CAR DISPLAY’S PGA TOUR STYLE

Now that tax payers TARP money has been paid back and the economy is picking back up, we will see more of the car companies get back into bed with the PGA TOUR. Ten years ago there were 10 events sponsored by car companies. When things got bad a few years ago, it was not cool to spend money on a golf event. Car sponsorships dried up and ran for the hills. Different time and place today. I have hosted a few PGA TOUR events, like the Bob Hope Chyrsler Classic and the Ford Championship at Doral, and I have to say they spend the money to get their product on stage. Take a look at this video and see what goes into getting those cars and trucks ready to shine for Saturday and Sunday TV.

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Some Top Golf Resorts Set To Change Hands By The End Of The Month

Eric von Hofen and LaQuinta Hotel
In todays complex financial markets where debt is packaged and sold down to the street, sometimes two or three times, you might not know who owns your golf course or home. The housing market is still lagging the economy, but shows small signs of working thru the inventory. During this process of people foreclosing or trying to do a short sale, are finding out that their mortgage companies don’t know if they are allowed to go forward with the process because they don’t own the debt. Five years ago when times were good and everyone was buying anything and everything thinking that it was going higher, big investment firms like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Dubai World and CNL did the same.

They bought buildings, hotels, resorts and golf courses. Some of these deals were huge and cost billions of dollars. Now just like many of us with our houses under water the investment firms are upside down on these deals. These firms are shopping the debt hard and are at a cross roads on their investments. Many have to sell the debt on the paper and are looking for more funding to keep these golf course and resorts open. My sources tell me that we will see some big name places change hands or even close up shop if they can not find a partner. South Florida Business Journal reports that the Doral Golf Resort and Spa – home of golf’s famed Blue Monster – is among eight hotels set to change hands at a Jan. 28 auction. Dax Scharfstein, managing director and general counsel of New York-based Carlton Advisory Services, told South Florida Business Journal that his company was hired by CNL AB LLC to find qualified bidders for the $200 million mezzanine loan on the corporate debt of the hotel company that owns the Doral property and seven others.
The other hotels to be included in the auction are:
Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa in Maui, Hawaii
La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix
Ritz-Carlton, Orlando
JW Marriott Orlando at the Grande Lake Resorts
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix
Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, Calif.
Let’s see which lucky company gets to pick up these properties for song and dance.

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Why still a disconnect between government agencies and Audubon International on golf courses?

eric von hofen and hawk on the hunt
In the last six months my golf course, like many others, has had its share of inspections from state and local government agencies. We all have been there. We see the white truck or beat up old car with a faded city seal on the door come pulling up.  The truck usually parks right next to your cart outside of your office.  You can’t get away and you start thinking about your next move. Should I duck below the window, grab the land line phone (because that means it’s a really important call), wait for them to come in, or should I walk out to give them a warm welcome?  This all happens in seconds. Time to be a man and welcome your guest.  I usually break the ice by asking their name, shaking their hand and asking which agency they are with.  Today it’s DERM, Tuesday it was Zoning, last Friday it was HRS, a month ago it was Fire.  I checked my messages that morning and I had one from the Pesticide inspector and another one from Water Management asking for my water test results. Not one of these agencies knows what the other one is doing or what they are monitoring. After a few minutes of looking around the building the questions start.  What do you do in this building?  What kind of business is this?  Do you serve food?  After a few answers from me, the inspector du jour begins to hone in on what he or she needs to inspect.  My next move is to arm myself with the “Best Management Practices” book and then I let the games begin.   They don’t know what the book is and have never seen it.  As for the Audubon programs, the inspectors have never heard of them either.  This is what just blows me away.  “Audubon International, the bird people?”, they say.  After so many years of helping bring awareness to protecting the environment, how can you not know about the Audubon programs?

Audubon International logo

I started wondering, “How are these capital-intense environmental programs functioning in todays economy?”  The governmental agencies don’t pay attention to them, home builders can’t use them to sell homes because no one is buying and some existing golf courses can’t pay the fees to keep the program up to date.  Superintendents can’t get the members to participate in the bird watches or nature walks because many of these baby boomers have to go back to work.  Audubon International has cut the budget for site inspections and employee travel. This is all a shame because we really need to protect the environment, and I think we have missed the mark and have made it hard to make everyone happy. We need to take some time next year to focus on educating people and government agencies that we are stewards of the environment.  Audubon International needs to reconnect with it’s members, build bridges with the agencies and make it easier to keep programs current.  Reduce the volume of required paper work, and the time it takes to complete it, and I bet the programs will become reborn.

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Who really owns your golf course?

This is a question that you might not want to ask. Just like asking you who really owns your house? In todays complex financial markets where debt is packaged and sold down to the street, sometimes two or three times, you might not know who owns your golf course or home. The housing market is still lagging the economy, but shows small signs of working thru the inventory. During this process of people foreclosing or trying to do a short sale, are finding out that their mortgage companies don’t know if they are allowed to go forward with the process because they don’t own the debt. Five years ago when times were good and everyone was buying anything and everything thinking that it was going higher, big investment firms like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Dubai World and CNL did the same.

They bought buildings, hotels, resorts and golf courses. Some of these deals were huge and cost billions of dollars. Now just like many of us with our houses under water the investment firms are upside down on these deals. These firms are shopping the debt hard and are at a cross roads on their investments. Many have to sell the debt on the paper and are looking for more funding to keep these golf course and resorts open. My sources tell me that we will see some big name places change hands or even close up shop if they can not find a partner. Meanwhile the poor management companies that are hired by the investment firms to manage the golf courses and resorts are out in the cold. They have no money for capital and have cut deep into the operations budget effecting service and course conditions.
If you think your course is not what it use to be it probably is not because of this. Hit it straight.

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