By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Reports about golf course communities show up in my news feeds at the rate of several per month these days. Here’s a sampling of the choices many homeowners are facing, as the popularity of golf continues to wane, and the expense of course upkeep continues to rise. Solutions are not without controversy!
The former Gulf Harbors golf course will become a 50 acre nature preserve park, thanks to a joint purchase of $1.2 million, by Pasco County and Gulf Harbors Civic Association. Homeowners must agree to create a Municipal Benefit Services Unit (MBSU, a tax district), which will finance their share of the purchase price of $600,000 over five years, plus ongoing maintenance at roughly $59,000 per year into the future. The course has been closed for 13 years.
Pasco County, residents to split golf course purchase price (FL)
Fountains Country Club recently made a deal to sell one of its three golf courses to a developer, GL Homes, with plans to close the course and build 500 new homes, plus a swimming pool. The long history of Fountains Club begins in the 1970s. The community is divided into 19 sections, all of which, at one time, required mandatory golf membership for homeowners. However, 7 sections have since sued to eliminate their mandatory membership status, and they won their case in court. More homeowners apparently plan to follow suit. According to the article, new construction homeowners will be required to become “sports members” for $200 per month, but will not be required to become golf members. Homeowners have created their own website in opposition to development plans.
link to homeowner website: Fountains Club Network
In Oregon, Creekside HOA rejected the Golf Club owners’ proposal to triple their assessments to pay for a “social membership” in order to keep the golf course open for business. The HOA has sued to Club in an attempt to keep the golf course. Club owners filed a countersuit against the HOA, claiming the 1992 CC&Rs grant the right to sell the land to a developer.
Pahlisch Homes purchased a driving range from Charbonneau Golf Club in Oregon, after a deal with Lennar Homes Northwest fell through. According to the report, Lennar was turned off by demands from the HOA, and backed out of a deal to buy the property. Pahlisch plans to build 36-38 single family homes on the former driving range, and the Club plans to use the revenue from the sale to help keep it afloat.
Sabal Trace Golf Course in North Port has been closed for more than a year. But GNP Development Partners of Tampa is considering a sale agreement. According to reports, GNP envisions a 9-hole golf course with new homes. The former course was 18 holes, and some owners object to reducing the size of the course. But other homeowners think it’s a better solution than allowing the abandoned course to become an eyesore.
Silverstone Golf Course sits in the middle of the Las Vegas desert. And with the high cost of irrigation, it’s no surprise that the course closed late last year (2015). Silverstone HOA has sued former golf course owner, Desert Lifestyles LLC, for failing to water and maintain the course, citing a 2002 agreement in the CC&Rs that stipulates the land must remain a golf course. The course was then sold to a new owner, Stone Ridge Parkway, who soon also stopped watering the golf course, citing the high cost. In response to homeowner complaints, Las Vegas City Council recently fined the current owner $94K.
The former Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course closed in 2013. According to reports, the abandoned course has cycled through three different owners. One previous owner had proposed building apartments on the former course, but two homeowners sued, and the court ruled that, based on the HOA CC&Rs, the land must remain a golf course.
Club West was rated a top public course a decade ago, but now looks brown, dry, and parched. Owners say that’s because the city of Phoenix shut down a reclaimed water plant prior to 2000, making it necessary to purchase drinking water to irrigate the course. The City stopped offering discounted water rates to Club West, prompting the golf course owner to cut back on watering.
Club West HOA sued the ClubWest Golf, who then countersued the HOA. A group of 700 homeowners (out of 2500) has started “Save Club West” in an attempt to get the City of Phoenix to provide an affordable source of water, so that the HOA can purchase the golf course for $1.9 million.
No word on what the other 1800 homeowners think about that proposed solution.
River’s Bend Golf Course recently closed for good, after declaring bankruptcy a few years ago. An owner in River’s Bend HOA, PC Amin, has purchased the loan for the Golf Course and is seeking to develop the property, possibly donating a portion of riverfront to a Conservancy Group. In the meantime, the abandoned course is an overgrown mess.
Hawk Valley Golf Course, near Lancaster, will be losing holes 1 – 9 when Landmark Homes begins construction on 71 homes next spring. The land is zoned residential, so the remaining 9 holes may be developed in the future as phase 2. Some homeowners are disappointed, because they say the course is looking better in recent years. But developer Landmark has owned the property for several years, and is now seeking a return on its investment.
Residents of Queensridge Condo Association are planning a to speak out against a proposal to transform the Badlands Golf Course into a dense urban enclave of more than 2,400 housing units, to be developed by EHB Cos. The Badlands consists of 3 9-hole golf courses, and is situated between the Las Vegas strip and Queensridge. Homeowners have already filed two lawsuits in an attempt to block approval of the construction plan, or at least reduce the number of housing units. Opponents of the ambitious plan include Developer David Mason, who owns a condo overlooking the golf course.