Golf Course owners and HOAs struggle to find acceptable compromises

HOA vs. Golf Club owner lawsuits drag on for years
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Homeowners adjacent to the 27-hole golf course have filed a lawsuit against Lakewood Township Committee, citing potential conflicts of interest and improper handling of the development plan. Department of Environmental Protection just approved a plan to build 1,034 homes on the site, but homeowners — mostly senior citizens — hope to stop the Township from moving ahead with the plan.

Lakewood’s Eagle Ridge Golf Club: Lawsuit fights houses, says town screwed up master plan (NJ)

Stacey Barchenger, @sbarchenger Published 2:39 p.m. ET Jan. 17, 2018 | Updated 6:51 p.m. ET Jan. 17, 2018

LAKEWOOD – A group of residents here has filed a civil lawsuit alleging township leaders mishandled a months-long planning process that has threatened to turn Eagle Ridge Golf Club into a 1,000-home complex.

A lawyer for the Fairways at Lake Ridge Homeowners Association, which filed the case, said the township’s planning board and committee violated state law when adopting a master plan last year.

Instead, the board members played to developers’ interests, lawyer Michele R. Donato said Wednesday.

“It wasn’t a master plan process. It was simply responding primarily to developers who wanted increased density,” she said.

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Three Colorado homeowners are suing a California developer who controls the HOA board, and, homeowners claim, forced the sale of the Club House to the HOA for $1.6 million. The property was listed for sale at $650,000 prior to the HOA purchase, according to this report. 

Lakota Canyon homeowners battle unwanted rec center deal (CO)

Ryan Summerlin
December 4, 2017
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The Lakota Canyon Ranch recreation center, as pictured on the golf course development’s website.
Homeowners at New Castle’s Lakota Canyon Ranch and Golf Club are suing the development’s owner and homeowners association after they say the owner monopolized the HOA board and forced it to buy the community’s recreation center for more than it’s worth.

Ryan Gilman, a Glenwood Springs attorney representing the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, said the HOA board agreed to buy the rec center from the developer, California-based Warrior Acquisitions, for about $1.6 million. That deal came a year after the developer tried to sell the facility for only $650,000.

The problem, according to the plaintiffs, is that the developer has control of the HOA board and single-handedly dictated the terms of the deal.



After an unsuccessful attempt to sell the luxury golf and equestrian resort community at bankruptcy auction this summer, developer Alianza Trinity Partners has made the decision to close its golf course country club in Polk County, North Carolina. The HOA community currently consists of only 37 homes, with very few new home sales over the past decade. Designed as a second home community, only 5 owners currently reside in Bright’s Creek. Nevertheless, the small number of owners are covering high HOA operating costs originally intended for the first phase of 126 homes with acreage for future development of up to 1,370 residential units. 

Polk County golf club closes after year of bankruptcy proceedings, lawsuits (NC)

by Justin Hinton Friday, December 29th 2017

Mill Spring, N.C. (WLOS) — The ongoing battle over the future of a local golf club in Polk County continues.

Over the past year, bankruptcy proceedings, employee pay issues and lawsuits have plagued Bright’s Creek and now the court-appointed receiver, Marc Rudlow, has announced the club’s closure.

He sent out a letter Wednesday explaining the decision saying the hope behind the bankruptcy was to generate viable bidders, but it didn’t pan out.

Because of those proceedings and several new lawsuits, he says there’s no funding to continue operations.

“The golf course will be winterized and a reduced staff will be retained for the maintenance and oversight of the property. The members will not be charged dues until the Club reopens,” the letter reads in part.

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Here’s a former 18-hole California golf course that was reduced to 9-holes in 2015, but now it’s shutting down for good. Homeowners had a chance to purchase the course from its owner, but few are golfers, and they are not interested in buying an asset that loses money. 

Forest Meadows Golf Course closed permanently (CA)

By Sean P. Thomas Jan 4, 2018

Forest Meadows Golf Course officials have announced that they will close its gates, making it the second Calaveras County golf course to shutter in almost two weeks.

Sierra Golf Management, the management group that owns the golf course east of Murphys, issued a letter on Dec. 28 announcing that it would close the golf operations on the course permanently after its Dec. 1 seasonal closure, citing losses in revenue as the main reason behind the move.

“This decision was not an easy one to make; we have valuable employees who rely on us for a paycheck and loyal customers who truly love the golf course. Unfortunately, we have analyzed sales reports, expense reports and market trends we have also deliberated and debated extensively and at the end of the day, we simply cannot afford to operate at a loss and continue ‘out-of-pocket’ funding of this operation with no chance of a return and no end in sight,” Sierra Golf Management said in a letter to the Forest Meadows Owners Association.

Forest Meadows Golf Course was an 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones. Seven holes were removed in early 2015 and the course was eventually renamed Murphys 9 Golf Course. It is surrounded by more than 500 homes and includes views of the Stanislaus River Canyon.

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Looks like the end of the line for Walden Lake Golf Course. Homeowners are hopeful a new owner will restore the course. But it’s more likely a new owner will want to redevelop the land for other uses. 

Walden Lake golf course heading to auction block


The Tampa judge’s decision signals the end of Lynn Archibald and Visions Golf’s chapters with the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club.
by: Daniel Figueroa IV Staff Writer
The new year could signal new ownership for the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club, which has been marred with false hopes and broken promises for more than a decade, as it heads to the auction block next month.

Judge Emmett Battles granted a final judgment of foreclosure on the embattled golf course Jan. 2, with a foreclosure auction date of Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. The court determined the actual value of the club to be $2.5 million, more than $400,000 over the initial estimated value. Once the foreclosure sale is complete, Steven Mercer’s financially burdened Visions Golf and the starry-eyed plans of Lynn Archibald’s Professional Golf Global Group will lose all interest in the club, assuming one of the two parties does not buy it back.

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Some HOAs decide to swoop in and ‘rescue’ golf courses and country clubs facing imminent bankruptcy. In this case, the 40-year old Meadows Community Association, consisting of 3,450 homes, has obligated itself to a $3 million mortgage to purchase half of the Club’s debt. The Club owner and MCA board President are spinning this as a ‘Renaissance.’ They are hoping to increase interest in golf memberships through more aggressive marketing, but with total membership at only 351 members, it seems unlikely there will be enough membership growth to support three 18-hole golf courses, tennis, and other amenities. 

Meadows rescues community with country club mortgage (FL)

By Chris Wille
Real Estate Editor, Herald-Tribune
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at 4:12 PM
Updated Jan 22, 2018 at 10:22 PM

SARASOTA — Last fall’s fears of bulldozers ripping up a golf course in the sprawling Meadows community to pave the way for residential development have been laid to rest at this time.

The Meadows Country Club has been drowning in debt that now totals $6 million, thus facing potential bankruptcy and foreclosure. But the Meadows Community Association, the governing body of the Meadows, is throwing the club a life preserver in the form of a $3 million purchase of the club’s bank debt — still to be finalized, possibly this week.

This win-win situation saves the country club and provides the association a higher return on investment from deposits into the reserve fund — from the current 1 percent on certificates of deposit and such to 5 percent on the mortgage loan to the Meadows Country Club.

“The Meadows Country Club and the Meadows Community Association working together is in the long-term best interest of the club and the community,” Andrew Kingsley, the club’s general manager, told the Herald-Tribune on Monday.

The original developer promoted a lifestyle, and the houses were secondary. “We realized we, too, should be promoting our amenities and our lifestyle, and a big piece of our amenities are the golf and the tennis and things that are provided by the country club,” [Clair] Coyle [President of Meadows Community Association board] said. “So a good deal of our property value is coming from our amenities,” including the “green vistas” that the golf courses provide.

“So what we’re doing is taking a page from that and trying to go back and re-create and enhance the lifestyle vision for all the residents in the community,” she said. “And that’s bringing us and the country club closer together.

“For the community to succeed, we have to take charge of the destiny of the country club. We can’t let it go to a hostile developer or go into bankruptcy and lose control.”

Today, total golf membership stands at 351, Kingsley said.

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An abandoned golf course in central Pennsylvania


Several coastal South Carolina HOAs battle former golf and country club owners over the fate of their struggling or defunct golf courses. Golf course owners say that, as business owners, they should not be expected to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. They want to sell the land to home builders for redevelopment. HOAs argue in court that deed restrictions for the community require the land to remain a golf course, or at least open space.  In the meantime, attorneys fees ratchet up, and abandoned golf courses become overgrown. Eventually, most golf courses are redeveloped. 

Three years after closing, future of Myrtle Beach golf course remains at impasse (SC)


Myrtle Beach Online – Golf News

January 22, 2018 09:21 PM

Roy Clyburn closed Heron Point Golf Club more than three years ago to avoid losing any more money in the golf business. He said the course off S.C. 707 lost money for several consecutive years.

He figured he’d wait until the real estate market improved and he’d have several options, considering the course was zoned general residential.

The real estate market has certainly progressed, yet Heron Point is no closer to being redeveloped today than it was when Clyburn closed the short and tight 6,477-yard Willard Byrd design that opened in 1988.

The homeowner association around the property, the Myrtle Beach Golf & Yacht Club Association, discovered an indenture deed that was updated as recently as 1992 that it believes limits use of the land to a golf course or country club.

Clyburn filed a lawsuit against the association in April 2015 in an attempt to free his land for sale and development, but the two sides remain at an impasse and mired in a court case regarding enforceability of the indenture deed and possible restrictions on the property.

Clyburn wants to sell the property to a homebuilder, while the HOA wants the property to remain undeveloped – preferably a golf course.

Other current and former Grand Strand golf courses have had similar standoffs between course owners and homeowner associations.

Homeowners around Eastport Golf Club prevented at least partial redevelopment of that course when a judge ruled in 2007 that restrictions on the property in homeowner deeds were valid and then-owner Mel Graham could not build proposed condominiums. Graham, who sold the course shortly thereafter, purchased it out of bankruptcy in 1993 after the original owner developed the golf course community in the late 1980s.

At Deer Track, potential developments on two former courses were held up for a decade from the mid-2000s by homeowner lawsuits against course owners. Much of the course properties were overtaken by nature as the cases lingered.

Homeowners around the former South Course suffered defeats in court and a housing development called Ocean Commons is being built on part of the property.

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