(Photo by James Quigg, Daily Press)
The Apple Valley, Calif. property, which is managed by Troon, will be bought from Pulte Homes. The 27-hole course sees 45,000 annual rounds but has been losing a reported $500,000 per year. But the new owners hope to raise its profile; “It’s surprising how many people don’t know it’s a public course,” said one resident.
The process of turning Ashwood Golf Course in Apple Valley, Calif. over to the homeowners association (HOA) of the Solera at Apple Valley community has begun, the Daily Press of Victorville, Calif. reported
The HOA in the over-55 community, which is also known as Sun City by Del Webb, recently voted to purchase Ashwood from Pulte Homes, the Daily Press reported.
In 2004, Pulte began building residences around what was then the Jess Ranch Golf Course, which was built by the Jess family, the Daily Press reported. The course, which is open to the public, was later taken over by Pulte and renamed Ashwood Golf Course.
With the recent sale of the last Pulte-built home in Sun City, the company offered to sell the course to the Sun City HOA, the Daily Press reported.
“They aren’t in the business of running golf courses,” Dave Lisberg, a resident of Sun City and chairman of the HOA’s golf course acquisition council, told the Daily Press. “The course was a marketing tool for them.”
Over the last year-and-a-half, the acquisition council has been charged with researching Pulte’s proposal, the Daily Press reported. A professional consulting firm was hired to assist in evaluating the feasibility of owning the course, which residents were told is currently losing $500,000 per year.
Residents were informed of Pulte’s proposal through focus groups, town hall meetings, and mailings, Lisberg said.
By law, he added, a supermajority of “yes” votes from Sun City residents was needed to approve the purchase. Of the 1,676 homeowners in the community, 1,142, or 68 percent of homeowners, voted to take over the course, meeting the supermajority requirement.
Until the purchase is complete in a few weeks, Lisberg said he did not want to discuss the cost of purchasing the three 9-hole courses that make up Ashwood, the Daily Press reported. He did say that Pulte offered a “substantial financial package” as part of the deal, and that homeowners would also be paying for the course through HOA fees.
Lisberg declined to speculate how much HOA fees would increase due to the purchase, the Daily Press reported, although the HOA provided residents with a scale that showed they could expect to be paying in the $220s 10 years from now. Sun City homeowners now pay $192 in monthly fees.
The ownership transfer is expected to be a smooth one, Lisberg said, and he anticipated no obstacles, such as lawsuits, from homeowners who were against the purchase.
Troon, which manages Ashwood, will likely be kept on once the purchase is complete, Lisberg said. “Those guys have done a good job for us,” he said.
Ashwood experiences about 45,000 golf rounds a year, Lisberg told the Daily Press. The course will remain open to the public and greens fees should remain the same under the Sun City ownership, he said.
Chris Reay, who recently purchased a home in Sun City after renting residences in the development for several years, told the Daily Press he saw “both pros and cons” concerning the vote to purchase Ashwood GC, but that he was “willing to accept what the community wanted.”
Although the course will be paid for and maintained through HOA dues, Reay, who owns Reay Design Studio, told the Daily Press that he was “not concerned about it going up in the future.”
“I think it’s better that the association has a say in what is going on with the golf course,” he said.
Although he said Ashwood “is a busy course, and it’s only going to get busier,” Reay thought the course’s profile could be raised through better marketing, the Daily Press reported.
“It’s surprising how many people don’t know it’s a public course,” he said.