Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Week That Was, december 3, 2017

     The Club Managers Association of America says that the general manager at a private club earns, on average, $155,000 a year, but some take home considerably more. To wit: The Palm Beach Post reports that in 2015, presumably the last year for which data is available, the general managers of three clubs in Boca Raton, Florida – Boca West Country Club, St. Andrews Country Club, and Broken Sound Club – took home, respectively, $977,145, $930,639, and $706,817. Makes you wonder how much total revenue the clubs were collecting, no?

     Two 18-hole golf courses were never going to be enough for Cabot Links, and now it’s clear that at least two more tracks will eventually emerge at Mike Keiser’s destination-worthy resort in Inverness, Nova Scotia. No time lines or architects have been announced, but a par-3 layout with probably 12 or 14 holes is “in the offing,” according to the resort’s co-founder, Ben Cowan-Dewar, and an 18-hole course will almost certainly follow. “The success of Cliffs has certainly made us think about it, and think very seriously,” Cowan-Dewar acknowledged to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. For years, Keiser has famously maintained that one course is a mere curiosity and that two makes for a legitimate destination, but what he doesn’t always say publicly is that the real money begins to flow with courses three and four.

     Pipeline Overflow – David McLay Kidd may soon be returning to Gamble Sands, the scene of one of his greatest successes. The Mike Keiser-endorsed architect is said to be “the leading candidate” to design Gamble Sands’ second 18-hole course, and perhaps some sort of “short” course as well. Kidd’s initial effort at the resort in remote central Washington, Golf Digest’s the best new U.S. course for 2014, gave his career a second wind, and notably a contract for the much-coveted second course at Keiser’s Sand Valley complex in Wisconsin. . . . India’s ministry of environment has approved a proposal to build the first “international-standard” golf course in Goa, the state made famous by wandering hippies in the 1960s. Leading Hotels, Ltd. isn’t finished with the entitlement process yet, but it’s been trying to win approval for a Colin Montgomerie “signature” course and an accompanying eco-tourism resort for at least five years, and it can finally see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. . . . Nicklaus Design has agreed to produce an 18-hole course for a private vacation community on St. Lucia. The 209-acre Canelles Resort promises “a sense of exclusivity and privacy” and insists that it’ll be “the new benchmark for luxurious living on an island renowned for exclusive resorts and residences.”

     Pipeline Overflow Overflow – Tim Lobb reports that his long-overdue 18-hole course at New Giza, an upscale community in suburban Cairo, Egypt, will get its “soft” opening in the spring of 2018. The track is among the final ventures for Thomson Perret & Lobb, the now-defunct Australian “signature” design firm founded by golf legend Peter Thomson. Lobb, who’s been in the driver’s seat from the beginning, says that it’s been “the most complex project” he’s ever been involved with, mostly because the New Giza property is “all just rock.” . . . Golfweek says that construction has wrapped up at Ohoopee Match Club, which has taken shape on a former Vidalia onion farm – “one of the nicer pieces of property we’ve ever seen,” according to architect Gil Hanse – in Cobbtown, Georgia. Michael Walrath, the developer, directed Hanse to produce 22 holes, so the club’s members can choose to play either a regulation-length 18-hole track or a shorter 18-hole layout. Ohoopee, which is keeping an unexpectedly low profile, will presumably open next year. . . . Next week, Owen Perry will unveil the complete 18-hole track at Danzante Bay Golf Club, a layout that course architect Rees Jones promises will be “a complete journey that golfers will really enjoy taking again and again.” The course, which opened 11 holes in 2016, is the Open Doctor’s first in Mexico, and it’ll serve as the centerpiece of Villa del Palmar Resort at the Islands of Loreto, a resort community on Baja California Sur.

     For the second time in roughly two years, one of the world’s premier golf venues – and the first one in Continental Europe to host a Ryder Cup championship – has changed hands. For a reported €26 million (nearly $31 million), the members of Real Club Valderrama, in Cádiz, Spain, have purchased their historic club from a British affiliate of Grupo la Zagaleta Holding. For their money, the members acquired not just a world-famous Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course but the legacy of Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, the club’s founder. Ortiz-Patiño, who died in early 2013, was one of the best-known and best-liked people in Europe’s golf business – “the ‘soul’ of golf in Europe,” it was once said – and by staging the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama he put the Costa del Sol on the world’s golf map. The golf course, which checks in at #71 on Golf Digest’s list of the World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, may be in line for an upgrade, however, because it was previously ranked #49.

     Surplus Transactions – For a price said to be “about $1 million,” David Buttross has acquired the struggling Pine Forest Golf Course in Bastrop, Texas. Though he doesn’t expect to turn a profit anytime soon – “There are just not enough people playing golf out there to get it to have a cash flow,” Bastrop told the Austin Statesman – he hopes that he can eventually break even by adding a campground, hiking trails, and other family-oriented attractions. . . . One of New Hampshire’s oldest golf properties rose from the dead earlier this year, and now it has a new owner. Monadnock Country Club, a nine-hole, executive-length track that had operated in Peterborough since 1901, was on life support and nearly closed in the fall of 2016. Some local residents reopened it in the spring, however, as Hilltop Golf Course, and in late October it was purchased, for an undisclosed price, by Annie Card. . . . An anonymous group of investors in Mesquite, Nevada has acquired the seven-year-old Coyote Willows Golf Club. Coyote Willows, which had been operated by volunteers, features a nine-hole course, and Mesquite Local News describes it as a “family-friendly” venue that’s “a great place to get those younger ones started.”

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