The Latest in Luxury Resort & Real Estate News

» Featured Columnists | By Scott Kauffman | May 28, 2010 9:00 AM ET

Famed Phoenician Golf Resort Gets Forrest Richardson Redesign

(PHOENIX, AZ) - As part of a major redesign in conjunction with its new Camelback Ballroom, Starwood's flagship Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., will be breaking ground on a major enhancement to the Oasis Nine, part of its 27-hole regulation-length golf course.

Known for tranquil water features and tree-lined fairways -- the Oasis will soon be home to Arizona's only "Sand Island" green. Golf Course Architect Forrest Richardson is overseeing development of the work in conjunction with Troon Golf, long-time operating manager of the resort's award winning golf facility.

"This is a homecoming for me," notes Richardson. "Growing up in Arizona, I played golf here when the property was home to the old Jokake Inn, and the course was known as The Valley Club."

Richardson's mentor, the late Arthur Jack Snyder, created the first edition of the Phoenician Golf Club in the 1980s, eventually paving the way for the 27-hole modern classic that now wraps around the southern base of Camelback Mountain. The design of the new 9th Hole of the Oasis Nine will be a risk-reward par-4 of just over 300 yards.

"The tee shot will be a matter of options," according to Richardson. "The golfer will be able to play conservatively, or go for it -- and the final hurdle will be the exciting approach to a narrow green rising up from a 'sea' of sand."

Construction of the new golf hole will be handled by golf builder Landscapes Unlimited. Landscapes is among the world's largest and most celebrated golf course construction firms with projects throughout the U.S. and internationally. The company's resume includes numerous U.S. Open and PGA tournament courses. During the past year, upgrades to the Phoenician Golf Club have included turf and irrigation renovations, as well as the refurbishment of the water features that define the golf experience throughout the three distinct nines -- Oasis, Desert and Canyon.

The new Camelback Ballroom will join The Phoenician's existing 22,000 square-foot Grand Ballroom, offering 15,000 square feet of interior meeting and event space, as well as beautiful exterior settings. The new ballroom is destined to become the resort's architectural showpiece, featuring spectacular views of Camelback Mountain, the new golf hole and sweeping views of Scottsdale.

Grand Cayman's Secret Harbour Prepares for June Ground-Breaking

(GRAND CAYMAN) - Michael Ryan of Orion Developers, owner and developer of several residential enclaves associated with the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman resort is close to breaking ground on his newest community of homes called Secret Harbour.

Secret Harbour, much like Ryan's nearby Dragon Bay community, is heavily influenced by the best  British Colonial designs and will begin construction June 16. While sailing the world over an 11-month period - exploring the Caribbean and Mediterranean to Portofino, Venice, Singapore, Penang and Hong Kong - Ryan collected ideas, images and revelations from the most perfect harbor communities in history.

By mixing modern-day luxuries and contemporary European-style living, and having a location just 410 nautical miles south of Miami, Ryan believes Secret Harbour can be yet another compelling maritime village for the making.

"The British Colonial style forms the basis of so many great communities, each tailored to suit their own particular location," Ryan said. "As a coastal destination and British Overseas territory deeply rooted in heritage, cosmopolitan population and multi-cultural society, Cayman was the perfect place to construct this adaptation to life."

Secret Harbour plans went through seven complete iterations before the explorer's interpretation was transformed. Secret Harbour is the focal piece of the greater 360-acre Dragon Bay community development - the Cayman's only sea-to-sea luxury resort community with established residential enclaves at The Residences and The DeckHouses.

Secret Harbour's Venetian-inspired residences, which start from $899,000, boast arching 10-foot high ceilings and 10-foot high glass window walls, and rooftop terraces and panoramic views of the North Sound, establishing a lifestyle of seamless indoor and outdoor living. With over 60 percent of the residences already purchased from pre-construction sales, Ryan's vision and fundamental goals have already proven successful.

One-bedroom to three-bedroom residences, Harbour Lofts and an exclusive Club Penthouse units are enhanced further by interior design options from the renowned design team of D'Aquino Monaco and unlimited access to the amenities and services of the $650 million Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman resort. Among the on-site activities: a Greg Norman-designed Blue Tip golf course; Silver Rain, a La Prairie Spa; five restaurants including Blue by Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin; a tennis center with programs designed by Nick Bollettieri, and the Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau eco-adventure family program.

Dragon Bay's lifestyle is further enhanced by its Endless Service program, which includes interior designed turnkey furnishings, a fleet of luxury automobiles and 36-foot Intrepid motor yachts available for use when in residence.

According to the developer, the Cayman Islands has no legal restriction on ownership of real estate by foreigners in the Cayman Islands. All land is recorded in a registered system maintained by the government and can be held by individuals, or in the name of a company. Grand Cayman has no sales tax, no income tax, no capital gains tax, no property tax and no inheritance tax, and local banks will generally lend between approximately 50 to 75 percent of the property value to non-Caymanians.

Troon Golf to Manage StoneRidge Golf Course

(PRESCOTT, AZ) - Troon Golf,  the world's largest golf course management company, was  selected by SunCor Development Company to manage SunCor's StoneRidge Golf Course.

StoneRidge is an upscale golf facility located in Arizona's scenic high country. Offering dramatic elevation changes and picturesque views, the par-72 course combines elements of both a desert and mountain course together. The hybrid-style layout presents dynamic characteristics that make it both player-friendly and challenging for golfers of any ability. Course architect Randy Heckenkemper designed StoneRidge Golf Course, calling it one of the most beautiful and challenging designs he has ever created.

"StoneRidge Golf Course is a wonderful addition to our portfolio," said John Easterbrook, Troon's executive vice president of operations. "We're confident our management services will be a great complement to the facility's unique character and renowned golf course."

With sweeping views of the golf course and the surrounding mountains, the 14,586-square-foot clubhouse offers with a full-service golf shop, large conference room, inviting grille, and a spacious outdoor patio. The clubhouse amenities can comfortably accommodate almost any size group from a large corporate tournament to small and intimate gatherings. 

"SunCor is extremely pleased to partner with such a fabulous management company as Troon Golf in our efforts to provide one of the best golf experiences that Arizona has to offer," said SunCor vice president and CFO Michael Martin.

Tempe, Arizona-based SunCor Development Company is a subsidiary of Fortune 100 company Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE: PNW), conducting business in the Mountain West Region through several diverse business sectors: community homebuilding, master-planned communities, commercial development, mixed-use urban infill development, and SunCor Golf--a golf course development company.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Troon Golf oversees operations at golf properties located in 31 states and 26 countries. Among Troon's award-winning properties are Oneida Golf and Country Club in Green Bay, Wis., Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., The Golf Club at Equinox in Manchester Village, Vt.,  Classic Club in Palm Desert, Calif., One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, Bahamas,  and The Grove in  London.

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