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brad_miller

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Cottonwood Hills
« on: March 19, 2009, 12:20:50 PM »
This is one that might not be worth anything. This project was a major stretch (large mixed use real estate development) even in the best of times. Kind of the go-go AZ/Nev/Fla development transported by a native back to Hutch. It was a wonderful parcel of land for golf, but it did not take a HP 12c to see the economics of any project in this location where a stretch.

Cottonwood Hills course set to reopen

BY BILL WILSON
The Wichita Eagle

An eastern Reno County golf course designed by Nick Faldo will reopen in a month, its developer said, despite financial problems that forced its closure late last year.

But Reno County's commission chairman is skeptical about Cottonwood Hills Golf Club's future and said the course must prove itself financially before the county follows through on a $1 million commitment for nearby road improvements.

The course, which closed quietly in December, will reopen in mid-April with new financing, its developer Lane Neville said.

Its financial problems, along with the economic downturn, will delay housing development along the course for at least a year, Neville said.

"Our plan moving forward is to really just focus on the golf this year," said Neville, a Hutchinson native living in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Our focus will be on golf this year, then if we can we'll move toward infrastructure for the development toward the end of the year, first of next year."

Faldo, the winner of six major championships, and his golf course design company laid out Cottonwood Hills in a rolling stretch of sandhills just south of Buhler and east of Hutchinson on Fourth Street.

Reno County borrowed about $1 million to improve Haven-Buhler Road, the north-south road on which the course sits, Reno County Commission Chairman Brad Dillon said.

The county also planned to extend Fourth Street to the east, but those improvements were put on hold and the money spent on other projects when the course began having financial problems, he said.

"We're going to have to see a lot of progress before we spend that money," Dillon said.

Neville called the course's winter hiatus a "function of restructuring debt."

"Fortunately, we got some additional interim money forwarded into the project in the last week or so," he said.

"That will allow us to move forward through the playing season here this year, focusing on general refinancing dollars that will allow us to leverage it with our current loan and get the infrastructure to put the water, power and sewer down and bring on our first 40 or 50 lots."

The course lost $125,000 last year, Neville said, necessitating its closing. Staffers were laid off and telephones disconnected.

"Unusual? Well, yes and no," said Chris Tuohey, the general manager of Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton.

"I can see some courses doing that from a feasibility standpoint. Golf courses in the off-season lose money, and from a service level standpoint, it could be challenging.... But if that's all he lost over there last year, that's terrific."

The closing also cut Buhler High School's golf program off from its home course, forcing a move to the Highlands northwest of Hutchinson, said athletic director Gregg Gordon.

"To say that we haven't been affected by current conditions in the real estate market wouldn't be accurate," Neville said. "We have had delays, even prior to the economy going bad, just from the rural nature of the project.

"This has been an unprecedented thing. Our long-term goal, and all of our entitlements, are out in Reno County seven miles east of Hutch. As far as the rural development goes, we're going to hang on and try to work through the downtime."

Chuck Porter, a longtime area football coach who ended his career coaching football and golf in Buhler, said Tuesday that he's been called back to work at the course next month.

"I love that place dearly," Porter said. "It's the best course around. Brian's (course manager Reffner) going to have a meeting with us in the next few days, and I'm feeling very positive that there will be golf out there a month from now."

Tuohey said he's pulling for Cottonwood Hills' survival.

"I think we did feed off of each other, from the Kansas City market," he said. "We'd get people down here to play us one day and then the next. If Cottonwood Hills closes, it'll hurt us in that respect."

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2009, 12:46:38 PM »
In speaking with the City of Newton, Sand Creek actually had slightly better play numbers last year than in its first year and its doing quite well.

I am not sure what that says exactly.  While I like to think that it means I am a better designer than Faldo, I think it means that you have more customers to shoot for closer to town and at a lower price, if you have a quality course (which SCS is, if I may say so myself)
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

PThomas

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 07:56:09 PM »
WOW!  that place was only open for a year or two..
198 played, only 2 to go!!

Jason Hines

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2009, 10:25:29 PM »
That is disappointing news, several of us are headed to PD this summer and were going to play Cottonwood Hills and SCS.
 
Has anyone here actually played the course?

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2009, 12:53:08 AM »
Jason,

It says it will open so you can play.  Who would want to after Sand Creek Station though? Just kidding!

Seriously, I haven't played it but I toured it just before opening.  I think you will like it but the "general consensus" of people I know is that it should have been "more like Prairie Dunes."  To many eyes, it looked too refined for its site.  In an odd way, I wonder if financial troubles will roughen up the edges and almost be a better fit to the expecations of those who go out to play the public Prairie Dunes.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Craig Van Egmond

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2009, 07:57:10 AM »

Most of the people I spoke with at Prairie Dunes thought that Cottonwood was too tough and you lose too many balls. When the guys at PD complain about too tough then I stayed away. Sand Creek Station on the other hand was a blast to play and very reasonably priced.

It would have been interesting to see what could have been on the Cottonwood site if another architect had been chosen.

John Kirk

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2009, 10:27:03 AM »
I know David Kelly played it.  Another time David and I walked around two or three holes.  What I saw was ambitious.  Faldo took some chances with blindness and quirky holes.  Not every daring move worked out.

Just a terrible time to build an ambitious project.

Adam Clayman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2009, 09:52:20 PM »
Played there today. As noted the property is gorgeous. Reminiscent of Angel's Crossing in it's Eden-esque natural beauty. The holes were unique. Some Drainage issues apparent since it had rained a bunch lately and that morning it poured. The turf for the most part looked grand. Not perfect, but very playable and acceptable. Strategies off the tee tee were frequent but had little to do with the days pin position. Green to tee separations were noticeable. The first Par 3 4th, was interesting and the first place my GCA geek alarm went off. It had a rock wall fronting the green complex, beautiful dune and a bunker complex long. Almost Mackenzie like save for the rock wall. The problem I had was that the ground left of the tee, had some elevation change and could've been a lost Op, since the hole plays relatively flat. Perhaps it was the wall that made me look around because I was loving the dune long? Another initial crit was of the bunker stylings. They were forced standard American scallops, with tongues, surrounded by rough grass on a site that could've produced more unique beauties. By the triskaidekaphobia hole I sensed the need for speed and speculated the closer would be a butt puckerer. It was. The 14th confirmed the architects desire to stir things up with a narrow tee shot through bunkers at the top of a ridge. Failure to carry and the virgin was basically de-flowered. This formulaic need to climax had me appreciating the front nine more and more for it's subtlety.
 My first Flado, so I enjoyed the non-standard looks and even appreciated some of the blindness. Although the hill in the center of one of the last fairways (16 or 17) might have been a shade or two large.

"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Daryn_Soldan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2009, 11:57:09 PM »
Adam,

Did you make it over to Prairie Dunes for any of the Big 12 Championship? I was headed out there early this morning but turned back when I found out they were going to have a weather delayed start. Unfortunately the schedule wouldn't have allowed me to stick around long enough to see much golf.

Looks like you had a beautiful day once the weather moved out. Your comments regarding Cottonwood are along the lines of what quite a few folks are saying. I was out there to look around during construction and walked the course since but haven't actually played it yet. Thought that chance may have passed by the way things were looking late last year. Overall the feelings from most people I've talked to center on the bunker look and the sheer difficulty of the course, even for very good players, when the wind blows. I understand that they probably wanted to differentiate the course in look and playing style from Prairie Dunes. However, I agree with you and others that opportunities may have been missed in doing so.

-Daryn

Adam Clayman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 08:10:16 AM »
Daryn, Yes, we were out there watching, and then golfing, after the Big 12. OK St. had a 3 shot lead going into the final round. The delay at PD was until 10 a.m. Meanwhile we went out at CH as the rain was still falling at 8.

CH should be seen. and played. It ain't bad and there's way more good than bad. Plus, my little critique about one aspect of the aesthetic shouldn't stop anyone. I would however recommend playing forward for anyone 10 and above.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Sean Leary

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2009, 12:58:01 PM »
Adam,

What was the wind like?

« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 01:03:52 PM by Sean Leary »

Mark Saltzman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012, 05:10:42 PM »
Anyone know if CH is open for play?

Brandon Urban

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2012, 06:06:50 PM »
Still closed. The place is pretty much weeds now. It's a sad story. I really enjoyed the golf course.
181 holes at Ballyneal on June, 19th, 2017. What a day and why I love golf - http://www.hundredholehike.com/blogs/181-little-help-my-friends

Brad Tufts

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2014, 10:15:10 PM »
http://www.hutchnews.com/news/local_state_news/article_cf7c98e4-826a-58c0-a7ba-bbcd17e253cf.html

Still on track?  Came across this looking at OK/KS golf options...
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

Sean Leary

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2014, 11:03:51 PM »
I will be out there next week at PD. Will try to drive by and see what it looks like.

Brad Tufts

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2014, 11:14:11 PM »
Damn you!  Going to miss you by two weeks....will be driving through Wichita or thereabouts on Thurs 10/23.
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

K. Krahenbuhl

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cottonwood Hills
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2014, 09:28:40 AM »
http://www.hutchnews.com/news/local_state_news/article_cf7c98e4-826a-58c0-a7ba-bbcd17e253cf.html

Still on track?  Came across this looking at OK/KS golf options...

It looked like the same overgrown course that it has for the past few years when I drove by two weeks ago.

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