Foothills golf course for sale for $5 million | New

The Foothills golf course is up for sale, but owner Wilson Gee said he won’t deal with the turbulence that two of Ahwatukee’s other courses have faced.

And he said the same goes for the community’s fourth course, Ahwatukee Country Club, which he has yet to decide to sell after unloading the Foothills and The Duke at Rancho El Dorado, a course he owns in Maricopa.

“Ahwatukee Country Club will always be a golf course – just like the Foothills and the Duke – only because the houses are in a different configuration” from Club West, he said.

“The legacy of the Foothills and Country Club will always be golf.”

The future of the Club West golf course – now a barren piece of desert since Gee put it up for sale in 2018 – is mired in a dispute over whether the four men who bought it in 2019 can sell it parties for new-

house building.

Built in 1988, the 166-acre Foothills Golf Club is priced at $5 million. This includes both the clubhouse and the course.

Designed by Tom Weiskoph and Jay Moorish, it was rated 4 stars by Golf Digest Places to Play and “snails through a very upscale desert layout combined with a flavor of links, minus the extreme carries that golfers often associate with designs. desert areas”, according to its listing on Loopnet.com.

Touting the “allure and challenge” of the site, the listing also notes that the clubhouse includes a 160-seat theater, professional shop, room for restaurant equipment and spacious patios and views of South Mountain. “and an aesthetic quality that makes a round here memorable – as evidenced by the beautiful postcard-quality backdrops behind the greens and tees.”

The 137-acre Duke is priced at $8million – which could be a boon for investors since a financial statement attached to this listing claims that last year it generated gross income of $3.3million dollars and a profit of $789,000.

No financial statement is attached to the list of Foothills courses.

Gee also owns the Ahwatukee Lakes golf course and is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars under a court order to restore that site by September after two owners sued him for closing it in 2013.

Gee had an $8.5 million deal to sell the lakes to the True Life Companies, who wanted to build homes there. But the deal fell apart after True Life failed to persuade enough landlords to change the terms, conditions and restrictions governing use of the site to allow homes to be built.

So why are Gee and his partners dismantling his mini empire that once made Ahwatukee a nationwide fool’s mecca?

“I’ve been in the business for 31 years now and I’m 70,” he said. “And none of my partners are in the business, my kids are not in the business – they have their own careers. So, I decided it was time. My partners: same thing. You know, partnerships don’t usually last 31 years in golf. So we made the decision five years ago that once I hit 70, we had to seriously sell.

That decision was originally made during the Great Recession, Gee said, when the golf industry began to plummet for years.

But Gee said the time is not only right for this stage in his life, but also for anyone who wants to enter the world of golf.

“I think it’s a good time,” he said. “Golf businesses are doing much better now.”

Industry statistics support this claim. And the golf industry has COVID-19 to thank.

In the first year of the pandemic, golf saw a 12% increase in the number of games played in the United States on public courses, with games on private courses increasing by nearly 19%, according to the National Golf Foundation and independent market research firm Golf Datatech. .

Yet the National Golf Foundation reported earlier this month: “The downward trend in golf course closures that began in 2020 has continued into its third year. Through June, the NGF Golf Facility Database team discovered just under 50 18-hole equivalent closures, down 25% from the same time last year.

The Golf Foundation’s analysis of half of the country’s estimated 16,000 golf courses predicted that by the end of this year the equivalent of 95 18-hole courses would close. He also noted that the vast majority of closures were to public nine-hole courses.

“About 40% of closed yards have already been set aside for residential or commercial development,” the foundation reported on July 7.

“If our projection for 2022 closures is on target, it will mean that less than 1% of the country’s 18-hole equivalent golf supply will have closed. Where could it go from there? Not zero. There will always be owners who choose to close up shop and retire, hoping to sell the land to help fund their retirement, as well as others who find their golf business is no longer financially viable. . Bringing the Point of Inevitable Closures Forward: While the industry opened nearly 2,700 18-hole equivalent courses from 1996 to 2005, nearly 500 closed in that same 10-year period.

On whether Foothills owners should start worrying that they face the same fate their neighbors Club West have been going through since February 2018, Gee said they can relax.

He said the Foothills course could be extended from its around 7,000 yards to around 7,300 yards. “There’s a lot to stretch out if you want to make it championship style,” he said.

“It’s a good golf property,” he continued. Highway 202 is being built and over 1,000 new homes are coming in and we’re the only course there,” he said, referring to the upcoming development of the 1,050-home Upper Canyon community.

But Gee also said the clubhouse should be replaced, explaining that it was originally built to be a training facility.

“This clubhouse was not made for golf,” he said, adding that it was a training facility for an earthmoving company.

“Hopefully whoever comes there will have the money and the guts and there will be a brand new clubhouse there. It’s a beautiful view and all. But it’s up to the next guy to decide if he wants to do that.

The Foothills also don’t share the problem that led to Club West’s demise: city water.

Gee originally closed Club West in 2016, saying he couldn’t pay the annual bill to irrigate that course with potable water.

The Foothills course, like Ahwatukee Country Club, relies on well water – although Gee admitted that could be a problem on the road, depending on what federal Home Office officials want further restrictions on the water use due to the rapidly declining availability of Colorado River water.

Gee said golf course operators, including himself, are already trying to reduce green space as most feel it is only a matter of time before usage restrictions hit them. .

“New rules are coming to pike,” he predicted. “And you will have no choice.”

“Even in the Foothills and our golf courses, we’ve cut grass already,” he said. “Every year we cut the turf a little here and there. We save maintenance, we save water.

As for the Ahwatukee Country Club, Gee said he was in no rush to sell. He said he first wanted to make sure the restoration of the lakes course was successful with the judge and the two owners who sued him.

While Gee said the lakes course would be ready to open by September 1 as ordered by a judge, he also said the special master overseeing its restoration wanted the judge to delay the opening until in October so that the new grass has a little longer to set. root.

As for what he wants to do instead of overseeing golf courses and responding to subpoenas, Gee said he wants to spend time with a nonprofit he started in Los Angeles. , where he lives.

“That phase of my life is over,” he said. “I am entering the second phase.

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