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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Turfunderground’s tour of the Palm Springs

Eric von Hofen at LaQuinta Resort in Southern California
Heading to the the Palm Springs area this winter for some sun, relaxation, golf and great food?   You can experience some of the best in the desert if you follow my list.  Palm Springs has a population of over 47,000 people and it is the first city you hit when you enter the desert from Los Angeles on I-10.  Los Angeles is 111 miles away from Palm Springs.  Temperatures range as high as 105 degrees in the summer months. The winters are mild and produce night time lows in the 40’s and day time highs in the 70’s.  The Palm Springs area has over 125 private and public golf courses and even more places to eat.  After living in this area and enjoying the many restaurants it has to offer, I have made it easy for you by coming up with my “top five places to eat” list.
TurfUnderground’s Top Five List for the Palm Springs area:
1. La Quinta Cliff House
2. Adobe Grill at the 1926 La Quinta Club and Resort
3.LG’s Steak House
4.Devane’s Old Town
5.Pacifica Seafood Restaurant

Enjoy and let me know if you check them out. Come back soon and see Turfunderground’s Top Five list of Public Golf Courses in this area.
Eric von hofen and Palm Spring windmills

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Overseed or Interseed this winter. What are you going to do?

This time every year superintendents decide if they are going to drop seed or not. Here in South Florida, after a rough cold winter last year, I think many golf courses might just do it. I don’t like to call this process overseed here in South Florida, I call it Interseeding. Interseeding of what you may ask. If you have a new ultra dwarf bermudagrass on greens and the golf course is located south of Jupiter, Florida, I say no way. If the golf course is located in the desert of California or Arizona, I say you better. I worked at PGA WEST, in La Quinta, CA and we overseeded everything on each of the 9 golf courses. We had to make sure that every bit of bermudagrass was covered with seed. If it was not covered you would see the brown bermudagrass come through and look bad all winter long. It gets so much colder at night in the deserts and frost is more common. Last winter in Miami, we had 4 mornings of frost and the grass went off color but did not go brown. The Palm Beach area was not so lucky. They had many more days of cold weather and cloud cover which made growing turf very difficult. I have made the call to interseed my driving range tee only this year and that is it. I want a 40% ryegrass and 60% bermudgarass stand of turf. That will work great for us and help with the small size of the range tee. Golfers will have grass to hit from. What are you going to do?

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Welcome to

Welcome to and the home of the von Hofen Turfgrass Scholarship. Using my 26 years of golf course maintenance experience I plan on giving a different behind the scenes look at what is really happening in the golf world. I have worked at and managed some of the best golf courses in the world. Muirfield Village, PGA WEST,PGA NATIONAL, Calusa Pines, Naples National, John’s Island Club and Doral just to name a few. I have hosted 13 PGA TOUR televised events which has allowed me to make contacts and friends around the world. There is a lot of great things happening in golf around the world and the story should be told. I will have feeds from Asia, Germany, Greece and every corner of the United States. Come back a check us out.

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