Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Week That Was, june 19, 2016

     The wealthy owner of the Broadmoor, one of the premier golf resorts in the American West, has taken sole control of Sea Island resort, an equally prominent golf resort on St. Simons Island in Georgia. Philip Anschutz has been a minority owner of Sea Island since 2010, when he and three investment groups rescued it from bankruptcy protection, reportedly for $212.4 million. Anschutz hasn’t revealed what he paid to buy out his partners, but over the past five years he’s added two historic golf venue to his corporate holdings. In a press release, Sea Island’s president said that the purchase will bring “a level of stability, continuity, and long-term commitment” to Sea Island -- qualities necessary to restore some of the property’s lost luster -- and create “a marriage of two unique, five-star resort destinations” that offer “a wide range of offerings and experiences.” Anschutz, who’s said to be worth $10.6 billion, made his fortune in oil, railroads, and telecommunications, and these days he also owns newspapers and invests in movies and professional sports teams (the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings). He bought the famed Broadmoor, in the mountains outside Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2011. With Sea Island, he gets a luxurious, private waterfront resort community that features high-priced houses, a couple of hotels, a spa, a beach club, five miles’ worth of beaches, and a service team that reportedly “epitomizes Southern hospitality.” And, like the Broadmoor, it has three 18-hole golf courses drenched with architectural significance. Harry Colt, Charles Alison, Walter Travis, Tom Fazio, and Rees Jones are among the architects who’ve worked at Sea Island.

     Pacific Links International has put another one of its U.S. golf properties on the market. This time it’s the Golf Club at SouthShore, a venue in suburban Las Vegas, Nevada that’s anchored by an 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus “signature” layout. Colliers International hasn’t listed a price for the club, but it believes that Nicklaus’s 20-year-old course “ignites a golfer’s passion and provides a peaceful escape.” PLI, a Chinese/Canadian company that operates an international network of limited-access membership golf clubs, has been disposing of golf assets for more than a year. Since March 2015 it’s parted with (or agreed to part with) two of its five properties on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii (Kapolei Golf Club and Olomana Golf Links) as well as another Las Vegas-area property, DragonRidge Country Club, and Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, West Virginia. PLI hasn’t publicly explained why it’s looking to rid itself of ownership responsibilities, but it has acknowledged that its membership network has become its “primary focus.” The company still owns one course in metropolitan Las Vegas, Southern Highlands Golf Club, and three on O’ahu: Royal Hawaiian Golf Club, Makaha Golf Club, and Makaha Valley Country Club.

     Ernie Els made his first appearance in Vietnam last fall, as he was the guest of honor for the ceremonial ground-breaking of an Els-branded training center in suburban Hà Nội that will offer the area’s golfers “a Tour-player-for-a-day experience.” The 30-acre Els Performance Golf Academy is expected to open sometime this summer. It’ll feature a nine-hole par-3 course and a short-game practice area, and it’ll be managed by Troon Golf, which is likewise making its first appearance in Vietnam. The academy is one of the attractions at Ecopark, a “a modern, civilized, and environmentally friendly” master-planned community whose residents will be able to “live life to the fullest.” Els believes that Vietnam is “one of golf’s most vibrant markets right now,” and his recent visit won’t be his last, because his website indicates that he has two other golf commissions in the nation.

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the November 2015 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

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