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Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Week That Was, december 10, 2017

     Some abalone farmers have won provisional approval for a destination-worthy golf complex that will occupy a stretch of oceanfront property outside Robe, South Australia. Damian and Justin Scanlon aim to build a pair of 18-hole, Bob Harrison-designed courses at their 600-acre Nora Creina Golf Resort, along with accommodations for overnight guests, a restaurant, and a vineyard. The Scanlons are shooting for the moon, because Robe is located roughly 175 miles south of Adelaide and 300 miles west of Melbourne. “We’re not going to build just an average golf course,” Justin Scanlon told the Sunday Mail in 2014, when the venture was announced. “This has got to be world class. This has to be somewhere where people from the States, someone from Japan or China, says, ‘It’s one of the courses I have to go and play.’” Nora Creina will debut with one course, and if it’s successful the Scanlons will build the second one.

     Some information in the preceding post first appeared in the September 2014 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.  

     Pipeline Overflow – Next summer, a nine-hole, par 3 course is expected to open at a former prisoner-of-war camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The course, to be called the Ashford, will complement the 18-hole Snead track at the Greenbrier Sporting Club, a private community on the grounds of the historic Greenbrier resort. The Ashford will be a replica course, with holes that mimic the work of designers including Seth Raynor, C. B. Macdonald, A. W. Tillinghast, and Walter Travis. . . . The spirit of compromise is alive and well in Rancho Mirage, California. The owner of Rancho Mirage Country Club, a venue that’s been closed and slated for development since it was purchased in 2015, has agreed to give home owners in the accompanying community enough land for a “short” 18-hole golf course that could open by 2020. In exchange, the home owners will allow some houses and a hotel to be built next to the new course. . . . After sizing up what’s been described as “hundreds of options,” Lake Charles, Louisiana has settled on a site for its new golf course. The 18-hole track, a replacement for the city’s financially challenged Mallard Cove Golf Course, will take shape at an emerging community called MorganField that could use a nice recreational amenity. Construction could begin in early 2018.

     You think the sexual harassment that occurred at Bandon Dunes was an isolated incident? Think again. In Cottage Grove, Minnesota, William Doebler put his Mississippi Dunes Golf Links on the market just weeks after a court ruled that he oversaw a work environment that was hostile to women and made them fear that they’d lose their jobs if they complained about it. Doebler was ordered to pay $130,000 to some former female employees (plus a civil penalty of $20,000) because he allegedly made “sexually inappropriate comments,” including comments about “orgies,” and “sexual propositions” that included a suggestion about a “sleepover.” Doebler and his wife denied the allegations, but the judge in the case reportedly didn’t find their denials credible. Doebler designed the 18-hole course at Mississippi Dunes, which opened in 1995. During a trial last summer, it was revealed that in 2014 the course held an “ultimate guys night out” party that ended with a visit to a local strip club.

     Surplus Transactions – For an undisclosed price, Randall Anderson and a handful of investors have agreed to buy the Meadows, an 18-hole track in Litchfield, Maine. The sellers were Ron and Richard Foster, who built the Brad Booth-designed layout themselves in 1998. . . . Bud Evans has accepted $250,000 for his nine-hole golf course in Houston, Missouri. The new owner of Oakwood Golf Club, a venue that’s operated since 1985 and has reportedly “faced its demise multiple times,” is a group led by Doug and Michelle Moseley. The Houston Herald suggests that the town had a chance to buy the course but passed. . . . The city of Forsyth, Georgia now owns the entire Forsyth Golf Course. For $325,000, the city bought the track’s back nine, giving it possession of all 18 holes. The course, which opened in the mid 1930s, was designed and built by the Works Progress Administration.

     In a two-step transaction that’s expected to close later this month, Marin County, California will buy San Geronimo Golf Course, an 18-hole layout that’s operated in the town of San Geronimo since 1961. When all is said and done, the course’s current owner, the Lee Family Trust, get $8.85 million for the property and its Vernon Macan-designed golf course. The Lees will sell San Geronimo to the Trust for Public Land, a San Francisco-based preservation group, and then the trust will sell the course to the county, which intends to turn the 157-acre tract into a park. Most of the purchase price ($4.94 million) will come from the trust, while the county will contribute $3.91 million. The Marin Independent Journal reports that San Geronimo will likely go belly up soon after the sale is completed.

     Desolation Row Extended – The members of Vista Hills Country Club, in El Paso, Texas, are poised to sell their driving range to a residential developer. If the proposed sale goes through, the club can make some improvements to its 43-year-old golf course, an 18-hole track that was co-designed by Robert von Hagge and Bruce Devlin, and begin banking income from the 47 to 60 families that will buy the developer’s houses. . . . The city of West St. Paul, Minnesota is thinking about pulling the plug on Thompson Oaks Golf Course, a nine-hole track that’s reportedly been “on life support for a decade.” According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “a well-known developer” is eager to build houses, including houses for seniors, on the 23-acre property, which is said to be worth $1.7 million. Thompson Oaks opened in 1996, and the newspaper says it’s “seen a budget shortfall nearly every year since.” . . . Voters in Canton, Ohio have approved a zoning change that will enable Chuck Bennell to unload Tam O’Shanter Golf Course. Tam O’Shanter features a pair of 18-hole, Leonard Macomber-designed golf courses that are expected to remain open until 2019 or 2020. In the meantime, though, Bennell plans to sell 62 of his acres to a developer and either sell or donate 225 acres to local parks authorities. For what it’s worth, the property hosted Richard Mandell’s “Symposium on Affordable Golf” in 2015.

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