The foundation for Sunland Springs Golf Club: A Case Study (2016) began in northwestern Ohio as a kid playing golf with Mom and Dad. On December 1, 1948, when I was eight years old, Dad wrote a $100 check for Share #148 in Orchard Hills Country Club, Bryan, Ohio. The folks would be proud to know that the sport has remained a fixture in the author’s life for some 69 years and counting. Couple this genetic and learned love of golf with a dislike for Ohio, New York and Colorado snow, ice and cold and a life-long dream of living in a warm climate in a golf course community, looking south to Florida and Arizona looked like a slice of Heaven. After a couple of false starts—Westbrook Village, Peoria, Arizona and Sunland Village East, Mesa, Arizona—in January 2009 it was an easy decision to make when an opportunity arose to attend the Golf Academy of America-Phoenix with my son, Doug. He was changing careers and making a fresh start in the golf industry. For the author it sounded like great fun to go back to school, study golf management and teaching and play weekly competitive golf. In April 2011 we graduated. Doug uncovered a nice niche at Desert Mountain with its six Jack Nicklaus Courses and recent home for the PGA Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup Championship. As my golf playing and practicing journey continued, in winter 2013 it was exciting to return to the Golf Academy of America-Phoenix to complete the Advanced Teaching Class that included giving golf lessons at Leisure World, Western Skies and Bear Creek.
In March 2013 my wife, Cindy, and I decided to pack our bags in Colorado, move to Arizona and build a new home in a golf community, Sunland Springs Village, Mesa, Arizona. We closed on September 11, 2013. With the recent Golf Academy of America experiences, the love of golf and a lifetime of perfectionist conditioning and “pickiness,” the community golf course improvements list began to grow. As the list grew, a decision was made to join a group of volunteer community persons who were organizing as the Feasibility Committee to evaluate the practicality of various options that would assure the golf course would continue to be operated for the benefit of the community. Moreover, it will not surprise the reader to know that the list of improvements has continued to grow. With good leadership, vision, game plans, money and paying attention to the multitude of low cost details associated with brand and products quality, small business golf course ventures can lead emergent transformation and establish a new model for golf in an industry plagued by old school mediocrity. Our challenge is to wake- up and be golfers who are world makers! As a side note, the return of golf to the 2016 Olympics is fantastic for the sport and game we love and cherish!!!
The purpose of the Sunland Springs Golf Course: A Case Study is to offer experiences, lessons learned and commentary to help those who have a vested interest in golf courses or are considering purchase of a golf course. Here’s the stage play that unfolds in the Case Study. Initially there are comments about the golf industry and real estate developers, followed by a discussion of the current community, the developer and the golf course. The offering then rolls out the feasibility study in Part One, followed by Part Two, the acquisition process. Part Three discusses the current state of golf course operations, realizing this is an inaugural, work-in-process, evolving phase for this golf course. In each of the three parts, the reader will find discussion, options and explanations that will be recognized as opinions, strategy and philosophy. The Case Study closes with conclusions that include reflections and recommendations drawn from experiences, background and interests. If interested in purchasing a copy of the Study, request that you either call 720-209-2416 or email JohnDeVore@aol.com.