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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news July 27, 2015

6/25/2014 6:01:00 AM
New life? Neglected Hassayampa Golf Club has two prospective buyers
The Hassayampa Golf Club course today, above, is withered from lack of care, but two prospective buyers would like to restore it to its former glory, as seen in the 2006 photo below.
The Hassayampa Golf Club course today, above, is withered from lack of care, but two prospective buyers would like to restore it to its former glory, as seen in the 2006 photo below.
Doug Cook
The Daily Courier

Nearly two years after receiving Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the private Hassayampa Golf Club in Prescott may soon be sold to one of two prospective buyers so that its picturesque 18-hole course can reopen.

Hoamco, the Hassayampa gated community's homeowners' association, announced in a letter released Tuesday that an affiliate of Scottsdale-based Desert Troon, the course's owner, has signed contracts with those confidential potential buyers, including "one with significant golf course management experience."

Attorney David Shein of Scottsdale, legal counsel for Desert Troon, said, "The first of the two buyers to actually 'go hard' (commit to the deal), will essentially win."

At this point, there is no timetable as to when the course might reopen, as both potential buyers are still deciding whether to close the deal. If both opt out, Shein said, Desert Troon would reassess the situation.

A deal could be consummated "within the next month," Hoamco said in its letter. The letter added that the new ownership may consider reopening the course as a private-public enterprise, but it's unclear what will be done with the Hassayampa's clubhouse, dining hall and other facilities.

Former Hassayampa Golf Club board member Steve Sischka said he's thrilled that golf has a strong chance of returning to the subdivision.

"This is absolutely fabulous for the community," he said. "If in fact they have a plan, and a plan that is going to be acceptable from a financial standpoint to golfers, this is the best thing that's happened to this community in a long time."

Desert Troon shut down the Hassayampa Golf Club's course in 2012 after the latter filed for bankruptcy late that March.

Larry Stanek was the Hassayampa Golf Club board president from 2010-12, and still lives in the Hassayampa subdivision. "We tried to manage it, but then there was this other little thing called the (Great) Recession that hit in 2008," Stanek said.

Desert Troon, which is the Hassayampa community and its course's original developer, regained ownership of the course in November 2012 when talks apparently broke down to sell it to Arnold Palmer Golf Management of Dallas.

Last week Sischka said the club could not solve its debt problem by opening the course to the public because the course is in a gated community where homeowners pay the HOA for privacy.

Sischka added that a club membership cost $40,000 to $50,000 per person, but it was supposedly refundable if a member chose to resign because the logic was that other incoming memberships would compensate for the refunds.

However, Terry Flynn, who was a Hassayampa Golf Club member for about 10 years and still lives in the community, said the club was starting to lean in the direction of operating a partly public course.

"It could've been a semi-private, where it could've had outside play, sure," Flynn said. "You can restrict those things, like a certain number of tee times, and restrict it to certain timeframes to make members feel like they've got something there in a club. I don't think it would've been an issue with any of the homeowners in here."

Chuck Fulton, a Hassayampa resident since 2002 who was a long-time golfer there with his wife, Judy, said last week that the golf club was one of the main reasons he had his home built there. Chuck once served on Hassayampa's HOA board of directors (although he currently holds a committee position) and Judy once sat on the Golf Club's board of directors.

Fulton, a former co-owner of Realty Executives in Prescott, added that the recession significantly hurt the club's ability to recruit new members because residents' disposable income dropped.

But with the economy and the housing market continuing to improve in 2014, Chuck holds out hope that the Hassayampa course will return. He said reestablishing a golf course at Hassayampa would enhance the values of the homes there.

"I'm an optimist, so I think it possibly will," he added. "But in what capacity, I don't know - whether it would be a public, a semi-private, a private club or under what auspices."

Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Article comment by: Ian Dunn

Golf courses account for 0.1% of the water used in the united states. It is 99.9% reclaimed water. If you want to worry about fresh water consumption, maybe swimming pools and car washes should be limited.

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Article comment by: A Fact Check Hassayampa Water Source

The water originally comes from the COP's production wells in Chino Valley which are being depleted at three feet per year!

The water then "passes through" the homes out there and then goes to their own waste treatment plant! At that time it is treated and the effluent is pumped out to be broadcast sprayed and then evapotranspired into the air.

This results in greater than 99% of the water lost to the atmosphere. A small trace might, just might eventually make it back to the Little Chino Aquifer in several thousand years (or longer)!

Again, all golf courses should be shut down immediately or covered with astro-turf! They should not be using any water to water grass on acres and acres of turf!

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Article comment by: Pinehurst West

Did you see the U.S. Open? Just call it Pinehurst West and leave it as it is.

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Article comment by: Coyote Contraire™

Sorry, my script didn't properly recapture the emotion of the time. It should have been...

"One time a recklessly-dropped cigarette butt burnt a big chunk out of one, and The Members were SOOO upset! Why... who could have been so clumsy and stupid? Unfortunately, no culprit was ever discovered or charged. But I still have my suspicions."

Seems like after that incident smoking was not allowed anywhere on the course. And this was in The Fifties!, when tobacco-smoke inhalation was still so cool as to be all the rage. It was a conundrum, I tell ya.

We were a mini-society waaaay ahead of its time but, like now, still managing somehow to stay as far behind. (The famed "Vortex" is in Sedona, not here. We're more like at the ass-end of the thing (but only in a purely spiritual sense and our fondness for armed self-defense more than makes up for that. At least we hope so.))


Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Article comment by: Commoner Coyote Contraire™

"...where the affluent play on the effluent!"
After reading that line, like, twelve times, it's still good. Nice one. Somehow affluent and effluent seem so kindred.
. . . . . . . . .

I "learned" to play at Hassayampa in the '50s, but not well at all. The "fairway" play was best described as Cross-Country Golf, as a lot of it looked a lot like the top picture in this article. (Rebuilding the fairways with astroturf in lieu of living grass would be a small hoot and a water-saving wonder.)

Those days the greens were made of an inflammable organic compound of some sort, like lawn-rollered finely chipped wood, and dyed green. One time a recklessly-dropped cigarette butt burned a big chunk out of one. They were so fragile you could barely putt without taking out a little divot, and there were signs admonishing you to repair your damage. Imagine spending your green time trying to tamp the thing back into smoothness with your putter. Beyond goofy.

In about '59, out at Watson a couple of young entrepreneurs built a miniature golf course from plywood. Not surprisingly, it didn't survive the Monsoons and snows of the first full year. Ever try putting on warped wood?

This town has always had weird stuff, reflective of the perpetually whacked-out population.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Shelly M

If the "private members" don't want to allow the public & there $$$ to come help their golf course & their property values, maybe they should stick with what they currently have.....NOTHING :) That seems to be working for them?!

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Alan My Mind

Make it an habitat for Grizzly Bears...

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Good Luck

The problem wasn't completely the recession - there were too many chiefs after DTC turned it over to the members, many of whom knew not one single thing about golf course management other than to manage their day around a great tee time. They should have left it to the pros and opened it up partially to the public when necessary to regain some of the lost income. There are a TON of GOOD golfers who would have loved to play the course and paid a fee, who wouldn't hack it up and ruin the course (as many Hassayampa members thought anyone who wasn't a member would do.) Wrong. Hassy members need to face that times are changing as is the golf course industry. Hopefully it can open up again but it will never be what it was. It has always been a challenge to keep the course looking great due to water issues, and everyone did what they could to make it happen - at times, a no win. Let's hope that beautiful land can be restored, but members need to let go of the dream that ended when THEY took over. Just face the facts on what this town can handle in terms of new members who can actually support a golf course with a hefty monthly fee, versus seasoned members who are so fed up they don't want to pay another dime -- seems like a tough road ahead.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Thanks Anyway The Sucking Facts Are Already Learned and Understood

I fully understand the facts regarding guzzling golf courses! Sadly you do not!

It is where the affluent play on the effluent!

The water ORIGINALLY comes from the aquifer, it should be treated to A+ conditions and sent back for recycle!

As far as your myth of the water, once sprayed on the turf returning to the aquifer, it is indeed myth. There is such a phenomenon as Transpiration and Evaporation, many times called Evapotranspiration!

It is the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the soil into the atmosphere. It is an integral part of the Water Cycle. Plants, very effectively, intake water through the roots and transport it to the green leaves where it is essential in providing one the raw materials for photosynthesis. The excess is ejected through tiny pores called stomata!

It is a very efficient system and takes, along with evaporation, ~ 99% of the water sprayed, UP back into the atmosphere!

Your water guzzling golf courses would be lucky to return 1% of the water sprayed on it to the aquifer below.

Golf courses in the high desert watered with any kind of water are wasteful. In the future people will look back and wonder where we had our brains when we wasted perfectly good recyclable water on golf courses!

Shut them ALL down till further notice!

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: @@ Giant Sucking sound

Wow! do you really think you know what you are talking about? This project had originally proposed a reclamation line all the way from the sewer plant but that did not happen. The city sells water to the golf course from straight out of the aquifer, it is treated, transported and stored through the same pipes and in the same storage tanks as our drinking water. There is no difference other than what the bill charging for the water calls it. On top of that, the water being poured onto the grass does not by any measurement, standard nor expectation ever reach the aquifer. Fact is, that golf course is not even situated over an aquifer, it simply falls within the boundary of the AMA.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Where is the Water Source?

Whoop ti do! Now tell us that the golf course has their own resource for water (a well) and will not be using our City Water!

Another fiasco that the City Council allowed! Research it...

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Snooty McSnoot

All the Mcsnootys only want to hob nob with the other Mcsnootys no matter the cost.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Mow Weeds

If they could just mow the tall weeds that are close by the non-golf course residents that would be great.

Tall, dry, weeds are fuel.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: @ Giant Sucking Sound

Learn your facts before you offer an opinion. Not a single drop of aqufier water is used on a golf course in Yavapai County. Every golf course in Yavapai County waters ONLY with reclaimed water. The reclaimed water is purified by the soil prior to replenishing the aquifier. Golf Courses are a benefit to the water supply.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: R B

If Hassayampa residents pay the HOA fees for privacy, how is the golf course going to be open to the public?
If the golf course is not going to be open to the public, then how is remaining private going to be financially lucrative when it is not right now nor has been?
Other private country clubs offer various degrees of "social memberships" and partial "golf memberships" which allow the general masses to experience the lifestyles of the privileged. Has the Hassayampa tried any of these strategies?

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Nora Morse

Recipe for failure in the high desert:
1. Plant 30 acres of Kentucky Bluegrass
2. Add plenty of water
3. Watch property values rise

Note: In order to maintain rising property values, continue to add water forever.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Tim the Native

Let it die, and to heck with the people who paid way more money for their "homes" that they were actually worth.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: curious citizen

Did ya all not hear Mayers wells are just about dry? That they are now hauling water?
Where do you think their water comes from ?
Courier I am slightly suprised there is nothing in todays paper on this.
Such a serious subject needs to be addressed...Loudly and in public...
Phoenix tv channels had this info..
Lets hear about more paper water
Just sayin....where will the water all these new homes will use come from?
Is any one out there thinking?

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Giant Sucking Sound

Golf courses are GIGANTIC water suckers.

In the high desert, in drought conditions, with our aquifers plummeting downward three feet a year, we plan to re open this golf course?

Is there any logic being used in this?

All Prescott AMA golf courses should be shut down until further notice!

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Hassayampa Home Owner

The three great lies of all times: 1) I paid cash for my Porsche 2) The check is in the mail, and 3) We (Desert Troon) have a buyer for Hassayampa and we will soon reopen.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Yokel knowledge

Make it a dog park.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Article comment by: Get it done!

Let's get it sold, watered and groomed so we can once again have something nice to look at! We need our property value back!

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