Month: November 2017

Omni issues rebuttal on Ocean Links demolition Resort says it is entitled to relocate or replace its golf amenities

The Omni Plantation, which is currently blocked by a court injunction of demolishing the Ocean Links Golf Course, issued a statement Wednesday which says the resort is within its rights to convert the 18-hole layout into a green space.

The statement released by Director of Resort Marketing Michelle Valley states the following:

View from the Ocean Links course at Omni Amelia Island

Omni Hotels & Resorts and the Amelia Island Equity Club entered into an agreement with a 99 year term as part of Omni’s acquisition of the Amelia Island resort assets out of bankruptcy in September, 2010. The agreement provides for reciprocal use of amenities between the parties, allowing club members to use resort amenities (golf, tennis, fitness, pool and restaurants) and guests of the resort to play the Long Point course and use the Long Point driving range.

The agreement acknowledges that amenities demanded by resort guests and club members will necessarily change and evolve over the 99 year term of the agreement. Specifically, the agreement gives Omni rights to reconfigure, modify, relocate or replace the resort amenities, including golf, if Omni determines such changes are necessary in its good faith business judgment.

Omni’s business judgment is that current demand for golf is better served by making material improvements to the Oak Marsh course and investing all golf resources into the operation of one quality18-hole course. The Ocean Links course is by far the poorest quality course in Omni’s entire golf portfolio of 21 courses and Omni received many complaints about the quality of the golf layout. Omni believes Ocean Links denigrates the reputation of the resort as a quality golf destination.

The Omni statement also maintains that Ocean Links was not being supported by Amelia Island Club members. It states:

The agreement contemplates that the club would provide 10,000 rounds of golf on the two resort courses, yet the club is providing less than 3,000 rounds per year (with less than 1,000 of those rounds being played on Ocean Links). Golf today is more about quality of the course than quantity of the holes. Maintaining a golf course for less than 1,000 rounds per year of club member play is not sustainable and is not required by the agreement.

The Omni statement said there are no plans to develop the Ocean Links property, stating:

It is also important to communicate what Omni is not going to do with the Ocean Links property. Omni has no plans to develop residential real estate on the Ocean Links property. The only contemplated development is an event lawn on hole number six behind the resort.

Omni has invested over $150 million at Amelia Island and the decisions made by Omni have benefited all stakeholders of the Plantation, in many forms, including increased property values. No one has more at stake in this decision than Omni, and Omni is motivated more than anyone to ensure the Plantation maintains its status as a premier resort community and destination. The decision to close the Ocean Links was made to enhance and improve the status of the Plantation for the benefit of all of its stakeholders.

The Omni began bulldozing the Ocean Links green complexes on Nov. 12, but was stopped two days later following an order by a Nassau County judge. The Amelia Island Club had filed a complaint against The Omni claiming it was in breach of its contract with the club.

The case is scheduled to go before a mediator, however, a date has not be set.

 

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

Court halts demolition of Ocean Links Golf Course Injunction blocks Omni from bulldozing greens, bunkers and fairways

By Mike Lednovich, Editor

A Nassau County Judge Friday has blocked the Omni Plantation from continuing to demolish the Ocean Links Golf Course which it began bulldozing last Monday as County deputies stood guard.

“Until this Court dissolves the injunction or modifies this Order, or until the (Amelia Island) Club and the Omni agree otherwise, the Omni is enjoined and restrained from further demolishing or altering the condition of the Ocean Links Golf Course,” the order stated and was signed by Judge Steven Fahlgren.

Attorneys for the 1,400 member Amelia Island Club had filed a complaint against the Omni Plantation saying the closing and demolition of the Ocean Links Golf Course violated the 99-year operating agreement between the resort and the club.

The hole is plowed under

“The Club also has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits in this case. Based upon the allegations in the Verified Complaint it appears that the Omni is in breach of the Agreement,” the order stated. “This injunction will also serve the public interest. Preserving the status quo will protect the rights of the Club, its members, and any other individuals owning homes adjacent to the Ocean Links Golf Course. And it does not appear that the Omni will suffer any harm if its efforts to convert a golf course into green space are delayed.”

Numerous green complexes, particularly those adjacent to the ocean, have been destroyed and leveled by bulldozers.

The court said the Omni’s actions has already caused damage to Amelia Island Club members.

“The Club will be irreparably harmed if the Omni continues demolishing the Ocean Links Golf Course, and (ii) there is no remedy at law for the Club’s loss. Each day during which demolition continues will exacerbate the condition of the Ocean Links Golf Course. It appears that this will make it more difficult to restore the course to the condition described in Exhibit D to the Agreement. And until the course is restored, the Club and its members are deprived of valuable real property rights that cannot be quantified,” the court stated.

View from the Ocean Links course at Omni Amelia Island

The court said the Parties (the Omni and the Amelia Island Club) had acknowledged and agreed that it is the intention of the Parties to allow continued usage of all the Resort Amenities and Club Amenities for the benefit of the [Omni], the Club, its Members and Member Guests accompanying Club Members, pursuant to the terms of this Agreement. The Agreement’s definition of “Resort Amenities” expressly includes the “Ocean Links Golf Course”

The agreement, established in 2010, also stated “The Omni agreed to operate Ocean Links course with general maintenance and operations standards of comparable first class semi-private golf courses of similar age, circumstances and with comparable resort golf fees located on the southeastern seaboard of the United States.”

The court noted that the Omni had breached its agreement with the Amelia Island Club by:

  • Not maintaining and operating the Ocean Links Golf Course in accordance with the standards identified in  the Agreement.
  • Undertaking to destroy the Ocean Links Golf Course; and
  • Not providing the Club members two 18-hole championship level golf courses.

The next step is for the Omni and Amelia Island Club to meet with a mediator.

The Omni had begun demolition of Ocean Links unannounced to the public, saying it was converting the property into green space and committing its golf resource to its other 18-hole course Oak Marsh.

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

Cobra’s F8 Driver, hybrids and irons The King F8 and F8 One Length Irons feature ‘Smart’ Connectivity

Carlsbad, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2017) Cobra Golf today introduced its F8 irons, pushing the boundaries of innovation through the use of electronically enabled grips in each club, allowing golfers to track their performance with COBRA CONNECT™ Powered by Arccos technology. Thanks to game-changing construction technologies, including PWRSHELL™ Face Technology for increased speed and launch, Carbon Feel Technology for exceptional sound and feel, and TECFLOTM Progressive set construction for tailored performance throughout the set, COBRA’S F8 irons equip golfers with a dominant blend of distance, speed, and best-in-class feel, while COBRA CONNECT™ provides Tour level analytics to help golfers improve.

In addition to the drivers, fairways and hybrids, all KING F8 irons will feature the innovative COBRA CONNECT™ Powered by Arccos System to help players make smarter, data-driven decisions to improve their game. Electronically embedded sensors in the grip automatically record the distance and accuracy of every shot so golfers can track their improvements round-to-round. The fully connected set works in conjunction with the award-winning Arccos 360 smartphone application, which provides advanced rangefinder GPS distances for more than 40,000 courses.

Consumers who purchase a standard 7-piece set of F8 irons in any configuration (iron or combo sets) will also receive additional Arccos 360 screw-in sensors to round out their 14-club set, ensuring that consumers have a fully connected experience.

“Our 2018 iron offering is truly ground-breaking, as it provides not only innovative technologies to achieve better performance across the board, but also the wherewithal to actually quantify just how much better, thanks to COBRA CONNECT,” said Tom Olsavsky, Head of R&D for COBRA Golf. “Our F8 line offers an innovative solution for both the players who trust their games to variable length irons and also for the growing contingent of golfers who have realized the benefits of our ONE length set up.”

Headlining COBRA’s 2018 iron lineup are the KING F8 and KING F8 ONE Length™ Irons featuring an all-new E9™ PWRSHELL™ Face Technology that boasts a 20% thinner forged face. An E9™ elliptical Sweet Zone™ construction promotes faster ball speeds across a wider area on the face, delivering unparalleled distance and forgiveness. Both models feature Carbon Feel Technology inserts that are strategically-positioned to deliver a soft yet solid feel throughout the set. New all Carbon Fiber construction medallions dampen vibrations for exceptional sound and feel throughout the set.

COBRA’s patented TECFLOTM Progressive Set Construction Technology delivers tailored performance through varying cavity constructions to optimize the trajectory of each iron in the set, while Progressive Spin Technology improves groove structures through CNC milling to deliver optimum spin and trajectory performance from the long irons to wedges. A full hollow design in the long and mid irons (4-7) delivers low CG with an extremely responsive face for easier to hit, high-flying shots, while Milled V-Grooves reduce spin for maximum distance. In the mid to scoring irons (8-PW), a cavity back design delivers more accuracy on approach shots, meaning more greens-in-regulation and shorter birdie putts and Milled U-Grooves optimize spin for improved control and accuracy. A specialty wedge design in the GW, SW and LW provides improved feel and precision around the greens with tighter-spaced wedge grooves to increase spin for more precision. Progressive hosel lengths strategically position the CG for optimum launch throughout the set. Lower profile long irons, with shorter hosels, lower CG for improved launch and forgiveness. Progressively taller hosels in the scoring irons position CG higher and more forward in the clubhead for improved trajectory control and accuracy into greens.

To build upon COBRA’s widely-acclaimed KING F7 ONE Length irons, COBRA engineers incorporated unique TECFLO constructions in the F8 ONE Length irons that allowed them to manipulate weight to 7-iron specifications while keeping the look of a traditional iron, delivering the most technologically advanced ONE Length irons to date.

Improved trajectories were achieved using progressive hosel lengths paired with wider sole widths in the 4-6 irons to lower the CG in the long irons for higher-flying trajectories, and raise the CG in the scoring irons & wedges to promote lower, more controlled trajectories. In addition, COBRA has teamed up with its shaft partners to develop ONE Length specific flighted shafts that feature variable tipping executions to make the long irons play softer and launch higher and the short irons play stiffer and launch lower.

“Overall, I’d say the F7 ONE Length was a great surprise for us this year, surpassing all sales forecasts we had at the outset, and Bryson DeChambeau’s impressive win at the John Deere Classic this summer certainly helped generate even more interest,” said Olsavsky. “Now, as more players take note of the benefits provided by a ONE length set, we are excited to deliver the F8 line-up, with cutting-edge iron technologies that work in unison with the one length philosophy to make them even easier to hit and more consistent than before. And even better, with COBRA CONNECT, golfers don’t have to just take our word for it. They can clearly see just how much they’ve improved based on real data points. The numbers don’t lie.”

The new KING F8 variable length irons are available in a variety of stock set options (others are available in custom)

Men’s Steel Irons (MAP: $799) – 7-piece set that utilizes a Lamkin REL 360 (Tour Taper, CONNECT) grip; True Temper XP 90 steel shaft; includes 5-PW, GW and is available in both RH and LH versions in regular and stiff flexes.
Men’s Graphite Combo Set (MAP $999) – 7-piece set includes 5H, 6-PW, GW available in RH only in Regular and Lite flexes. Utilizes a Lamkin REL (Tour Taper, CONNECT) grip and Aldila Rogue Pro 65 Graphite shaft.
Women’s Graphite Combo Set (MAP $999) – 7-piece set includes 5H, 6H, 7-PW, SW – features the same innovative technologies found in the men’s irons including COBRA CONNECT. The ladies stock combo set in RH only, (LH through custom) features COBRA Lamkin REL 360 (COBRA CONNECT silver/pink or black/blue grips) and Aldila Rogue 60 gram graphite shafts.
The KING F8 ONE (MAP: $799 steel; $899 graphite through custom) will be available in both RH and LH versions, in a 5-PW, GW standard set make-up. F8 ONE comes stock with Lamkin Crossline 360 (Tour Taper; COBRA CONNECT Blue/Red) grips and in either Aldila One Rogue 65 (graphite – stiff, regular, lite) or True Temper ONE Flighted (steel – stiff and regular) shaft options.

Complementing the F8 ONE LENGTH Irons, COBRA is introducing the industry’s first-ever ONE LENGTH Hybrid. The KING F8 ONE LENGTH Hybrid features revised weighting and CG, an upright lie angle, and increased head weight to match the ONE Length irons.

The Men’s KING F8 ONE Graphite 7-piece Combo Set (6-GW, 5H) is available in RH only at a retail price of $999 in Reg/Lite flex. Features a Graphite Aldila Rogue Pro ONE Length 65 shaft and Lamkin REL 360 (Tour Taper/CONNECT Blue/Red) grip.

The entire family of KING F8 Irons will be available at retail beginning February 2, 2018. For more information on the entire KING family of products, visit cobragolf.com. Join the conversation using #CobraCONNECT and #KINGF8.

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

Bye, Bye Ocean links, not so fast Lawyers look to block the Omni Plantation

Members of The Amelia Island Club are seeking to halt the Omni Plantation hired bulldozers from leveling any more of the Ocean Links Golf Course

announcing that attorneys are taking legal action to block the closure of Ocean Links.

The Club’s Board of Directors issued the following statement to its members:

The Amelia Island Club has a long standing agreement with Omni that assures Club members the right to the continued use the of the Omni’s Ocean Links golf course. The Club has gone to court today to obtain judicial relief to enforce those contractual rights.

The Management and Board of Directors of the Club are prepared to take all appropriate legal steps to protect the interest of the Club and honor the overwhelming vote against the Ocean Links golf course closure by our membership.

Thank you,
AIEC Board of Directors

Last Monday, heavy equipment operators began bulldozing greens adjacent to the ocean on the scenic Ocean Links property which was originally designed by Pete Dye in the early 1970s. Omni Plantation was operating 36 holes of golf, the other course being the Oak Marsh facility. Winding along a coastal Atlantic dune ridge, Ocean Links #4, #5, #6, #15 and #16 provided golfers with five oceanfront golf holes.

The Omni says it will redirect its golf resources to the Oak Marsh Course.

Ocean Links is part of Amelia Island Plantation, a master-planned community encompassing more than 1,350 acres of maritime forests and marshes, alongside miles of uncrowded beach front. It is home to approximately 900 single-family homes and 1,200 condominiums as well as the family oriented, private Amelia Island Club and a world-class resort owned and operated by Omni Hotels & Resorts. The Amelia Island Club has 1,400 members.

The Omni issued this statement: “As of November 12, 2017, Omni Hotels & Resorts has closed Ocean Links golf course and will repurpose that land into green space to enable all golf resources to be dedicated to enhancing the Oak Marsh golfing experience. We are pleased to share some already-noticeable improvements on Oak Marsh including the renovation of all bunkers, restoration and resurfacing of all coquina areas, replacement of the bridges on holes 15 and 17, and replacement and restoration of all bulkheads.”

The statement makes no comment on the Ocean Links property.

“At this time we are unable to discuss this matter in detail, so we will not be able to respond to your spe cific inquiries,” said Michelle Valle, Director of Resort Marketing Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

A message from Donald Stamets, Area Managing Director, Omni Amelia Island Plantation:

As of Nov. 12, 2017, Omni Hotels & Resorts closed Ocean Links golf course and will develop that land into green space. In addition to providing additional outdoor activity opportunities, this development will enable all golf resources to be dedicated to enhancing the Oak Marsh golfing experience. We are pleased to share some already-noticeable improvements on Oak Marsh including the renovation of all bunkers, restoration and resurfacing of all coquina areas, replacement of the bridges on holes 15 and 17, and replacement and restoration of all bulkheads.

Today, Monday, Nov. 13, we started Phase 1 of the project by leveling the greens of all holes except 1, 2 and 6. This is to facilitate the transition from “a putting green complex” to level ground covered with sod. Phase 2 will be to flatten and fill in fairway bunkers, in their transition to become sodded. Phase 3 is when all areas transition to sod to create a park-like setting. Phases 1 through 3 can take 4-6 weeks based on weather.

As previously communicated, hole 6 (which is directly in front of the hotel building) will transition into an event space. Holes 1 and 2 are being considered for par 3 golf holes and/or a practice area, while the remaining 15 holes will transition to green space.

 

 

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

Money talks, bye, bye Omni Ocean Links Course Amelia Island

View from the Ocean Links course at Omni Amelia Island

Looks like the Omni Plantation on Amelia Island wants more tourists and less golf. Bulldozers were out Tuesday scraping away holes on the Ocean Links Golf Course adjacent to the beach.

According to Facebook community speculation, the golf course is going to be replaced by condominiums. The Omni won’t discuss its plans for the property.

Either way, the mighty dollar wins again.

All internet links to Ocean Links Golf Course including GolfNow were disabled.

Ocean Links was a 4 star (Golf Digest) Bobby Weed design and is one of two championship courses at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. Of these 36 holes, 27 are the original 1974 designs by Pete Dye, and the remaining nine that round out Ocean Links were added by Weed in 1998.

With the demise of Ocean Links, Amelia Island now has just The Golf Club of Amelia Island, Amelia River Golf Club, the city owned Fernandina Golf Club, the private Long Point Golf Course and the Oak Marsh Course at the Omni Plantation.

The Facebook community page includes one Omni Plantation resident who claims the project was rejected by home/condo owners and they have now hired attorneys.

“I am a homeowner at Windsong Villas, our unit sits between Ocean Links and Long Point. We are also members at the Ocean Club. This just happened on Monday Morning without notice, we voted not to close courses,” said Kim Strain Mills on Facebook.  “I have been coming to the Plantation since 1978 and hate seeing what the Omni has done. I understand change and things must be done in order to make profits, but this is unbelievable.”

The hole is plowed under /photo by Justin Carroll

The Omni says it will redirect its golf resources to the Oak Marsh Course.

The Omni issued this statement: “As of November 12, 2017, Omni Hotels & Resorts has closed Ocean Links golf course and will repurpose that land into green space to enable all golf resources to be dedicated to enhancing the Oak Marsh golfing experience. We are pleased to share some already-noticeable improvements on Oak Marsh including the renovation of all bunkers, restoration and resurfacing of all coquina areas, replacement of the bridges on holes 15 and 17, and replacement and restoration of all bulkheads.”

The statement makes no comment on the Ocean Links property.

“At this time we are unable to discuss this matter in detail, so we will not be able to respond to your spe cific inquiries,” said Michelle Valle, Director of Resort Marketing Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

Emily Schoenle-Grable said on Facebook “More money in condos than golf course I guess – money talks!!!”

Residents said they have hired attorneys and are seeking an injunction to stop the project.

‘This is maddening at best . Money talks for sure . They are violating an agreement with the property owners in bulldozing this course,” said Anne Ziegler in a comment to Gator Golf Magazine.  “And for green space? Please, they are going to do whatever makes them the most money and who cares about the rest . Lies, lies and more lies . Boycotting spending money at Omni. So disappointing!!”

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

A $5.50 golf ball, shame on Titleist

The latest golf ball hype out of the Titleist labs is the new AVX golf ball. How much a dozen? Try $62 on Ebay plus $10 shipping.
Let’s get real here. How much better can this golf ball be than the Pro VI at generally $40 online?
Titleist says the AVX, which is on the USGA Conforming List of Golf Balls, is intended for golfers looking for a premium performance golf ball with long distance and a soft feel.

A $5.50 golf ball, will it fly with consumers?

The statement of the golf ball box states: “AVX utilizes innovative, high speed, low compression core technology, resulting in a powerful engine to drive remarkable distance with exceptionally soft feel.”
This is just more nonsense from the golf manufacturers whose greed knows no bounds.
I’m playing a $14 per dozen closeout Nike ball that performs better than the Pro VI or Pro VIX.
Don’t fall for the claims. Save your money for beer and meal upgrade in the clubhouse.
What do you have to lose? A $5.50 golf ball is all.

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

The Shark Experience will bite badly

Greg Norman – together with partners Verizon, GPSi and Club Car – wants to bring all your home entertainment (news, sports, music, golf tips, etc.) to your golf cart. That’s exactly what he’s pitching to golf courses in 2018 in pursuit of the ever elusive millennial golfer.

Listen up, it’s a very bad idea on many fronts. Here’s why:

Don’t you play golf to get away from all the noise and clutter of your daily life? Chomp, that’s going to be gone because an active streaming tablet in a cart will always grab your attention.

We all know that golf is losing participants because it just takes too long to play 18 holes. I quit playing weekends in Southern California because my average 18 was taking five and half hours and I play fast.  Compounding the problem is courses booking foursomes every eight minutes instead of every 10 to squeeze in more players.

Now imagine foursomes watching Alabama-Georgia football during their round. Or dialing up Norman’s golf tip on getting out of a bunker. Chomp, the shark will add more delays, not speed up play. Can you say six hour round.

As you’re driving to your ball isn’t the point to be thinking about your next shot (distance, hazards in place, etc.)? Chomp, that’s gone because you’ve been watching Foster the People’s latest music video or checking out Bloomberg TV to see how your Apple stock is doing.

 

One aspect of golf is its social component. You’re on a beautiful plot of land surrounded by nature and hopefully you’re engaging with the people in your foursome. Chomp! Ever see a group of four people eating lunch and they’re all staring at their cellphones. Same condition will exist in the golf cart. Instead of being on the tee together, players will hang in their carts until someone yells, “Hey while we’re young!”

And let’s face it, the Shark Experience won’t be free and guess who foots the bill? Chomp, you do. Hey what’s in your wallet? Aren’t green fees already fat enough along with over priced hot dogs, drinks and tipping the bag boy?

Remember texting and driving? How about watching the Shark Experience while going over a narrow bridge or adjacent to a pond or that monster bunker. Chomp, someone distracted is going to get hurt or hurt others.

Finally I have this to say. Do we really need to make regular golf like TopGolf? God help us if the answer is yes.

 

 

 

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.