Club West Golf Course would remain an 18-hole – but substantially smaller – playing field and pick up 162 single-family homes and a new clubhouse-community center under a plan unveiled last week by four investors and a team of other experts.
Identifying themselves collectively as “The Edge Team,” the group outlined the plan before an overflowing crowd of more than 150 Club West residents as it began its long campaign to implement their vision within three years.
Investors Bill McManus, Matt Shearer, Keith Schott and Mike Hare – all Club West homeowners – are prepared to buy the course from Wilson Gee for $800,000 to $850,000 and invest between $8 million and $9 million in the plan. Closing on the sale is set for March, but likely is contingent on homeowners’ approval of the plan.
Their team of heavy hitters includes homebuilder Taylor Morrison, golf course designer Brian Curtis, golf course architect Forrest Richardson and land use-zoning attorneys Edwin Bull and Brian Greathouse.
They will follow their Jan. 15 introduction of the plan with an open house 6:15-8:15 p.m. Jan. 29 at Altadena Middle School.
Then their work begins as they try to win approval first by the Club West Community Association board next month on whether to put it up for a vote by homeowners at a meeting, possibly as early as March.
If homeowners okay it, the Edge Group then faces the standard city bureaucratic hurdles any plan of this magnitude confronts.
There will be zoning hearings before the Village Planning Committee, city Planning Commission and Phoenix City Council, followed by site plan reviews by the city if the zoning passes muster.
“You have been held hostage by water,” Bull told the crowd, referring to the high cost of city potable water that prompted Gee to close the course three years ago.
“Our goal is to get the information out there and be open and transparent in the process,” Bull added, describing the four investors as “four guys who invested a lot of time and money and soul-searching to work on the problem.”
Bull also said the plan “will end this three- year battle over the golf course and end this uncertainty and ambiguity” while giving the community a major family-friendly asset in the form of the community center.
“Hoping it will get better will not make it better,” Bull added
The three main ingredients for the plan include:
The golf course. The 162-acre course would be reduced to 110 acres and reshaped into what Richardson called a “precision course” of 18 smaller holes with a total 4,000 yards – far less than the approximate 7,000 yards of golf the course has now.
Of those holes, one would be a par 5, four par 4 and the remainder par 3.
Richardson, vice president and president-elect of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, told the crowd that turf would be reduced from about 70 to 30 to 35 acres and include new strains of grass to further reduce water demand.
Richardson said the current course’s irrigation system has outlived its life cycle and must be replaced anyway. He also said Troon was helping in the course’s design.
Extolling the benefits of a precision course – which he said is the current terminology for what was once called an executive course – Richardson said, “They’re coming back.”
He said there are 970 precision courses in the U.S. and that they have become popular – particularly with millennials – because they require less time to play and are “more inclusive.”
Stating a precision course offers “the right number of rounds at the right price point,” he also said, “This is a very energetic playing course.”
“This is the future of golf,” Richardson said, adding that a writer from Golf Magazine was in the audience because he was profiling the proposed course for Club West and three other courses around the country to underscore the trend.
Houses. Longtime homebuilder Taylor Morrison, which recently completed the 105-home Promontory community a little farther west of Club West, would take three segments of the present course for a total 52 acres and develop 162 homes.
Bull stressed the homes were necessary to pay for the course’s overall improvement and that the Edge Group had decided early in its planning that there would be “no apartments, no condos, no retail.”
Though Bull did not say how many existing homes now abutting the course would lose their view, he assured the crowd that “significant buffers” of green vegetation and trails would somewhat lessen the visual impact of the loss.
The homes – all single-family detached – would differ in size and price on the different sections with two-story houses on two of the segments.
The largest section would cover the central piece of the course where the old clubhouse, four holes and the large pond are currently located. That clubhouse is padlocked and the pond has no water since irrigation stopped last February.
The 81 homes on the center segment would sit on 50x70’ lots and would be two-story. Ranging in size between 1,630 and 2,400 square feet and selling for between $380,000 and $450,00. The Edge Group’s conceptual plan said the neighborhood would have private gated streets and preserve drainage corridors and hillsides.
A smaller parcel west of that segment would contain 17 homes of similar size and price.
A segment east of that center section – located around 17th Avenue and Chandler Boulevard – would host the largest and most expensive homes.
Sitting on lots of 70x125 feet, those 64 houses would range in size from 2,700 to 3,400 square feet and sell for $620,000 to $675,000.
Bull underscored Taylor Morrison’s experience and reputation, stating:
“They’re a single-family homebuilder that is highly regarded and has experience. They build a nice house and pay attention to the community.”
Clubhouse/community center. The Edge Group envisions the new clubhouse/community center as an amenity for the entire community, not just golfers.
It would include a grill, covered patio, an “event lawn” and pavilion for community events and even weddings. Nearby there also would be an 18-hole putting course with low-level lighting for nighttime golf and an area for bocce ball and cornhole.
Curtis said his preliminary design aimed for a “small but flexible” building that could be adjusted for events involving groups of different sizes.
“We tried to focus on the community aspect of the building, not the golf aspect,” he added.