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Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Week That Was, november 26, 2017

     Tom Peed is primarily a publisher and a cattle rancher, but he and the rest of his family are fast becoming serious players in the golf industry. Last week the Peeds raised their profile considerably by buying Dormie Club, a celebrated but under-performing venue in the Pinehurst, North Carolina area. (Dormie checks in at #49 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.) The purchase comes on the heels of two other well-regarded properties that the Peeds have acquired over the past 18 months, Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke, Virginia and Briggs Ranch Golf Club in suburban San Antonio, Texas. Combined with their ArborLinks Golf Club, in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the Peeds are fulfilling their promise to create a network of “pristine private destination courses” that serve “the needs of executives and corporate entities for retreats and other events.” Dormie features an 18-hole, Coore & Crenshaw-designed course, an asset that gives it major cred among opinion-makers in the golf industry. It fizzled out as a private club shortly after it opened, in 2010, but the Peeds told the Southern Pines Pilot that they intend “to restore it to its intended glory as one of the finest pure golf destination courses in the region.” The improvement plan will be executed by Landscapes Unlimited, which will also oversee the construction of a clubhouse and lodging on the 1,020-acre property.

     Surplus Transactions – For an undisclosed price, Michael Mathews has acquired Prescott Golf & Country Club, a 45-year-old venue that members interviewed by the Prescott Valley Tribune believe has “lost some of its appeal.” The club, in Dewey, Arizona, features an 18-hole, Milton Coggins-designed course, part of which may someday be developed. The sellers were Jeff and Jessica Hall, who’d owned Prescott since 2011. . . . Last month, Margie and Dave Druce purchased Saddle Ridge Golf Course, the nine-hole centerpiece of a 350-house community in Portage, Wisconsin. The Druces have lived along Saddle Ridge’s fourth hole since 2006, and they told the Portage Daily Register that they want to “save” the course and make it “the best it can be for our community.” . . . Ronny Maxwell and a group described by the State as “determined citizens” have acquired the former Paw Paw Country Club, a financially stressed venue in Bamberg, South Carolina. Paw Paw, which is now called Bamberg Golf & Sports Club, had been closed through most of this year, and it’ll henceforth operate on what Maxwell calls “a tight budget.” It features a Russell Breeden-designed course that opened in 1981.

     The owner of a destination for auto-racing enthusiasts outside Arrowtown, on New Zealand’s South Island, has set out to broaden his customer base. Tony Quinn hopes to secure permission to build “a world-class golf course and residential development” adjacent to his Highlands Motorsports Park, a facility that includes a race track, a Go-kart track, and an automobile museum. Quinn’s 18-hole, “inland links-style” course will be co-designed by Brett Thomson and former professional golfer Phil Tataurangi, the team that created Windross Farm Golf Course, a venue in suburban Auckland that Top 100 Golf Courses ranks among the nation’s best. Quinn, who reportedly made his money in the pet-food business, believes his course will lure travelers who come to the area to play the Hills Golf Club, Jack’s Point Golf Course, and Millbrook Resort Golf Course, all of which are ranked among New Zealand’s top 10 by Golf Digest.

     Pipeline Overflow – Discovery Land Company wants to build a golf community on Barbuda, although it first needs to help rebuild the island ravaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria. “It’s basically uninhabitable,” DLC’s CEO, Mike Meldman, told Mansion Global. DLC hasn’t said much about its plans, but it appears to be working with John B Turbidy and John Paul DeJoria, the founder of the Paul Mitchell hair-care company. Incidentally, the hurricanes didn’t do any damage to DLC’s Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club in the Bahamas. . . . It’s taken more than two years, but Greg “the Living Brand” Norman has finally turned a little ceremonial sod at the Huntley, a long-delayed community in New South Wales, Australia. Visionary Investment Group, the Chinese entity that’s developing the project, now calls the community Silkari, and it promises to deliver “the best holiday experience on the planet, ever, period.” Still no word on when the course will open, though. . . . Allerthorpe Park Golf Course, an 18-hole track in East Yorkshire, England, will soon be raised from the dead. Allerthorpe closed four years ago, but it’s been purchased by a resort developer that intends to reopen it in the spring of next year, as the anchor of a community with 150 “luxury holiday homes.”

     Burroughs & Chapin Company, the ever-shrinking owner/operator on South Carolina’s Grand Strand, has pulled the plug on a pair of 18-hole, par-3 golf courses. The dearly departed are the Midway and Cane Patch layouts, both located in Myrtle Beach, both designed by Ault Clark & Associates, and both former 27-hole complexes. The former opened its first holes in 1974, the latter in 1981. The Myrtle Beach Sun-News says that the courses had been “popular with families because the short lengths of the holes are ideal for young children and golf novices.” B&C has sold several golf properties in recent years, notably a track at its Grande Dunes community in Myrtle Beach, and its National Golf Management subsidiary sold many of the venues now in the Founders Group’s portfolio. B&C still owns several golf properties, but they’re also on the endangered list.

      Desolation Row Extended – Speaking of 18-hole, par-3 courses, the lights have been turned out on one in greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. West View Golf Course, a 52-year-old venue in the town of Akron, has been sold to HandiVangelism International Ministries, which will build office space, a dining hall, and three houses on the 16-acre property. Neither HandiVangelism nor the seller, Robin Seidel, has disclosed the sale price. . . . One of the two golf courses at the Omni resort on Amelia Island, in Florida, has bitten the dust. The 18-hole Ocean Links, which has nine Pete Dye-designed holes and nine Bobby Weed-designed holes, had operated since 1975. The resort is investing the money it saves on maintenance into improvements to its Oak Marsh course, which Dye created in 1972. . . . To shore up its bottom line, a nearly century-old club in Maryland is looking to build houses on nine of its 27 holes. Sparrows Point Country Club, founded by Bethlehem Steel and relocated to a waterfront site in suburban Baltimore in the mid 1950s, is now owned by members who fear for its survival. They plan to use the proceeds from the land sale to make long-overdue improvements to their course, clubhouse, and marina in an effort to attract new members.

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