There have been a lot of discussion surrounding the recent Arizona Superior Court ruling on Ahwatukee Lakes and its potential impacts on the shuttered Club West course.
Currently, I am the president of the Foothills Golf Group and previously oversaw the Club West Golf Course.
Due to my experience at Club West, I firmly believe that restoring this course is not attainable nor sustainable.
Here are some relevant facts for everyone’s consideration.
On Dec. 30, 2009, the Foothills Golf Group purchased Club West Golf Course for about $550,000. At the time of the purchase, the Club West Golf Club was losing over $400,000 annually.
Providing sufficient water supply has always been a major concern for the course and was the number one objective when purchasing the course in 2009.
During my time at Club West, our highest annual water bill was $750,000. However, this amount only accounted for 75 percent of the water needed to maintain the 70 acres of turf.
So, in fairness, the accurate water bill would have been approximately $1 million to properly maintain the turf at the highest quality.
During this time, approximately 10 years, we spent a total of $3,984,860 solely on water. In 2020, with all the increases in water costs and services, the water bill would be closer to $1.2 million annually to maintain the 70 acres of turf alone.
This is a huge burden for any golf course to endure.
To fully understand the complexity of the water supply, we conducted two test wells at a cost of $16,000 per test.
The first test was conducted on Club West HOA property near Pecos Road. The second test was conducted at the Foothills Golf Club. These tested were conducted by Beaman of Arizona. Neither test produced any water.
The ownership group prior to the Foothills Golf Group conducted five tests for water and after observing the results and data the driller advised that continuing was a waste of time, money and effort.
The only alternative solution to provide water to the course was to deliver SRP water to Club West. However, SRP would only guarantee a five-year deal and require the installation of a pipe, which would be an additional $1.3 million cost.
After the five-year deal was completed, SRP could discontinue providing water supply to the course or raise the prices significantly.
In order for this source of water to be practical, we determined that we would need at minimum a 25-year commitment from SRP at a cost of 40 percent of potable water.
Club West lost a combined total of $2,085,324 from Dec. 30, 2009 until it was sold to the Edge Group in May 2020. I wish this wasn’t so. But the facts are what they are.
Recently, I am aware that the owner of the Ahwatukee Lakes has received offers of approximately $4.5 million to purchase and revitalize it.
But all of these offers involve significant development plans. In order for any plausible restoration of a golf course, some form of development is required.
For Club West, it’s time to sit down and try to resolve this problem to where the entire community benefits. Golf courses are continuing to close across the country and they are complex endeavor to undertake.
Club West is even more complex as no viable water source is available and significant updates, improvements and rebuilding is required.
But I believe the Club West community can cohesively work together to achieve a plan that brings new life to the open space that is both appealing and financially feasible.
The neighborhood will always be a part of me, so I am rooting for a resolution.
Terry Duggan is president of Foothills Golf Group.