. So if your business requires a more comprehensive news digest, contact me via e-mail at golfcoursereport@aol.com. I’ll send you a sample issue of either U.S. or International Construction Clips, depending on your needs.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Week That Was, january 20, 2019

     If federal authorities approve, a local development group will build a 36-hole golf complex outside Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam’s largest metropolis. The complex, to be developed by Cần Giờ Tourism Urban Area JSC, will take shape on roughly 330 acres of reclaimed land in Cần Giờ, a coastal district roughly 35 miles south of the city, and it’ll be among the attractions at a massive vacation spot – nearly 7,200 acres – that the city has been hoping to create for several years. Needless to say, HCMC expects the place to become what a national news service calls “a destination for domestic and international tourists.” But the developers and the city have a problem: Vietnam’s current master plan for golf development says that HCMC can have only five golf courses by 2020, and it already has at least three. HCMC has petitioned for a larger allotment, but its request hasn’t yet been met.

     Some information in the preceding post first appeared in the December 2016 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     Pipeline Overflow – Speaking of Vietnam, FLC Group, one of the country’s premier golf developers, has set out to build a huge sports-focused complex in suburban Hà Nội. A site hasn’t yet been identified, but FLC needs enough land for, among other things, a 100,000-seat sports stadium, a Formula One track, a horse-racing track, a conference center, a “resort hospital,” and a golf course. . . . A Singapore-based entity has secured permission to build a “new city” in Santa Ana, a town on the northeastern tip of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Business World reports that the city, called Polaris, will include houses, hotels, casinos, “online gaming businesses,” a business park, “a cyberpark for digital currency firms,” and “golf courses.” . . . A joint venture led by a state-owned company aims to develop a 250-acre resort community on Langkawi Island, off the coast of northwestern Malaysia. 99°East Golf Club has been master-planned to include a hotel, 58 villas, some apartments, a polo center, an international school, and an 18-hole golf course.

     Renaissance Golf Group has made its third acquisition in less than a year, as the Raleigh-based firm has purchased Ironwood Golf & Country Club and its 18-hole, Lee Trevino-designed golf course. Ironwood, a 23-year-old facility in Greenville, is the fourth property in Renaissance’s all-North Carolina portfolio, joining Beaufort Club in Beaufort and two properties in Leland that Renaissance bought in 2018, Compass Pointe Golf Club and Magnolia Greens Golf Course. Jay Biggs, Renaissance’s president, believes that each of his company’s clubs offers “unique character and potential for growth.”  

      Surplus Transactions – For a price that appears to be in the vicinity of $3 million, Cathy Haley has found a buyer for Mountain View Golf Course, an 18-hole track in Santa Paula, California that’s been plagued by water shortages in recent years. The Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation expects to use Mountain View’s 60 acres as an education center, but it may maintain what the Ventura County Star describes as “a modified nine-hole golf course” on the property. . . . Pendleton Country Club, a financially desperate property in Pendleton, Oregon, may soon have a new owner. An unidentified entity or individual has agreed to buy the 90-year-old club, which features an 18-hole track that’s said to be “Eastern Oregon’s best-kept golfing secret.” . . . Oscar Booher leads a group that’s acquired Cree Meadows Country Club, a venue that’s operated in Ruidoso, New Mexico since 1947. In a comment that has the ring of a back-to-the-future moment, Booher told the Ruidoso News that the club, which features an 18-hole, 5,974-yard golf course, “will be operated under the same way it’s been since back in [the] 40s.”

     Duly Noted – Greg “the Living Brand” Norman, now serving a three-year term as Vietnam’s tourism ambassador, reports that he’s been “working very closely” with government officials to ensure that the socialist republic “will ultimately emerge as one of the world’s premiere tourist destinations.” In addition, he’s making “a big push for the development of academies and public-access golf courses.” . . . Talk about international events: Last year’s Open Championship, at Carnoustie Golf Links, attracted 172,000 customers, nearly half of whom (49.8 percent) arrived from countries outside Scotland. . . . Carnegie Abbey Club has assumed a new identity. The new ownership group now calls the 19-year-old, British-influenced venue, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the Aquidneck Club, and it promises that members “will enjoy everything that Carnegie Abbey had to offer and much more going forward.”

     In compliance with recently issued European laws regarding data collection, I’ve been asked to provide a statement about my use of the data that’s collected about those of you who read the World Golf Report. So here’s what I have to say on the subject: I don’t collect any data, and I don’t put any cookies into your computer. That being said, here’s some language that Google, the company that maintains this slice of cyberspace, would probably approve of: “We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies.”