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What's a Union Going to do with Hillcrest Golf Club
Monday, 18 April 2011 09:42

Some might call them crazy, but the Steamfitters Pipefitters Union Local 455 has bought the Hillcrest Golf Club in Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul.

What is odd about the purchase is not that a private club was sold, but that a union bought it. There are a few other examples of a union owning a golf course with the most visible being the UAW that owns Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway, Michigan ( see link ), but its the exception to the rule.

According to the Star Tribune :

Though the land could be developed for other uses, Local 455 was the only bidder to pledge to continue operating Hillcrest as a private golf club for at least two years. The union's 1,426 members, including retirees, unanimously approved the purchase, using money from a special building fund established in the 1980s and financed by contributions from member paychecks.

So, a union, kind of the anti-white collar, fat cat, private club membership, organization owns a golf course.

We'll see how it goes when they plan to reopen this Spring.

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Lake Lawn Resort Appears to be Under Contract with Plans to Reopen Soon
Saturday, 16 April 2011 14:16

Based on our web traffic, there has been a lot of interest in the fate of Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin, the 128-year-old resort icon.

David Curry, a real estate agent that sells for Geneva Lakefront Realty in Williams Bay, Wisconsin appears to have the inside scope on the status of Lake Lawn Lodge that was closed and taken back by Anchor Bank last fall.

According to the Geneva Lakefront Realty post:

The new buyers, a group led by local developer and business man Jim Drescher, are scheduled to close on this property sometime in the next couple weeks (late April). The golf course will immediately reopen, after some catch-up maintenance, and the marina will open on schedule as well. The price of $9.5MM being paid includes $8.6MM in cash and $900k in assumed debt, but it's fair to say that this property- a property on shaky financial footing for the better part of a decade- is now in strong hands and the purchase price will allow the new group to make something that I'm guessing Lake Lawn hasn't seen in years: a profit.

According to the Milwaukee Journal :

Anchor took control of the resort, which overlooks Delavan Lake, at an October foreclosure sale, and closed it in December. Anchor held a $34.4 million judgment against Lake Lawn's previous owners, an investors group known as Delavan Resort Holdings LLC.

The resort's buyers are led by area developer Jim Drescher. Salitros said Drescher's group plans to complete the purchase by April 15.

Salitros said the city might provide cash to Drescher's group to help pay for deferred maintenance projects at Lake Lawn, including new water pipes that would be connected to the city's water supply.

According to the paper:

Drescher said he hopes to close on the deal in mid-April and open the resort at the end of April. The pieces of the property such as the golf course, the boat slips and the resort itself could open at different times.

Drescher said he expects to have access to the property before closing to start spring maintenance on the golf course. That work probably will start the first week in April.

Drescher, a Geneva National resident and a former president of that golf club, has not said whether he would be involved in managing the resort once it is reopened. This weekend, Drescher is expected to meet informally with a group of former Lake Lawn department managers to learn how things worked.

According to the Milwaukee Business Journal :

The meeting will not include former General Manager Pete Zellmer, Drescher said.

Drescher, who is known for his charity work in Walworth County, said he wanted to reopen the resort for the 126 full-time and 160 part-time and seasonal employees who lost their jobs when it closed. Though the banks initially resisted his offer, they did what was best for the community in the end, he said.

“Everybody in the end... put their differences aside to come to a conclusion so the city of Delavan can move forward and we can get the jobs back,” he said.

So, if Mr. Drescher closes on the property, the golf course could be up and running this Spring.

See our previous Hacker's Central posts:

Lake Lawn Closes After 132 Years

History of Lake Lawn Rosort

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Golfweek's 2011 Best Canadian Courses
Thursday, 14 April 2011 09:58

Canadians love their golf and for most of them, their season is shorter than those of us in Minnesota or Wisconsin (don't even begin to talk about North Dakota's season). So we took a look at the recent ratings from Golfweek and it seems that the mecca for Canadian golf is in Ontario.

According to the 2011 Golfweek's Best Canadian Courses , golf courses in Canada should be rated based on pre-1960 and 1960+ (I'm not sure why).  So of the 60 courses that were listed, 32 were in Ontario and for modern courses, the Top 5 were all located in the province.

See the pre-1960 Golfweek ratings .

See the post-1960 Golfweek ratings .

The Top 5 Modern Courses (according to Golfweek) were:

1. The National Golf Club of Canada -- Woodbridge, Ontario (score 7.62) - Private

2. Devil’s Paintbrush -- Caledon, Ontario (score 7.58) - Private

3. Rocky Crest Resort -- Mactier, Ontario (score 7.33) - Private

4. Beacon Hall -- Aurora, Ontario (score 7.17) - Private

5. Muskoka Bay Club -- Gravenhurst, Ontario (score 7.13)

What's disappointing about this list is that only one of these "modern" Onatario golf courses (Muskoka Bay) is accessible to "hackers".

Check out some of these great courses, but also visit our blog to hear our take on how golf courses should be rated (we've completed 500+ and counting).

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011 11:09

Starting forward Michael Beasley for the Minnesota Timberwolves is a golfer. Even though the Timberwolves stunk up professional basketball with a league-worst 17 and 65 record (woo hoo), Beasley found something to keep himself busy. From :

"It's the only sport in the world I can play and my physical ability has nothing to do with it," he said. "It's challenging. You go out there and think, 'I'm big. I'm strong. I'm athletic, so I can hit the ball.' But it's just not that at all. It's a mental game. I love being out there by myself, sometimes. Just give me time to think and give me time to be with myself."

Even a world-class basketball player has some of the same issues as hacker's do.

"My basketball game is a little fast-paced," Beasley concludes. "I kinda want my basketball game to be like my golf game: real slow, real patient, and just letting things happen. On a basketball court I have all the confidence in the world. When I'm on the golf course it's the total opposite."

Maybe all his work on the course will translate on the court.

City of Red Wing Gives Transparency to Sale of Mississippi National
Thursday, 07 April 2011 14:01

If you're curious as to how the process works when selling a municipally-owned golf course, look no further than what the City of Red Wing, Minnesota is going through to , the 36-hole facility nestled along the Mississippi River just southeast of the Twin Cities.

Currently negotiating with Wendell Pittenger, who operates four Minnesota courses (Mississippi National in Red Wing, Willow Creek in Rochester, Oak Marsh in Oakdale, and Lost Spur in Eagan), the city is likely to sell to Pittenger based on an acceptable valuation. As the long-time manager of the course, it isn't very likely they would sell it to anyone else.

But to make sure that the sale of the publicly-owned facility isn't a secret, Red Wing is holding a series of public hearings in April and May and puts everything on the table (except pricing).  They also created a long question and answer document that interested residents can read .

The Hacker's Guide reviewed both of Mississippi National's courses in 2009:

The Lowlands (772) review .

The Highlands (735) review HERE .

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