New Owners for Old Clubs

Economy brings big changes in ownership of area courses.

An economic tsunami swept through golf in Westchester and the Hudson Valley in the last couple of years, with local clubs affected by everything from the Madoff scandal to belt-tightening by the normally golf-happy Wall Street crowd and others adversely affected by the downturn. But while some in the golf business were complaining about the taste of lemons, others were making lemonade.

Armonk resident Jeffrey Mendell led a group that purchased the Canyon Club in late 2009. The new owners renamed the Armonk landmark the Brynwood Golf & Country Club and hired Troon Golf, managers of more than 200 golf courses in 31 states and 26 countries, to run the soon-to-be-renovated facility. While there’s no word on plans for the 6,356-yard par 70 course, Mendell says they’ve already started upgrading the clubhouse, pool, and tennis courts. They’re also making a commitment to golf instruction and player development and replacing the fleet of golf carts. Among the biggest changes is a dues structure that starts at $3,300 for single sports membership.

Donald Trump has also been a major buyer of golf clubs of late. He added a Hudson Valley course to his growing roster of premiere facilities (which includes Trump National Westchester in Briarcliff Manor and nine others stretching from Los Angeles to Aberdeen, Scotland) when he purchased Branton Woods in Hopewell Junction from Empire Golf Management. It’s now known as Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley. Also changing hands was Dellwood Country Club in New City, acquired by the Mandelbaum family last year.

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On a possibly less positive note, a sharp decline in membership forced the closure of Hampshire Country Club in Mamaroneck. As of press time the property was on the market for $14.9 million, although the town and village of Mamaroneck are considering its purchase. And, while more than 40 new members have joined Ridgeway County Club in White Plains, club manager Frank Krimmelbein says discussion continues with various potential buyers.

Caption: 13th Hole, Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley

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