So long Pine
Hill Golf Club; hello Trump National -- Philadelphia.
The sale of the
Pine Valley," which had been rumored for weeks, was completed about 8 p.m.
Wednesday, along with Trump’s acquisition of a second course, Branton
Woods GC in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., which the ego-centric billionaire promptly
National GC -- Hudson Valley.
"It is true," Pine Hill’s
head pro, Dave
Cartwright, said Thursday morning, confirming the sale.
That was quickly
followed by the official press release from Trump
Golf announcing the purchases of what are the high-profile
golf courses .
"These two courses are
each considered among the finest in the country and I am proud to add them to
my growing list of clubs," Trump said in a statement.
"Today, they would be virtually impossible to replicate from the
standpoint of receiving governmental and environmental approval or from the
standpoint of cost."
Although Trump Golf
declined to disclose the purchase price of the courses, the Poughkeepsie
Journal reported that Branton Woods, a private club which Trump said
million to develop, had been on the market for $8 million.
The talk around Pine Hill,
which the announcement also said cost $45 million to develop, was that Trump would be acquiring the facility
on the dollar." On Thursday, Dave Schutzenhofer,
general manager of Trump National
– Bedminster (N.J.), said, "I think it’s fair to say Donald Trump
got a good deal."
What about Pine Hill GC
appealed to Trump?
"First, the proximity
Valley," said Schutzenhofer. "It’s
what, a mile or two away, and it compares favorably to Pine Valley. Second, it’s a Tom Fazio design on land that is similar to
the land that the best golf course in the world is built on. Finally, its proximity to Philadelphia,
Trump went to the Wharton School (at the University of Pennsylvania)."
Schutzenhofer also mentioned a certain confidence in the
future of Pine
Hill once it is rebranded as a Trump National property.
As the press released
noted and Schutzenhofer
National – Philadelphia, which has been semi-private, will be operated as a "high-end
ultra-luxury private clubs." Under
he said, initiation fees will be $10,000, and annual dues will be $6,250; the
club will also mount a campaign to grow the membership from its current 200 to 300.
In the near future,
Trump Golf will begin a capital improvement plan that includes upgrading
the exterior and interior of the $6 million clubhouse, and canvassing members
for other improvements they’d like to see. Trump also plans to have to Fazio return to update and possibly soften the
very difficult golf course.
One of the first orders
of business is
to fill the currently empty post of general manager. Schutzenhofer said that Trump and
his son, Eric,
who negotiated much of the deal, have already hand-picked several potential
candidates from the Philadelphia area.
The sale to Trump comes
at the end of a long, at-times bumpy road for Pine Hill GC. When it opened in late 2000 as an upscale daily fee course with $130 green
fees, it quickly became a star player on the country-club-for-a-day scene.
however, when the market for upscale daily fee courses was drying up, Pine Hill
announced it was accepting members, with $15,000 initiation fees, plus $5,000 dues. Once the club reached 300
members, the plan was to go from semi-private to fully private. That never happened, however, and Pine Hill
never went completely private.