5536 Eagle Creek Road, Sarasota, FL 34238
Club Management Magazine
Carlton Fisk Charity Tournament
Summer 2004 Newsletter
Parade of Homes features developments, too
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 1:28 p.m.
By HAROLD BUBIL
REAL ESTATE EDITOR
For home builders, it’s all about selling spaces. For developers, it’s all about selling places.
As the 2008 Parade of Homes gets under way Saturday, tour-goers will spend most of their time looking through the 106 model homes presented by members of the Home Builders Associations of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. But before they turn the first doorknob, they will have formed an impression of the subdivision that could be just as important in generating a sale as the outdoor kitchen or the upstairs bonus room in the model.
“It’s all about exposure,” said Ian Fetigan, general manager of The Founders Clubin Sarasota. His golf-course community, three miles east of Interstate 75 off Fruitville Road, is one of 10 new-home subdivisions that are entered in the parade’s developments judging category.
Other featured communities include Rive' Isle Golf and Nautical Estates, Foxbrook Communities, Cypress Pond Estates, Legends Bay at IMG Academies, Palma Sola Bay Club, Oakhurst Park, and Lakewood Ranch, in Manatee County; and Phillippi Landings and Bay Street Village & Towncenter, in Sarasota County. Developers spend a good portion of their budget on creating the sense of place that will appeal to the “target market,” whether it’s the young family, the move-up buyer or the activee retiree.
But for Fetigan, and Founders Club developer U.S. Assets Group, the Parade of Homes offers the opportunity to dispel what they say is a soft-market myth. “One of the challenges we face as a new community ... is an accurate understanding of what The Founders Club is all about,” said Fetigan. “One of the frustrations we’ve had is constantly running into people who either had never heard of us or had misinformation about us. “The Parade of Homes gives us the opportunity to show people ... who may not know anything about us, regardless of whether they are in the socioeconomic demographic to buy in here. It’s important that they are exposed to us so that they can walk away after seeing for themselves the truth, and then telling it to 10 of their friends. You try to do it in a constrained, controlled, professional setting so that we’re not contrary to being a private, exclusive, high-end community. The Parade of Homes gives us that opportunity.”
Even more important than the walk-through traffic is the opinion of a select group of tour-goers who will make the rounds this weekend. Judges will tour the communities and the model homes, with the design awards to be presented at the March 8 banquet at the Hyatt Sarasota.For more information, see the Parade of Homes magazine that was distributed in Friday's Herald-Tribune, and read Marsha Fottler's feature story in the newspaper's Sunday Real Estate section. (Magazines are available in Herald-Tribune offices and at the model homes.
GOLF PLUS: Changes at The Founders Club
By MIKE HENRY
The Founders Golf Club recently marked its third anniversary. The Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed private course off Fruitville Road in Sarasota opened Feb. 4, 2005, and has more than 200 members, 110 homes completed or under construction and more than 60 families in residence.
Since its debut, The Founders Club has been named one of "America's Top 100 Golf Communities"by Travel & Leisure Golf and one of "America's 100 PremIer Properties"in the United States by Links Magazine.
General manager Ian Fetigan said The Founders Club added 26 new members between Nov. 1-Jan. 30 and saw a 12 percent increase in the number of rounds played from Oct. 1-Jan. 31, with more than 1,000 rounds played in January.
The club's membership includes Hall of Fame baseball catcher Carlton Fisk and tennis great Ivan Lendl.
Like many private courses combining quality golf in serene surroundings with a high-end lifestyle, The Founders Club's growth has been slowed by the slumping real-estate market.
Originally built to preserve and enhance the game's traditions, The Founders Club is responding to market forces by offering a wide range of amenities and services to members. Golf Hall, the club's 24,000-square-foot clubhouse, includes three dining areas, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a massage room. The club also offers a Kids Club and Junior Golf Program, tennis instruction, Pilates and yoga classes and numerous social events.
On the golf side, The Founders Club has a traditional caddie program, five sets of tees ranging from 5,085-7,094 yards and no tee times.
The Founders Club has also begun an associate membership, which costs $4,800 and gives members the opportunity to play 12 times during the season and an unlimited amount the rest of the year, with reduced fees. An equity golf membership costs $82,500, plus annual dues.
Fetigan says the biggest current challenge is getting prospective members to see everything The Founders Club has to offer.
"We have some very dynamic things happening, and our main challenge is to get people to experience it for themselves," Fetigansaid.
"We're responding to the changes in expectations of today's club members who want more out of their club than just golf. It's not as much about prestige any more as it is about the value and quality of the club environment. Whether you're buying and building a new home or becoming a social member, these are lifestyle decisions.
"I think the real-estate market is going to rebound. Everybody is assuring us that is going to take place," Fetigan said. "We have less than 140 lots to sell, and I think it is going to take a couple years to happen."
Founders makes changes to meet members' needs
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 3:00 a.m.
Most Sunday afternoons at The Founders Golf Club are special for the Fetigan family. "It is my bonding time with my three sons," said Ian Fetigan,the general manager of the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course.
They usually play nine holes, and there is practically nobody around to interrupt their quality time.
At The Founders Golf Club, there are no tee times and only 140 golf members.
In January, the high-end private club off Fruitville Road in Sarasota hosted more than 1,000 rounds of golf. The play is up 12 percent since the start of the fiscal year in October 2007.
By comparison, Bobby Jones Golf Club booked 15,850 rounds in January 2007 and almost 15,000 last month.
For well-heeled golfers, who want their privacy, The Founders Golf Club is as good as it gets -- a great, 18-hole championship course, outstanding service and all the amenities a private club has to offer.
But it does come with a price tag -- $82,500 to join, plus $9,420 in yearly dues. That's for a full equity golf membership and that's before the meter starts running for cart fees, guest fees, food and drink.
The club recently celebrated its three-year anniversary, and Fetigan will be the first to admit the thinking has changed since the first ball was struck. Real estate sales are down, and like most private clubs, attracting new members is challenging.
"Our society is changing," said Fetigan. "The next generation doesn't seem to regard the private club membership with the same prestige as our parents did."
With that in mind, The Founders has established a broader focus. The golf course sells itself, but Fetigansays members want more than golf. There is an emphasis on fitness, wellness and social activities. What the members want, the club will more than likely oblige.
For example, membership director Valerie Soroker is planning a one-day shopping trip to New York City for some female members. Also, because so many of the club's members play on the weekends, the Valentine's tournament will be held on Saturday, followed by a dinner/dance.
At one time, the club attempted to lure low-handicap golfers to join a club with a challenging course. It did not get as many as expected. The Founders has about 20 single-digit handicappers and the average age of the members is about 53.
Although there are no plans to open the club to a variety of outings or a tour event, Fetigan says he would consider making the club the home course and practice facility for an area high school.
As of now, tennis great Ivan Lendl and baseball Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk are the most famous members. Lendl and his daughters, who attend Leadbetter Golf Academy in Bradenton, use the club on a regular basis.
To boost the membership and show off the club, The Founders has initiated an associate membership. The associate golf member pays $4,800 for one year and can play 12 times during the season and an unlimited amount with reduced fees during the offseason.
Fetiganscoffs at the rumors that The Founders Golf Club is in financial trouble.
"My response is to come out and see what is going on," he said. "There are no issues regarding our financial stability."
In fact, because of an aggressive membership program, Fetiganpredicts the club will have a full golf membership by the end of 2009. He needs 135 more golf members to reach that goal.
Fetiganis not alone in his mission. Just about every private club in the area could use more members.
At historic Sara Bay Country Cub, the initiation fee is $25,000, but a golfer can purchase a two-year interim membership for $2,500 and pay the monthly dues. After two years, the golfer must decide whether he or she wants to become a full member.
At Palm-Aire CC, which just celebrated its 50-year anniversary, the initiation fee is $8,000. General manager Michael Cofer says the club has 770 members, down 15 percent from its high a few years ago. A recent $1.3 million interior renovation to the clubhouse helped attract 45 new members.
Quite frankly, with public and semi-private clubs diminishing, private clubs deserve a look.
No tee times, nobody hitting into you and nobody to slow you down. Caddies are on call at The Founders Golf Club. Three-hour rounds are not uncommon. It's all about wanting to enjoy the country club experience and having the means to do it.
May 8, 2007
The Founders Club is named one of America’s Top 100 Golf Course Communities Selection by Travel + Leisure Golf magazineplaces The Founders Club among the best golf communities in the nationSarasota, FL— Travel + Leisure Golf magazine has named The Founders Club as one of America’s Top 100 Golf Course Communities according to Ian D. N. Fetigan, CCM., general manager. Fetiganreceived notification of the selection from John Atwood, editor-in-chief of the prestigious magazine, and John Rodenburg, vice president/publisher. The publication awards the “Top 100” designation to communities that best combine superb golf with homes and facilities of the highest quality, an extraordinary location and a wealth of lifestyle opportunities. The Founders Club is a private golf club community situated on 700 verdant and gated acres, located three miles east of I-75 exit 210 (Fruitville Road) in Sarasota.
“From its inception, The Founders Club was designed to provide residents and members with unparalleled golf and lifestyle options,” Fetigansays. “This award validates our vision and all the hard work that has made The Founders Club one of the top golfing communities in the country. We have created a Club of utmost charm, privacy and beauty, and have been attracting national attention to the Sarasota area as a premier golf destination.”
From the beginning, the goal of the developers—U.S. Assets Group and The Starling Group—was to create an intimate and very exclusive high-end club experience to reflect the venerable history of the game of golf in Sarasota, Fetigansays. “They did that in part by insisting on the finest design elements: a Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course; the exquisitely detailed clubhouse, Golf Hall; and the most picturesque property in the storied town of Sarasota.” To achieve the desired level of privacy, the development team limited the equity golf memberships at completion to 275, and residences in the community to 262. Currently, over two dozen families reside within the gated enclave, with others scheduled to follow as the 110 homes under construction are completed.
The Top 100 honor puts the club in exclusive company in only its third year of existence. The developers broke ground for The Founders Club in March 2004 and opened the stunning golf course less than a year later, in February 2005, closely following it with the opening of Golf Hall, the stately 24,000-square-foot clubhouse that features sophisticated low-country architecture. World-renowned designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr.,sculpted the dramatic course to capture the feel of a Scottish links design and accentuate the beauty of the natural Florida surroundings, Fetigansays. Centuries-old oaks and pines frame the 18-hole championship course and clubhouse.
“The Founders Club dreams big dreams and makes them come true,” Fetigansaid. “Our residents and members are elated at what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
The Founders Golf Club welcomes Edward McConnell as head golf professional
SARASOTA, FL—The Founders Golf Club, the private, member-owned entity within The Founders Club, announces the hiring of Edward McConnellas head golf professional, according to general manager Ian Fetigan.“We are truly excited to have Ed McConnelljoin our team. Based on his outstanding record of accomplishments, we are confident that he will create a strong tradition of teaching and enhance our family-focused activities. In addition, his plans blend perfectly with our many exciting wellness and fitness programs, which currently include stretching and strengthening programs,” Fetigansays.
The new head golf professional says he intends to initiate golf schools and short-game schools; build a first-class instructional program; expand the junior golf programs, "especially for the holidays when kids are out of school and other kids are visiting"; develop fun and interactive events; use the video and other state-of-the-art equipment to its optimum level; and generally showcase The Founders Golf Club.
"I cannot express how excited and enthused I am,” McConnell says. “It's been my dream to get back to Florida, and particularly to a place like The Founders Golf Club, which has all the traditions of golf in place. What makes a great club great is not the course, not the clubhouse, not the amenities. It’s the membership itself, and The Founders Golf Club has a great membership core. All of the tools are already in place. The Founders Golf Club is well on its way to maintaining the great traditions of the game. It's an honor for me to be part of that process, to develop a tradition that will last for generations."
In seeking a new head golf professional, The Founders Golf Club was inundated with strong candidates, Fetigansays. “We worked our way through 100 applicants and I truly believe we have selected a superior professional. Ed will bring leadership and enthusiasm to our golf programs in a way that will set us apart from all other golf clubs in the area.” Committee member Howard Doss agrees. A senior vice president and city executive for U.S. Trust Bank, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Doss is accustomed to making management decisions and is pleased with the Search Committee’s decision. "Ed McConnell is an outstanding golf professional and a natural leader. His abilities are a perfect match for our needs,” he says.
McConnell brings 27 years of experience, 19 of them as head golf professional or director at very high-end private clubs. Most recently, he spent nearly nine years at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield, IL. While serving as director of golf, he led the Club to an award by Golf, Inc., for best private club renovation.
Before Sunset Ridge, McConnell was head golf professional for seven years at Piper's Landing Country Club, a private, residential, 18-hole community just south of Vero Beach, FL. He held the same position for three years at Moss Creek Plantation in Hilton Head, SC, a 36-hole facility where Tom Fazio and George Fazio collaborated on course design. Earlier in his career, he worked at Bent Pine Golf Club and John's Island Club, both in Vero Beach, FL; Jupiter Hills Club, Jupiter, FL; Gulph Mills Club, King of Prussia, PA; and Turtle Creek Club, Tequesta, FL. The Class A-PGA member's background also encompasses committee-level involvement with the PGA, as well as extensive experience in tournament and program development.
A competitive golfer since the age of 12, the 48-year-old McConnell majored in marketing at Pennsylvania State University and played on their golf team. He has played "a lot of PGA professional events" and mini-tours, and has made four career holes-in-one. He was winner of the Illinois Pro-President Championship in 2002, the South Florida Section Tournament (the "Vero Beach Shoot-Out") in 1993 and numerous other regional tournaments. He also placed among the top 10 in the Player of the Year standings of the South East Chapter and its Chapter Assistant's Tournament.
The Founders Club is an exclusive golf and social club community in Sarasota, Florida, just 3.1 miles east of I-75/exit 210 on Fruitville Road. The Founders Golf Club is the center of the community’s vibrant lifestyle, with its elegant 24,000-square-foot clubhouse; challenging 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.; professional caddies; and no tee times. Golf Memberships are capped at 275 and member rosters are filling up, Fetigansays. The Founders Club has garnered several national honors. Travel + Leisure Golfhas placed it among “America’s Top 100 Golf Communities” and Links Magazinehas named the Sarasota community to its list of “100 Premier Properties” in the United States. It has become a thriving, lively community with families already in residence, over 120 homes either underway or completed by the area's leading builders, nearly half of the homesites sold and all amenities in place, Fetigan says. The Founders Club isn’t all golf and homes, however. The 700-acre community has over 100 acres of sparkling lakes, majestic stands of ancient oak trees, nature preserves and abundant wild life
Founders' golf clubhouse opens today.
Publication: Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, FL)
Publication Date: 12-NOV-05
Byline: Nicholas Azzara
Nov. 12--It's been a long time coming, but the first of three area luxury golf courses is finally completed.
A members-only ribbon-cutting ceremony today for The Founders Club's new 24,000-square-foot clubhouse Golf Hall will put the finishing touches on a Sarasota course six years in the making. Founders Club General Manager Ian Fetiganexpects upwards of 120 to attend the 9 a.m. ceremony. Golf Hall takes its name from the original clubhouse in downtown Sarasota built a century ago. "This marks the 100th anniversary of the first golf course in Sarasota," Fetigansaid. "(Former Sarasota Mayor) J. Hamilton Gillespie dedicated the first Golf Hall in downtown Sarasota." A Gillespie impersonator will be on hand to deliver a commemorative speech. Also planned are a band of 20 bagpipers and Highland Dancers from the Riverview High School Kilties marching band.
Golf Hall features a lounge, restaurant, a fitness facility, golf shop and dining room along with 4,000 square feet of veranda space overlooking the 18th hole. "It took us less than a year to build Golf Hall. Both the golf course and Golf Hall were built in record time and on budget," Fetigansaid. He refused to give the final price of Golf Hall. Robert Trent Jones Jr.designed the 7,094-yard course. Fetigansaid the course is attractive to recreational golfers since it is not as difficult as nearby courses. Memberships are available for about $90,000.
The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club, at 7295 Lorraine Road, Lakewood Ranch, will open to club members Dec. 17, said spokeswoman Liza Kubik. The course will be opened to Ritz-Carlton Sarasota Hotel guests on Jan. 21. The par-72 course designed by Tom Fazio features 16 lakes, a pro shop and a practice and instruction area. Kubik said memberships are available from $75,000 to $125,000 and include access to the Members Beach Club and Members Spa Club. Further east on State Road 70 is The Concession, a private, 18-hole golf course spanning 520 acres and scheduled to open in December. Golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin designed the course. Memberships are available for around $100,000. Surrounding the course will be 255 one-half to one-acre home sites. Representatives for The Concession were unavailable for comment on Friday. Jim McManemon, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota Hotel said he thinks the area will be able to support three courses
"Over the last three years more and more luxury guests have been coming to the area," McManemon said. "We believe there's plenty of room for all three courses with the number of people coming here. The growth has just been phenomenal."
Feeling a little Fisky
The first "Fisk & Friends" Celebrity Golf Classic was a success for The Florida Center recently, starting with a pre-tournament party at the Hyatt, followed by golf at The Founders Club.
Celebs joining Carlton "Pudge" and Linda Fisk included Johnny Bench, Goose Gossage, John Havlicek, Al Kaline, Phil Niekro, Phil Esposito, Stan Mikita, Ivan Lendl, Bronson Arroyo, Tim McCarver, Kelly Gruber, Gary Peters, Shane Rawley, Kyle Snyder, Steve Yoder, and captain Keith Colburn.
Special kudos were given to All-Star sponsor Dave Stewart of Captain Curt's and a tip of the hat to Tom Brown, Fred Starling, Ian Fetiganand the entire staff at The Founders.
Three Marquee Golf Projects, Collectively Costing $1 billion, Nearing Completion
in Sarasota, Florida Area:Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club, The Concession
Golf Club & Residences and The Founders Club
By Matt Griswold, The Bradenton Herald, Fla.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Aug. 9, 2005 - Developers of three marquee golf projects under way in the two-county area are seeing green - and not just from their collective $1 billion investment.
In Sarasota, The Founders Club is already open for play. At the exclusive Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course, club officials have filled 101 memberships. The club will limit its equity membership to 275. Development and construction is under way on 262 home sites. Residents will likely be moving in by the end of the year.
A few miles north in Manatee County, both The Concession Golf Club & Residences and the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club are nearing completion for late 2005 openings. "It's going extremely well," said Concession developer Kevin Daves, president of Core Development, based in Sarasota and Wichita, Kan. "It's really starting to take shape and look great." Daves said the development crew for The Concession is shipping in bunker sand from Ohio, which is considered the industry's finest. "People are saying I must be crazy," he said. "I'm one of the few people bringing sand to Florida." The team has also relocated $800,000 worth of trees to incorporate in the course design. The Tom Fazio-designed Ritz-Carlton course at Lakewood Ranch is grassed. Only some practice areas need turf. At The Concession, the back nine is green. Course designer Jack Nicklaus is due to visit this weekend to tweak the front nine a bit. It will take about four months under typical conditions for the planted turf to be ready for play, said Nicholas von Hofen, director of golf grounds at the Ritz-Carlton club.
Both The Concession, just east of Lakewood Ranch, and the Founders Club, east of Interstate 75 off Fruitville Road, are real-estate driven developments. Florida is the U.S. leader in golf-based residential communities, though both The Concession and Founders Club are designed so that home sites aren't directly adjacent to the course. The industry calls them "core golf" developments. "It's a little bit of paradise out there," Daves said of The Concession property. "You can't see anything else but golf, and you can't hear anything else but nature. It's a spectacular environment."
Nicklaus, Fazio and Trent Jones Jr. are Nos. 1, 2 and 3 respectively, in terms of their monetary impact on golf course real estate. They typically deliver property and home values that are more than 300 percent above the average in their respective markets, according to data compiled by the Dallas-based Golf Research Group.
The Concession is a $600 million project. The 1,232-acre, 255-lot development offers home-site packages priced between $2 million and $15 million. Golf memberships will be in the $100,000 range. The golf course is scheduled to open in December. Developers have carved out a 33-lot portion of Phase 1 for a special neighborhood they'll call Nicklaus Manor. Homes in Nicklaus Manor could be considered modest compared to some of the estates planned for The Concession, but full-maintenance service for homeowners living there will make the community "the ultimate in care-free, luxury living," officials say. The golf course is about 540 acres. It is a Nicklaus Signature design in conjunction with Bradenton resident and European golfing great Tony Jacklin. Nicklaus won 18 major tournaments as a professional and is considered golf's all-time greatest player. Jacklin won the 1970 U.S. Open and the 1969 British Open.
The Jones-designed Founders Club is a $300 million project on about 700 acres. Lot prices start in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. The golf course opened in February - something that General Manager Ian Fetigansays gives the Founders Club a competitive advantage over the other two top-flight golf developments.
The Fazio-designed Ritz-Carlton Members Club is different - in that there's no attached residential real estate. Ritz-Carlton officials praise the design as "uncompromised" golf, and it offers another high-class amenity for residents and visitors of the Sarasota hotel. The golf course is slated to open in the fall.
Concession officials announced in June that famed British actor Sean Connery has become an honorary member of the club. Connery is a longtime friend of Jacklin.
Fetigantold The Herald that tennis legend Ivan Lendlhas become a Founders Club member. "We typically do not share the identities of residents or members," Fetigansaid. "He's been very gracious and said he'd be happy to be a visible member of the club if it helps us in any way. "He's a terrific golfer - the caliber of golfer we encourage out here." Officials at The Founders Club are proud of the fact that they've built the course and are preparing to open the new clubhouse Oct. 1, on time and on budget. "We've done what we said we would do," Fetigansaid. "There's three new clubs in town. Not only is our golf course open, but it's playable and challenging. "This has been a very exciting project. The passion we feel for it grows dramatically every day."
ROLLING IN GREEN
January 18, 2005
KEVIN McQUAID firstname.lastname@example.org
Developer Kevin Daves has a lot on his mind today. As Daves' $600 million Concession golf course and community breaks ground this afternoon, he will have to worry about whether attendees will be able to find the project nestled among the dwindling, pristine woods around Lakewood Ranch. He will probably fret over whether the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course that will be the centerpiece of the 1,230-acre development will be challenging enough -- or too challenging. And he will probably stew over whether the preparations for a Ringling Museum of Art gala planned for tonight are complete. But what Daves says he won't worry about is whether he will be able to find enough people willing to plunk down $75,000 each to buy memberships in the Concession.
"I don't have any question about it," Daves said of the prospect of selling out his 300 non-equity memberships. "If you build the highest quality in Sarasota, people will go for it." As proof, Daves points to his last Sarasota venture, the $100 million Ritz-Carlton Hotel and condominiums, which critics blasted as unrealistic until Daves and partner Robert Buford delivered it. Now, as the third in a trio of luxury private golf clubs being developed in Sarasota and Manatee counties gets under way, developers maintain that they will have little trouble selling out all 875 memberships available. And they say they will have no problem raising the collective $90 million the memberships will cost. Quite the opposite. Daves says that in March the Concession intends to increase the price of membership by 25 percent to $100,000 in response to market demand. The Concession isn't the only members-only club claiming to have little trouble peddling its five-figure memberships.
At the Founders Club, a 700-acre golf course and residential enclave on Fruitville Road in Sarasota, developers U.S. Assets Group and The Starling Group have sold 76 of the 275 memberships that will be offered. When the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course opens officially Feb. 4, Founders Club executives expect sales of the club's equity memberships to accelerate. "There are a slew of people in this area who are interested in this," said Ian Fetigan,the Founders Club's general manager. "There's just tremendous wealth in this area." Like the Concession, the Founders Club plans a price increase. Beginning March 1, its memberships will fetch $80,000, up from $75,000, and additional increases may follow.
Few are as well-acquainted with the vast fortunes in and around Sarasota as the people who run the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. To complete its resort, the Ritz-Carlton is offering entry to 300 members. They will pay $75,000 to $125,000 to play golf on its 325-acre course near Lakewood Ranch, sit by the pool at the Ritz's private beach house on Lido beach, or be pampered in the hotel's spa. Its 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed golf course is set to open late this year. "I think we'll be unique from anything else," said James McManemon, the hotel's general manager. "We're not just golf -- it's everything we're providing, and mostly, the world-class service the Ritz-Carlton is known for."
The brisk membership sales also seem to extend to the six-figure home lots in the Concession and Founders Club -- the latest manifestation of Southwest Florida's supersonic luxury real estate market. At both developments, upscale home builders such as John Cannon have clamored to be included.
The Founders Club pre-sold 50 percent of its 262 home lots to builders. At the Concession, which will have 255 homes, 70 percent of the lots in its first phase were gobbled up, Daves said. At both projects, despite six-figure prices that have given buyers little more than empty stretches of dirt, developers claim buyers are hustling to sign up.
To date, the Founders Club has sold 79 homes, all of which carried prices starting around $1 million. Concession residences are slated to sell for between $4 million and $5 million, Daves said.
Daves and Fetiganbelieve the interest in all three clubs stems from what they describe as the "Naples Effect": Even with two dozen exclusive golf clubs, there's more wealth than there are luxury offerings.
"Naples feels saturated, with the number of golf clubs there," Fetigansaid. "I'm told there are another 20 golf courses on the drawing board there."
But not so in Sarasota and Manatee counties. In Sarasota County, it took the Founders Club five years to receive all its necessary permits and approvals; it's unlikely that another course will be proposed anytime soon. In Manatee County, the two Lakewood Ranch courses and the existing Legacy golf offering almost ensure that another upscale course won't try to compete there for years. "I think we're a broader market than Naples," says Daves, whose golf course is slated for a December completion. "We're attracting an enormous amount of interest from St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Clearwater, as well as from Sarasota." But interest often doesn't translate into dollars. Neither Concession nor Ritz-Carlton officials would reveal just how many memberships they had sold. Both say the response to their pitches has been good. "We're extremely pleased with how things are going," McManemon said. All three clubs tout their differences.
The Founders Club is selling equity memberships; Concession isn't. The Ritz-Carlton doesn't have residences attached to its golf course; both Concession and Founders Club do.
Both Founders Club and Concession will allow only members and guests to play; Ritz-Carlton members will share the links with hotel guests.
Of the three, Founders is the only club in Sarasota County. Ritz-Carlton is the only club where membership will extend from the golf course to the beach and the treatment room.
While differences abound, all three will have one feature in common: expensive annual dues.
At Founders Club, Concession and Ritz-Carlton, members will be charged about $10,000 in annual fees to keep their memberships valid.
"This has all been market-driven," Fetigansaid. "We're finding that there's really been a void for this kind of place in Sarasota."
McClendon's eagle helps his team win Legends Classic
Published: Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 3:26 a.m.
Last weekend's Carlton Fisk Sports Legends Charity Classic was more than just a golf tournament. It was an opportunity for the 28 former sports stars to share their memories and talk about their current situations.
"It was awesome to see these legends exchange autographs," said tournament executive director Chuck Such. "Everyone had a great time. And their wives have a good time. Fisk said this is the best tournament we've put on." Such said the legends donate their time and expenses and don't get paid appearance fees. As far as the competition was concerned, Lloyd McClendon, former Pittsburgh Pirates manager, stole the show. He can still hit over 300-yard drives. In 1971, playing for a team from Gary, Ind., McClendon made history in baseball as a pint-sized youngster. He hit five home runs on five swings in the Little League World Series in which he pitched. He was walked the next five times at bat. He is the Detroit Tigers' hitting coach under manager Jim Leyland and was one of two Tigers who played in the Classic. The other was coach Gene Lamont of Sarasota. McClendon's team won the Classic, taming The Founders Club layout with an 18-under-par 54 in a highly competitive field of 137. Monte Clark, former Detroit Lions and 49ers head coach, led his team to a tie for the top spot with a 54 but the championship was determined by the first lowest score in a rundown of the scorecard. McClendon had an eagle that earned his team the crown. However, Archie Hopkins, a local amateur, upstaged the likes of McClendon, Johnny Bench, John Havlicek and Greg Luzinski with a 350-yard drive, winning the long-drive competition. Such said this year's event was expected to top last year, when $60,000 was raised for the special needs children of the Florida Center. Wayne Fontes, the former Detroit Lions football coach and a defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Bucs, picked the right golf tournament to come up with a lame back. There were 10 doctors and a physical therapist in the tournament. They had him in shape for his tee-off time.
Report: Azinger 2008 Ryder Cup captain
The Bradenton resident has played in four Ryder Cups without losing a singles match
ASSOCIATED PRESS / DAVE MARTIN
By DOUG FERGUSON
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 4:00 a.m.
ATLANTA -- Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo have competed on the golf course and shared space in a television tower as commentators. The next time they square off will be as Ryder Cup captains in two years at Valhalla. Azinger, a former PGA champion and cancer survivor who played in four Ryder Cups without losing a singles match, has been selected the next American captain, according to two people with knowledge of the appointment. They did not want to be identified because the PGA of America has not announced its selection, which could come next week. Azinger, a Bradenton resident, did not return a phone call, but four-time European Ryder Cup captain Tony Jacklin did. Jacklin, a co-designer of The Concession with Jack Nicklaus, plays with Azinger on a regular basis at The Concession, where Azinger is an honorary member. "That's fantastic," said Jacklin, who also lives in Manatee County. "Paul was an obvious choice. As a Ryder Cup player, he was feisty. It will be a great duo with him and Faldo. "I couldn't be happier for him. It is a great venue for the spectators, but these two have been thrown to the gladiators." He will be in charge of a U.S. team that has lost three straight times to Europe, including record margins (181/2-91/2) the last two matches. Last month in Ireland, Europe became the first team to win all five sessions of the matches.
"He's got his work cut out for him," said Ian Fetigan, general manager of The Founders Club, another favorite course of Azinger's when he is not playing on the PGA Tour. "The way I see it is that he has a major row to hoe. He needs to get the team spirit back."
The PGA of America had talked to Azinger about being captain for the '04 Ryder Cup -- a captaincy that would have gone to his close friend, Payne Stewart, who died in a plane crash in 1999 -- but he declined. Azinger said last week at the Chrysler Championship in Florida that he had spoken to the PGA of America, but stopped short of calling it an interview process. Given how the Americans have been hammered the past two times, he was asked if wanted the job. "Well, it's like everything to gain, nothing to lose now," Azinger said last week. "Yes, I would like to do it." Europe already has announced Faldo, a six-time major winner, as its captain for the 2008 matches at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. The appointment of Azinger gives this Ryder Cup a history of captains. Perhaps their most famous showdown came in a singles match at The Belfry in 1993, played a month before Azinger was diagnosed with lymphoma in his left shoulder. Faldo made a hole-in-one in that match, and even though the U.S. had earned enough points to win the cup, Azinger kept grinding, eventually earning a halve. When NBC Sports later showed highlights of that match, Azinger quipped, "Look at that. I had cancer and he still couldn't beat me." Azinger played in four Ryder Cups and had a 5-7-3 record, but he never lost in singles while playing some of Europe's best. Along with his halve against Faldo, he beat Seve Ballesteros in 1989 and Jose Maria Olazabal in 1991. He played his last Ryder Cup at The Belfry in 2002 and holed a bunker shot on the 18th hole to earn a halve against Niclas Fasth. Azinger played Faldo four times in the Ryder Cup and had a 2-0-2 record. He played on winning teams in 1991 and 1993, and the United States lost in 1989 and 2002. They moved to the broadcast booth in 2004 with ABC Sports, a deal that ends this week at the Tour Championship because ABC declined to sign a new TV contract with the PGA Tour for the next six years. Faldo has signed on with CBS Sports, and Azinger has gone back to golf, narrowly keeping his tour card for 2007. Now that the PGA of America has a captain, its next step is to decide whether to tweak the points system that decides who plays. It overhauled the system for the '06 matches, allowing four rookies who had strong seasons this year to make the team. "The bottom line is the players have to perform," Azinger said last week. "And you have to have players that are playing well enough to get it done. If you have a team that's running cold against a team that's running blazing hot, then you have to look at the system to determine how you can change the system to get the best players -- the hottest players -- on your team at that event."
The Founders Club shapes up for mid-January opening
There are three high-end country clubs on the horizon in the Sarasota-Manatee area, but the The Founders Club is the leader in the clubhouse for playability. Located 3.1 miles east of I-75 off of Fruitville Road, The Founders Club is scheduled for a mid-January opening. Currently, it has 50 equity members, who have paid $75,000 to join, a general manager and a head golf pro.
"While the other clubs have a vision, we have the real McCoy," said Ian Fetigan, the general manger.
Indeed, it does. The fairways are lush with 419 Bermuda grass. Some of the greens are not completed, and some 800 magnolia and live oak trees need to be planted, but otherwise, the course is shaping up very nicely.
Bob Irving, who played five years on the PGA Senior Tour, has been named the head golf pro, and he started working last week. This is his third start-up course in which he has been involved from the beginning. He plans to hire two assistants and start a caddie program.
Fetiganis proud of the fact that he is going to be the first kid on the block to show off his new digs, but at the same time, he wants the course to be ready. The grand opening for the 700-acre private club, with a preview by architect Robert Trent "Bob" Jones, is scheduled for Feb. 4-6.
"We want to make sure we are ready," he said. "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression."
The course will play about 7,042 yards from the back tees, and 6,500 yards from the members tees. It has 80 bunkers, over 35 lakes and seven bridges. Although the landing areas are substantial, a number of holes have wetlands staring you in the face off the tee. But the very first hole and the two double doglegs par 5's are what makes The Founders Club very special. All the par 5's have small greens. The dogleg left No. 1 hole is 416 yards from the back tees and the golfer is faced with a forced carry over a large wetland with a large oak tree standing between the tee and safe ground beyond.
The No. 7 hole is a slight double dogleg, measuring 607 from the back tees, guaranteeing three shots to get home. Playing left off the tee over the carry bunker guarding this side of the landing area will provide the angle for the second shot as well as take the wetland area off the tee out of play.
After surviving the well-bunkered par 3 No. 17, the golfer has a 550-yard par 5 to deal with coming home. Off the tee, the low-handicapper has a 290-yard poke to carry a large lake. Members will thank Jones that he gave them five sets of tee boxes. "This will be the hole that bets are won and lost," said Irving.
The Founders Club has 262 lots, and has a cap for 275 members. Fetiganemphasized it will be an exclusive members clubs with no plans for reciprocal play. The 17,000-square-foot (under air) clubhouse is scheduled to be completed by October 2005.
After a quick first tour, The Founders Club has some similarities to Waterlefe in Manatee County - especially the bridges and wetland areas off the tees. It looks like a thinking man's course.Club selection and strategy will be very important. That's what will make it interesting.
Founders Club is picture of harmony
Local Links Mike Henry
Posted on Thu, Dec. 30, 2004
Ian Fetigansurveyed the vast expanse of wetlands between tee and green on the 203-yard, par-3 11th hole of The Founders Club with a wry smile.
"(Course designer) Robert Trent Jones Jr.will tell you water doesn't come into play on this course," Fetigansaid. "Then again, he doesn't play golf like I do."
The 45-year-old Fetigan- who carries a 23 handicap - is general manager of The Founders Club, a new member-owned equity golf club in Sarasota featuring a 7,094-yard, par-72 gem of a course located on a 700-acre former cattle ranch. The community is 3.1 miles east of I-75 on the south side of Fruitville Road.
In a startling display of teamwork, the upscale private course was completed in nine months after ground was broken March 5 - despite missing several weeks due to hurricane activity. All that was missing Wednesday were flagsticks and the 262 homes to be built during the upcoming months.
"I love harmony," said Fetigan, a native of Bermuda who came to Sarasota from the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. and spent 20 years in the Northeast as a general manager of four golf clubs.
"It's like a conductor with a 100-piece orchestra working together. It's literally taking different trades and a lot of different people and getting them to work together. And that's music."
A grand opening for members is scheduled the weekend of Feb. 4-6, with Jones in attendance. With five tees on each hole and a yardage ranging down to 5,125, The Founders Club should prove playable for golfers of all ability levels.
"Robert Trent Jones Jr. is very cognizant of the membership and the general golf population," Fetigansaid.
The Founders Club community is being developed by Tom Brown and Jay Tallman of U.S. Assets Group and Fred Starling, who owns The Starling Group in Sarasota. Tim Zirkle is the on-site senior construction project manager.
Jim Owen serves as chairman of the membership advisory board. Bob Irving is the head professional, arriving from The Rim Golf Club in Payson, Ariz.
Fetigansaid everyone involved in the development of The Founders Club, from the executive level to the grounds crews, has a passion to deliver the finest product possible to the members.
"One of the impressions we want people to have when they drive in the front gate is that this community has been here 100 years. See that big live oak tree sitting out there in the middle (of the first fairway)? Jones calls them vertical hazards.
"We've made a point of taking 150-to-200-year-old oak trees and developing not only the golf course but the home sites around them," Fetigansaid. "Jones' perspective of this course is that literally every shot will require a golfer to stop, think and take in their surroundings."
Of the 262 home sites, 154 were pre-sold to area builders. The remaining estates home lots are available for purchase directly from The Founders Club. "Low-density property is one of our distinctions," said Fetigan, adding that the course features 300 acres of wetlands and 90 acres of lakes. Non-paying residents already include red-tailed hawks, sandhill cranes, raccoons, otters, turtles and alligators.
Full golf equity memberships are priced at $75,000, with first-year dues of $6,960. The Founders Club also plans to begin a caddie program for members who prefer to walk the course.
Ian D.N. Fetigan, CCM, CAM, is the general manager of The Founders Club, an exclusive golf course community featuring a core course designed by renowned golf course Architect Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Fetiganis working with The Founders Club Development Company, L.L.C., whose principals include Tom Brown and Jay Tallman of U.S. Assets Group and Fred Starling of the Starling Group, to create the new, up-scale private golf club community that will include 262 homes. He is partnering with the golf course designer, building architects and contractors to develop an exceptional property, unparalleled in the Sarasota area.
A native of Bermuda, Fetiganattended boarding school in England before earning his Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management from the University of Maryland. Subsequently, he attended The Business Management Institutes III at Michigan State; IV at Cornell University and VI in Dornoch, Scotland. After being certified by the Club Managers Association of America in 1995 he was admitted to CMAAs Honor Society in 2001. He has been active in the Club Managers Association of America, serving on numerous national committees and most recently being the President of the Connecticut Chapter.
Fetiganhas over 20 years of experience managing and developing upscale golf and country clubs in the northeast, including Pelham Country Club in Pelham Manor, New York; The Country Club of Darien in Darien, Connecticut; GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford, New York and The Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, New York. He has been joined here in Sarasota by his wife Giselle and three sons Jason, Daniel and Andrew.
The East County ObserverThe Founders Club prepares for January opening
By Rob Brannon
The Founders Club officials have long touted a desire for a golf course and club setting that highlights Florida's natural beauty.
On Monday, they showed they weren't kidding. Thinking it a perfect addition to the club's main entry off of Fruitville Road, The Founders Club builders decided to uproot an ancient oak tree from near the 18thhole and transport it the few hundred-yard distance. The tree, with a 90-foot canopy and weighing in at 82,000 pounds, put up a bit of a fight, though, proving a few pounds too heavy for its transport truck.
But the underlying theme of the display is that The Founders Club builders are sparing no expense on the exclusive 700-acre club, scheduled for a soft opening in January and grand opening during the first weekend in February. How exclusive is this club? There are only 275 memberships available at $75,000 a piece, no tee times will be required, and ten professional caddies are being imported from New York.
"We are addressing a void," said General Manager Ian Fetigan. "It's a different sort of product, a higher quality product. It stands alone. Is there competition? I don't think so."
PGA Golf Professional and Membership Advisory Board member Jim Owen said 70 memberships to the club already have been sold. Eventually 262 homes, starting at $800,000 a piece, will be built on the site. Each homeowner will have the option of purchasing a membership. To fill the membership slots at the moment The Founders Club is offering invitational memberships at $25,000. After three years, if the membership is not retained, the money is returned.
Owen said The Founders Club is an equity golf course, meaning members actually take ownership of the course. That's one of the differences between it and The Concession, an exclusive Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin course opening near Panther Ridge.
"(The members) control their own destiny. They run the club how they see fit," Owen said.
The course itself has created a national buzz, a pleasant surprise for club officials, who have, until now, marketed mostly to the local demographic. The course was recently highlighted in "The Met Golfer" magazine as one of the four "best up-and-coming golf communities" in the nation.
The course is designed by well-known designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr., who has designed 235 courses around the world. With several tee selections, it can play from distances of slightly more than 5,000 yards up to more than 7,000 yards. It's never too long, said Owen, which sets up better for the casual golfer. Fairways are forgiving while greens are difficult.
"It's aesthetic more than it is penal," Owen said of large waterways.
The most unique feature to the course is its rolling green fairways. Builders, left with extra soil after digging out lakes, created a course atypical for this part of Florida.
"I haven't seen too many courses in Florida that have (elevation changes)," said Senior Construction Manager Tim Zirkle.
Zirkle said builders have lost 45 workdays to hurricanes and faced up to 60 inches of rain. But, he said, the project remains on schedule. The course will open along with a model home. A temporary clubhouse is nearly complete, with the permanent structure due by Oct. 1, 2005.
Scotland’s famed The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle challenges The Founders Golf Club in Sarasota SARASOTA, FL--The Founders Golf Club hosted its first international Interclub Tournament on January 19, when golfers from The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle arrived for a match at the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course in Sarasota. During the game, Bob Irving, head golf professional at The Founders Golf Club, conquered the 18thhole with the first known double eagle on the course, which opened in February 2005. The Founders Golf Club fielded its "A" team to confront its Scottish challengers, says Ian Fetigan, general manager. The Sarasota golfers—Bob Baxter, Peter Bradley, Skip Britton, Jim Darby, Jim Derryberry, Howard Doss, Jim Humphrey, Bob Irving, Jim Moore, R.B. Phillips and Humberto Vainieri—bested their prestigious Scottish rivals with 11.5 points to Carnegie’s 3.5. “Naturally The Carnegie Club has requested a rematch, so we’ll see them in Scotland this summer,” Fetigansays.
Skibo Castle, the former home of philanthropist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, is located in Dornoch, Scotland. The Castle is now the home of The Carnegie Club, Scotland’s top private golf and sporting club, which boasts an exclusive international membership.
The kings of the greens - Golf architecture heavyweights bring trademarks to Manatee, Sarasota
Herald Staff Writer
A mere whisper of their names breeds inflation. In the world of golf course architecture, they are the three wise men: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio and Robert Trent Jones Jr.
All three have their names attached to marquee golf projects under development in the Manatee-Sarasota region - evidence of the under-served wealth peppered among the population and a testament to the can't-miss appeal of local real estate investment.
The Concession. The Founders Club. The Ritz-Carlton's Members Golf Club.
Collectively, they represent more than $1 billion in top-flight golf course and residential development, and they carry the promise of pouring more fuel on an already explosive real estate market.
Golf course architects like Fazio, Nicklaus and Jones typically deliver property and home values more than 300 percent above the average in their respective markets, according to Dallas-based Golf Research Group.
"Right now, those are the three biggest names in terms of impact," said Colin Hegarty, president of the research firm that tracks all golf course development around the world and gauges their monetary impact.
Real estate driven Both The Concession, in Manatee County just east of Lakewood Ranch, and The Founders Club, in Sarasota east of Interstate 75 off Fruitville Road, are real estate-driven developments. That's par for the course in Florida, the U.S. leader in golf-course real-estate development.
According to Golf Research Group's U.S. golf real estate report for 2004, 45.3 percent of Florida golf courses have accompanying residential real estate. At the end of 2003, the Sunshine State boasted 514 golf-course communities, more than double the amount of runner-up Texas with 218.
Florida's net present value of golf course real estate development is second only to the Pacific Coast and Arizona, according to Golf Research Group data. In the golfing world, cash is king, and the likes of Nicklaus, Fazio and Jones generate more of it than anyone.
Locally, that means high-priced real estate is both a safe investment and carries great value, said Michael Saunders, owner of Michael Saunders & Co., which sold more than $2.5 billion in high-end real estate last year.
The three projects are within a few miles of one another.
Despite Florida leading the nation in golf course development, the upper echelon of architects had bypassed the area during the recent golf boom of the 1990s. Now that they've found it, the public is likely to see dramatic increases to home values in those communities and perhaps a continuation of the clustering phenomenon that's often seen in upscale golf development, golf researcher Hegarty said.
Comparing golf to the jewelry and automotive sales industries, he said that high-end golf projects often perform better financially when grouped together.
"It's surprisingly common to see clusters like these," he said about upper-tier golf architects. "Naples has the same thing. As does Cabo San Lucas and Scottsdale, Ariz.
"For premium golf real estate, the best place is often right next to another premium golf real estate development. Clusters do seem to be how it works."
Fazio concurred, calling it a "testament to the growth of golf in that area."
Saunders said real estate surrounding the new courses is likely to appreciate at rates even higher than the blistering pace set by Manatee and Sarasota counties' real estate during the past five years.
The big threeThe Nicklaus-designed Concession is a $600 million project. The 1,232-acre, 255-lot development sports lot prices up to $815,000 an acre, and home site packages priced between $1.3 million and $9 million. The golf course is about 540 acres. It is a Nicklaus Signature design in conjunction with Bradenton resident and European golfing great Tony Jacklin.
Nicklaus won 20 major golf tournaments and is considered golf's greatest player. Jacklin won the 1970 U.S. Open and the 1969 British Open.
The Concession is scheduled to open later this year.
The Jones-designed Founders Club is a $300 million project on about 700 acres. Lot prices range from $485,000 to $656,000. The Founders Club golf course opened in February.
General Manager Ian Fetigansaid the Founders Club has a competitive advantage in terms of memberships and home sales over The Concession and the Ritz-Carlton project since it's the first to be open.
"There's no doubt about it," he said. "We have a completed golf course and homes are going up in the community. I think obviously we have an advantage based on being finished. We're going to be attracting the same dollars."
Jones wasn't shy about his competitive fire as well, saying Nicklaus might have to concede to him this time around.
"I'm a sportsman," he said. "Jack might have to concede this one to me because this course is going to be tough to beat."
Both The Concession and The Founders Club are designed as "core golf" developments, meaning the residential portion of the projects are separate from the golf courses.
David Gould, editor of Hilton Head, S.C.-based LINKS Magazine, said the core golf designs are the new trend in golf-based communities, though developers are likely sacrificing profits to accommodate the change.
"The core golf course design trend is a little tilted toward active players," Gould said. "If you built a community and wanted to get the utmost return on investment, you would want to have the fairway view."
The Fazio-designed Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club is a different animal entirely. With no residential real estate on the property, Ritz-Carlton officials praise the design as "uncompromised" golf and another high-class amenity for residents and visitors of the Sarasota hotel.
"Each project has its own set of goals and objectives," Fazio said. "One with real estate development clearly has a different goal than one without it. At the Ritz-Carlton Members Club, the objective is simple: the best possible golf course offering pure, uncompromised golf."
The Ritz-Carlton course is also slated for a late 2005 opening.
Larry Hirsh, a golf course ranking panelist for Golfweek Magazine, said he prefers the courses without adjacent real estate.
"To those of us who are purists as it relates to golf, we like to play in an undisturbed environment," he said.
Underserved marketKevin Daves said developers and top golf architects recognized the gap along Florida's Gulf Coast and decided to fill it. Daves is president of Core Development, of Sarasota and Wichita, Kan., which, along with New York-based Property Market Group, is developing The Concession. Daves is also a minority owner in the Ritz-Carlton project.
Combining existing residents with the coming onslaught of retiring wealthy baby boomers, giving them something to spend money on was an easy decision, Daves said.
"They can afford the best," he said of the boomers. "And there's an awful lot of people heading to Sarasota and Bradenton.
"It really is, to me, almost an easy one but you have to be committed to doing it top-notch. They're willing to pay for it but they want a dollar value for a dollar spent."
While some analysts suggest that the golf course environment can be an alternative for those unable to find waterfront real estate, Saunders said the market demand is there for the high-end golf from people who prefer greens and fairways to sand and surf.
"They're different buyers," she said. "They want to see deer scamper through their back garden. Just like those who choose the bay. It's a matter of taste. Frolicking deer versus rolling porpoises."
Today's deep-pocketed home buyers are label conscious and are looking for a brand name like Nicklaus, Fazio or Jones, she said, and they're likely to want more.
"I think we have been underserved in the golf market up until now," she said. "Even though we have these three courses coming on at just about the same time, I still think there's room for more. I still think there's more demand."
The name gameThe findings of the Golf Research Group indicate that developers and real estate investors benefit greatly from the works of recognized golf architects. For example, the top 40 architects average greens fees of $71.56 while lesser-known architect-designed courses garner $18.49. Membership sales are nearly double among the top 40, according to Golf Research Group data.
Between 1998 and 2003, Nicklaus opened 43 golf courses, Fazio opened 36 courses and Jones opened 14.
Fazio courses actually command higher initiation fees - on average more than $81,000 and a higher percentage of membership sales. Nicklaus designs carry initial fees around $76,000. Up-front membership fees at a Jones course averages about $59,000.
Between 1993 and 2003, Nicklaus, Fazio and Jones had their names attached to some of the most lucrative projects in golf. The average home price in a Nicklaus- or Fazio-designed development is about $1.2 million, though locally, no residential real estate will be available within the Fazio-designed Ritz-Carlton project.
Jones designs net average housing prices around $623,000.
"This tends to happen with high-end golf," Hegarty said. "There are places in the U.S. where you do see the three designers. There are certain markets in this country where you have areas of considerable wealth. There's a lot of money there. And that attracts big-name architects."
The Founders Club moves onsite to news sales gallery
Relocation is latest in series of moves made according to schedule
SARASOTA, FL—The Founders Club has moved its Sales Gallery and all administrative functions onsite, to its rapidly developing community just off Fruitville Road, three miles east of the Fruitville Road intersection with I-75 (exit 210). The relocation is the latest in a series of moves marking the progress of The Founders Club, a 700-acre, gated community with a private equity golf club and, ultimately, 262 luxury homes. In earlier moves, the 18-hole course, designed by noted golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., held its grand opening on February 4-5, and the golf staff has already taken up residence in the golf shop. The 24,000-square-foot clubhouse, Golf Hall, is on schedule for completion by October 2005. The main entrance to The Founders Club is located at 9000 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34240. However, the mailing addresses have changed as follows: The Founders GolfClub, 3800 Golf Hall Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240; The Founders Club Sales Gallery, 3001 Founders Club Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240.
The new, 4,500-square-foot Sales Gallery is just outside the gate at the Club's main entrance. Its traditional interior, designed by Lori Fountain of F T Designs, is in keeping with the concept of The Founders Club, which honors Sarasota founder J. Hamilton Gillespie. The new facility features a grand viewing gallery with a large topographical table depicting The Founders Club, as well as two conference rooms and smaller seating areas.
General manager Ian D. N. Fetigan, CCM, reports that staff are visitors are pleased with the new surroundings. "Our onsite Sales Gallery is perfect for our needs," he says. "It allows us to exhibit the quality and integrity of our vision. More than that, it lets us easily show our prospects the land, the golf course and the homesites. Our visitors walk away from this experience feeling very positive about The Founders Club."
Potential home buyers are not the only ones with access to the elegant Sales Gallery. "We welcome Realtors and our builder sales representativesto share our facilities when they meet with clients at The Founders Club," Fetigansays. "We also invite real estate agencies to hold their office meetings in our beautiful facility. Developers of The Founders Club are U. S. Assets Group, headed by partners Tom Brown and Jay Tallman, and The Starling Group, headed by Fred Starling. U.S. Assets Group has an extensive record of developing luxury homes and communities. In the Sarasota area, these include Beau Ciel, en Provenceand the Orchid Beach Club. The Starling Group is highly regarded for its high-end commercial developments.
Only six builders are approved to build homes within The Founders Club, Fetigansays. They are John Cannon Homes, Lee Wetherington Companies, Marc Rutenberg Homes, Pruett Builders, Taylor Woodrow Homes and Todd Johnston Homes.
Lendl joins Founders
Ian Fetiganfirst met tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl when he was associated with the County Club of Darien, Conn., and Lendl was a member at nearby Stanwich Club.
When Lendl enrolled his daughters at Leadbetter's at IMG Academies, Fetigan invited him to play a round at The Founders Club, where Fetigan is the general manager.
It turned out to be a perfect situation for the winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles and his family. Lendl joined the club as an invitational member on March 25 so he and his three daughters can play on a regular basis.
Last year, Lendl's oldest daughter, Marika, now 15, won her first major junior tournament title at the Scott Robertson Memorial Girls Championship in Roanoke, Va., becoming the youngest golfer ever to win. She has also been awarded honorable mention on the American Junior Golf Association Rolex All-American roster.
Lendl turned to golf after a tennis career where he was No. 1 in the world for four years.
"He's a scratch golfer," said Fetigan. "And he's serious about every shot. Also, his daughters are good golfers, and that's why he wants them at The Founders Club. The course challenges their game."
During the school year, Lendl spends a lot of time in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. One of the other reasons he joined The Founders Club is because golfers are permitted to walk with a caddie. In his prime, Lendl was one of the fittest tennis players on the pro tour.
"I was looking for somewhere to play when I'm in town," Lendl said in a prepared statement. "I really like the club. They've got a great golf course, and it's challenging. I enjoy walking very much so I enjoy the caddies, too."
The cost for Lendl or anyone to join as an invitational member is $27,500, plus the normal monthly dues. The membership is good for three years at which time the member can opt to upgrade to a full member or have his fee refunded.
More than likely, Lendl will be a member at The Founders Club as long as his daughters remain at Leadbetter's Academy.
"When he is in town, he is here a lot," said Fetigan. "He'll play with his daughters or other members. He's a really good golfer and that's what we want to attract."
When he isn't playing, Lendl uses the practice facility. He was the Vijay Singh of the pro tennis circuit, one of the hardest workers on the ATP Tour.
"If I don't practice the way I should, then I won't play the way that I know I can," he said.
Currently, The Founders Club has close to 100 members and averages about 12 rounds of golf a day.
Founders Club sets high mark
Course employs caddies for those who request them
Herald Staff Writer
SARASOTA - Like the ivory-billed woodpecker, sacrifice bunts and movies the family can enjoy, caddies at private golf and country clubs are a vanishing breed.
But executives and staff of The Founders Golf Club - the Robert Trent Jones Jr.designed course east of Interstate 75 off Fruitville Road - believe polite, well-trained bag-toters represent a tradition worth upholding.
Since opening in February, The Founders Golf Club has employed caddies for members who request them to encourage walking and provide top-of-the-line service from the time golfers arrive at the course.
With the approach of Florida's peak golf season, club management is in the market for healthy, broad-shouldered loopers whose smiles don't sag in direct proportion to the weight they are asked to carry for 18 holes.
"We have a unique opportunity here to be something special, and you guys are an integral part of that," said general manager Ian Fetigan, addressing eight caddies before last week's three-day training program conducted by second assistant professional Sam Broome.
"You have an incredible opportunity to impress important people with your knowledge and skills and ability to accommodate."
Mike Tyree, 37, plans to make the most of his chance to shine in front of area movers and shakers. The former Foxfire Golf Club assistant has been making ends meet by waiting tables at Javier's Restaurant.
"Look at my office now - how could you not want to do this?" Tyree said, spreading his arms wide underneath a blue sky. "I love being outside and, honestly, I'm a people person. When you come to work and have a chance to meet up to 275 people in a year, that networks a little for you."
Brian Croke, 22, says working outside and playing the course one day a week are a couple of the job's main attractions.
"It's a nice environment, and caddieing is something I can do every day," Croke said.
Broome received scores of inquiries about the job, which entails myriad responsibilities: describing holes, locating errant shots, giving distances, cleaning clubs, filling divots and raking bunkers. Plus, suppressing laughter when a member misses a two-foot putt.
Fetigansaid The Founders Golf Club pays caddies between $11-$14 an hour, with a strict no-tipping policy for members. He envisions developing an "A" roster of full-time caddies devoted to professional, pleasant service.
Tyree said he and his fellow caddies have no problem with the tipping policy.
"It would be nice to come out here and double-loop (carry two bags) and make $300," he said. "But when you like what you're doing, that's what gets you going."
Before training began, Broome reinforced the importance of making a good first impression.
"Most times, you are the first contact they have at the club except for the security gate, and you are the last contact putting their clubs in the car," he said.
Bank executive Howard Doss, a member at The Founders Golf Club, says the program is working exactly as Fetiganand Broome hoped for.
"For it being so new, I think they are doing an outstanding job. Sam has done a great job teaching them the etiquette of the game, where they need to be, when to pull the pin," Doss said. "I probably use a caddie 90 percent of the time."
01/03/2005 IAN D.N. FETIGAN, CCMGeneral Manager, Sales & Marketing, The Founders Club General Manager, The Founders Golf Club Ian Fetiganserves in dual capacities, as the General Manager of Sales and Marketing for The Founders Club Development Company, a joint venture between U.S. Assets Group and The Starling Group and as General Manager for The Founders Club, an exclusive golf course community featuring 262 exclusive homesites that surround a pristine Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course. A native of Bermuda, Ian draws on more than 20 years of experience managing and developing some of the finest golf and country clubs in the northeast. In less than a year, from the golf course groundbreaking in March 2004 to its grand opening in February 2005, Ian and his staff positioned The Founders Club as the preeminent golf course community on Florida's west coast. Evidence of his leadership is The Met Golfer's recent national recognition of The Founders Club in its cover story, Golfer's Paradise: Four of the best up-and-coming golf communities (December 2004/January 2005). Under Ian's direction, retail sales at The Founders Club exceeded $30 million in 2004, surpassing all expectations. In addition, he was instrumental in ensuring the on-time opening of The Founders Golf Club in February 2005. Ian attended boarding school in England and later earned a B.S. in hospitality management from the University of Maryland. Subsequently, he attended The Business Management Institutes III at Michigan State, IV at Cornell University and VI in Dornoch, Scotland. He was certified by the Club Managers Association of America in 1995 and admitted to the CMAA Honor Society in 2001. He has worked on numerous national CMAA committees and recently served as president of the Connecticut Chapter. Whether you are sitting at a sporting event or in your office wondering how "the team" is doing, you will only need to look at the scoreboard to determine the score. For a club, the financial statements are its scoreboard, issued on a monthly basis.
Keeping score from club to club.
Publication: Club Management
Publication Date: 01-APR-03
Author: Schmidgall, Raymond
COPYRIGHT 2003 Finan Publishing Company, Inc.
What operating results are reported and how they are reported is the subject of the sixth edition of the Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Clubs. Yet there is more--much more. This hot-off-the-press book not only contains financial statement guidelines for major statements and accompanying departmental schedules, but it also includes seven appendices.
These additions include comparative forms of operating statements, ratio analysis and statistics, projections and budgeting, a recommended account numbering system, illustrated statements and schedules based on a country club with an 18-hole golf course, a discussion of the general taxation issues impacting clubs, and an expense dictionary.
Although this new publication is referred to as the sixth edition, the published text is now over 200 pages, which is significant compared to the 87 pages of the prior edition. The reasons for the major expansion include the following:
* Addition of several recommended schedules;
* Explanation of virtually all line items on the recommended schedules;
* The inclusion of an expense dictionary;
* The addition of illustrated statements and schedules;
* A new section covering taxation issues;
* A widely expanded accounting numbering system providing detailed accounts in both numerical and alphabetical order.
This new edition is a must-have reference book for both the financial executives and general managers of every private social club. Though the focus is for member-based and not-for-profit clubs, club managers and departmental heads of other clubs will benefit as well.
A uniform system of accounts establishes standardized formats and account classifications to guide club financial executives in preparing and presenting financial information. The recommendations set forth in the sixth edition are based on a consensus of club industry financial executives, public accounting authorities, and club general managers, and are consistent with generally accepted accounting principles.
The resulting standardization suggested by this revised edition permits both internal and external users of financial statements to compare the operational performance of a particular club to similar clubs in the industry. For new clubs just opening, the uniform system serves as a turnkey accounting system that can be adopted to the needs and requirements of the club.
Several of the major changes will be highlighted in this article including a statement of activities in the departmental form for country clubs, the entertainment schedule, the expanded uniform account numbering system, and the expense dictionary. There simply is insufficient space in this article to describe all changes and additions, but the book is now available from CMAA.
As in prior revisions, terminology has been modified in the sixth edition to reflect changes in the club industry. The terminology changes include both department titles, cost centers, and line items on supporting schedules. For example, the prior edition had a departmental schedule titled "Swimming Pool" which has been changed to "Aquatic Sports." The "Repairs and Maintenance" schedule from the prior edition is renamed "Facility Maintenance." Some examples of line item changes include "insecticides" (prior edition) to "applicants," and "data processing" to "computer expenses."
Statement of Activities
The format of the Statement of Activities for Country Clubs begins with membership revenue, and then the major sections including the cost of sports activities, clubhouse operating income (loss), undistributed operating expenses, fixed changes, income taxes, and other activities. Initiation fees are shown at the top of this statement if used for operating purposes, or under "other activities" near the bottom of the statement if they are used for capital purposes.
The second section of this statement addresses the cost of sports activities. Generally these departments reflect a net loss, which is covered by membership dues. The major sports activity at most country clubs is golf. Three separate lines and accompanying schedules E-F are recommended. The third line, golf shop, is used when the club owns the shop. Other lines and accompanying schedules are used as dictated by sporting activities of each club. Additional lines and accompanying schedules should be added as needed. For example, if a club has bowling activities with its own personnel and associated costs, then the Statement of Activities should have a "Bowling" line and an accompanying schedule detailing revenues and expenses.
The clubhouse operating income section reveals the results of activities in the clubhouse, which usually generate revenues and incur expenses. Virtually all country clubs have food and beverage departments. Many country clubs do not have rooms for members and guests, but for those that do, the "overnight rooms" line and an accompanying schedule are used. The flexibility of this format is further shown with the line "other operating departments" (just below telecommunications), which is used for other clubhouse operating departments not included in the basic format.
The undistributed operating expenses include lines for four operating overhead areas including administrative and general, clubhouse, facility maintenance, and energy costs. As with line items in the two prior sections, accompanying schedules are provided to detail the payroll and other significant expenses of each area.
Fixed charges include the costs of the club only indirectly related to its operations. These expenses are primarily fixed in that they do not fluctuate with the volume of the club's activities. Income taxes, if any, are shown after total fixed charges and prior to the reflected "results of operations" on the Statement of Activities.
The final section of the Statement of Activities is "other activities." These activities are the non-operating activities and could include initiation fees as discussed above, special assessments, and investment income. Other significant "other activities" should be reported separately while insignificant ones should be combined and reported as "other." The format for the Statement of Activities of a city club is also shown in the sixth edition and differs from that of a country club to reflect a typical city club's activities.
Several schedules have been added with the latest revision of the Uniform System. In addition to entertainment, new schedules are suggested for the golf shop, racquet shop, locker rooms, telecommunications, and facility maintenance.
As with prior editions, schedules are supplemental to the statement of activities. Though a format for each schedule is provided, the various line items on each schedule will vary according to the needs and requirements of individual clubs and modifications will most likely be required. The entertainment schedule is shown in Exhibit 1. In addition, a partial list of definitions of the line items of the entertainment schedule is provided in Exhibit 3. The entertainment schedule and the partial list of definitions are meant only to illustrate the detail contained in the 6th edition for the various schedules.
Uniform Account Numbering System
In the prior edition, a half page of text was devoted to the uniform account numbering system. The revision committee believed more guidance was desirable in this area and has provided an extensive numbering of asset, liability, equity, revenue, and expense accounts in both numerical and alphabetical orders. Exhibit 2 contains a glimpse of the accounts for facility maintenance and energy. As can be seen, many accounts are provided, yet the financial executive in the individual club must decide the exact listing of accounts that is appropriate for his/her club.
A major addition to the sixth edition is the expense dictionary. This section of the book is designed to assist members of the club industry to classify--in accordance with the Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Clubs--the numerous expense items encountered in their daily activities. It will also serve as a ready reference for board members, managers, and purchasing agents, indicating to them which account or expense group each expense item will be charged to.
Exhibit 3 contains a partial list of expenses from the expense dictionary. Note that the dictionary is divided into two columns. The left column lists expense items alphabetically, while the right column identifies the accounts to which the expense would be charged. Expense accounts are listed in a number of ways as follows:
1. If a department, operational function, or cost center is followed by a dash, the entry following the dash is the account or line item charged within that department, operational function, or cost center. For example, the entry for Contributions is A&G-Donations. (A&G is the abbreviation for administrative and general as noted in the expense dictionary.)
2. If more than one department or cost center can charge a particular expense item to accounts or line items with the same name, the departments or cost centers are separated by diagonal slashes. For example, the entry for Copyright Licenses is Food/Beverage-Licenses & Permits.
3. If the same item is charged by different departments or cost centers to different accounts or line items, departments and accounts are listed consecutively and separated by semicolons. For example, the entry for Contract Exterminating is Food/Beverage-Contract Services; FM&E-Pest Control. (FM&E is the abbreviation for facility management and energy.)
The expense dictionary lists approximately 400 items. It is extensive but certainly not exhaustive. The guidance should be most helpful to club financial personnel and others in classifying expenses.
Updating an old Standard
The just-published sixth edition of the Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Clubs is a collaboration of a group of club professionals interested in making the newest version a tool to be used--not just thumbed through. The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP) assembled a talented committee, well-versed in club finance, to produce a reference text suited to the accounting needs of today's clubs. The committee was directed by three sub-committee chairs who led separate contingents of general managers and chief operating officers; club auditors, tax, and consulting professionals; and club financial managers and controllers.
At the center of the research and production, was Raymond Schmidgall, Ph.D., CPA, CHAE, who served as the book's coordinator. The committee chairs are truly indebted to Ray for his contributions and guidance throughout the process.
The following are excerpts from the committee chairs, comments:
Ian D.N. Fetigan, CCM, chair of the general managers:
"When asked, `At how many clubs does the treasurer actually do the work in developing both the operating and the capital budgets?, exactly zero seminar attendees at this year's CMAA Conference in Miami Beach raised their hands.
"The point of the question was to illustrate the reality of the budget process in private clubs versus what is described in prior editions of the Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Clubs. This latest edition quite clearly states that it is the responsibility of the GM/COO to facilitate the development of the club's operational and capital budgets. This is to be done with each department head and the process is co-authored with the club's controller. For the most part, this is the current reality in clubs. The new edition now supports this and can be used to help redirect the situation that you may be dealing with.
"From a private club's GM/COO's perspective, this book is invaluable. It is critical that your knowledge of club accounting should at the very least mirror your controller's, and using this book will assist you in that. Your grasp of the club's financial statement has to be greater than your treasurer, and during board meetings you should be the leader in discussing the club's financials. This book discusses several pertinent ratios, all of which should be included in your monthly financial report. And of equal importance is the comparative information that you should be reviewing with other private clubs that are and will be adhering to the Uniform System."
Leonard J. Bartello, CPA, CHAE, CHTP, chair of the CPA/consultants:
"The sub-committee of CPAs and consultants comprised representatives from well-known firms such as PKF; Condon O'Meara McGinty & Donnelly LLP; and McGladrey & Pullen. They added valuable information on financing alternatives as well as validating the reporting standards for both the external and internal statements exhibited in this book. The team wanted to add something different to the book that would demonstrate a message of consistency. As a result, the team included a chapter devoted to an illustrated trial balance which keys back to the appropriate internal department schedule. Identifying the reference book's audience as `users,' and not `readers,' was at the forefront of every discussion held and every ensuing word written.
"Our sixth edition has expanded to include tools that seem right for the times. The age of instant information has put greater pressure on the club accountant to get the monthly financial statements right. The management and board have become less tolerant of the old practice of waiting for the year-end audit to make adjustments and put accounts in proper order."
Wendy K. Zurstadt, CPA, CHAE, CHTP, chair of club CFOs/controllers:
"As club financial managers, a primary responsibility is not only to ensure timely and accurate reporting, but just as important, the reports need to be meaningful. Every club is different, and while the bottom line needs to be derived using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), how you get to that number can be very different among clubs.
"The sub-committee's goal was to provide guidance for reporting procedures, and maybe even more importantly, have a reference tool for club directors and managers. The expense dictionary, which had been included in older versions of the Uniform System of Accounts for Clubs, was updated and reinstated. In addition to revamping the dictionary, we tackled the idea of a uniform numbering system for the general ledger accounts.
"Some very big changes in this book involve the treatment of service charge revenues and unused minimums. Both of these are often found in the Income section of the Statement of Activities (known as P&L or profit and loss statement). The question is what is the intent of this income and how does that affect where it is reported?
"Another area identified as significant for special reporting is facility maintenance and energy costs. In many clubs this is allocated among departments. The committee recommends that a separate schedule be reported (can be a supplementary snapshot) that identifies all maintenance and energy costs separately."
|AUSTIN, TEXAS; June 10, 2002— Wherever they may be located, club accounting professionals will have an opportunity to listen in on and give input at the final meeting for the to-be-published sixth edition of the Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Clubs. Interested parties will be able to attend the meeting in person or listen to a live audio stream of the meeting through the Internet at HFTP's web site. The meeting will cover the updates and improvements to the latest edition and during the meeting, attendees will respond to comments and questions sent in by listeners via e-mail before and during the meeting. These can be sent to Questions@hftp.org. The meeting will precede HITEC® 2002 at McCormick Place in Chicago on Monday, June 24 from 3–5 p.m. |
The Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Clubs is a club accounting resource for club managers, officers and club controllers that provides a total financial reporting system. The revision for the sixth edition, to be published in October 2002, is a joint collaboration between Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) and the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA®). The revision committee is comprised of members from both associations, including Ian D.N. Fetigan, CCM who is the sub-committee chair representing CMAA; Wendy Zurstadt, CPA, CHAE, CHTP, who is the sub-committee chair representing HFTP; Len Bartello, CHAE, CHTP, CPA, who is the sub-committee chair representing CPA and consulting firms; and Ray Schmidgall, Ph.D., CPA, CHAE, as the project coordinator. The first edition was published in 1954 and it was last revised in 1996.
This is the first time in the hospitality industry that club professionals will be given the opportunity to comment on a book of this kind before it gets published.
“This is a chance for club accounting financial professionals to really have an impact on something that will affect their day-to-day procedures,” said Zurstadt. “By default the controllers and managers who already use this book are the experts because they know what information is essential to their operations. We want their opinions before this goes to print.
“By holding this presentation at HITEC, we are also giving the club technology vendors direction for further enhancements and developments to their products,” continued Zurstadt. “They will need to understand the changes and to implement these into their software.”
The Club Manager Association of America is the professional association for managers of the leading private clubs in the United States and abroad. Founded in 1927, CMAA provides its more than 5,000 members with continuing education, executive career services, a national trade magazine, Club Management, and a public web site on the Internet ¾ ClubNet ¾ with a private, members-only section. Through extensive research and continuous monitoring of industry trends, CMAA’s Research and Publications Department develops and provides the best and most comprehensive club management resources in the industry.
Based in Austin, Texas, HFTP is the professional association for financial and technology personnel working in hotels, resorts, clubs, casinos, restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses. The association provides continuing education and networking opportunities to more than 4,300 members around the world. HFTP also administers the examination and awards the certification for the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designations. HFTP was founded in 1952 as the National Association of Hotel Accountants
An Internship With a Twist: It's at the Country Club
WHILE working as manager of the American Embassy in his native Senegal, West Africa during the mid-1990's Cheickhou Tidiane Diagne said he got to meet prominent Americans like President Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, the jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and retired Gen. Colin Powell.
All of them encouraged Mr. Diagne to consider the opportunities that awaited him in the United States. That's when Mr. Diagne started thinking about coming to the United States to pursue a career in the hotel, restaurant and club management industry.
Now, as he is close to earning an associate's degree in the Hospitality Management Program at Norwalk Community-Technical College, Mr. Diagne is preparing to spend the next few months learning more about his chosen field as a summer intern at the Shore and Country Club in Norwalk, one of several private clubs in Fairfield County.
The club's several hundred members enjoy dining, tennis, swimming and boating on 8 1/2 acres that are surrounded on three sides by the waters of Norwalk harbor and Long Island Sound.
''I never heard even heard of Connecticut and didn't really know what a country club was before I worked at the American Embassy,'' Mr. Diagne said. ''But then I started talking to people who kept telling me there were great career opportunities in the United States in the hospitality field.''
About two years ago, Mr. Diagne said he followed his dream to the United States and ended up in Connecticut because his wife was already working in the state and, as luck would have it, Norwalk Community-Technical College had, and still has, a hospitality program that helps place students in internships.
Along with hundreds of other students who take part in college hospitality programs across the country, Mr. Diagne said he looked forward to working this summer as a country club intern ''to learn every facet of the business.''
While summer interns work long hours, many say they enjoy the experience and don't mind the work as long as they are involved in activities that will help them in their careers.
Some time later this year, or in early 2001, Mr. Diagne plans to further his career by pursuing a bachelor's degree in the hospitality field at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. But he said the next few months working as a summer intern at the Shore and Country Club are just as crucial to his long-term goals.
James Hutchinson, the Shore and Country Club general manager, said Mr. Diagne and other interns -- who come from Ireland, Nigeria, Wales and West Africa -- get to earn college credit, receive an hourly wage and work in assistant manager roles.
Mr. Hutchinson said the five interns who will work at the club this summer would do everything from planning parties, dinners and weddings to making sure club guests have the right tennis rackets and equipment for their boats. Some interns, with a particular focus on being chefs, work in the kitchen preparing meals, he said.
''We get young people with tremendous energy, creativity and enthusiasm, and they get to spend the summer gaining invaluable experience in this business they couldn't get anywhere else,'' Mr. Hutchinson said. ''We even let our interns sit in our board meetings to see how country clubs operate behind the scenes.''
Sometimes working as a summer intern can lead directly to a job. Mr. Hutchinson said knows of at least 16 former summer interns at his club now working full-time in the hospitality industry.
Working as an intern at the Country Club of Darien the past two summers helped Cyrenna Shuler, 22, land a permanent job there after graduating with a bachelor of science degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism administration from the University of South Carolina.
''I think it's really important to spend a summer or two working as an intern and I learned more about the hospitality business doing that than in class or from books,'' said Ms. Shuler, now employed full-time in the accounting department to learn ''a completely different part of the business.''
''Most college students think they know what a real job in their field is going to be like,'' she said. ''But until you get in there and do it there's no way to fully grasp what it's really going to be like. You need to find out if this is really what you want to spend your life doing.''
Ms. Shuler said working as an intern last summer at the club convinced her even more that she was in the right field.
''I love everything about it, the people, the entertainment and all the different situations you have to handle,'' said Ms. Shuler, of Orangeburg, S.C.. ''The first summer I managed the snack bar and learned how to manage banquets, and then last summer I planned weddings and parties. It's one thing to talk about how you would deal with certain situations that could come up, but it's another thing when you have to serve 300 guests at a wedding.''
Ian Fetigan,the general manager of the Darien country club, said that for years summer interns have helped provided much-needed help in the clubhouse and dining rooms, on the tennis courts and golf course, and at the swimming pools. He said that with more than 600 members, summer interns have provided ''an absolutely essential service to our regular staff and members.''
Scott Smith, 22, who graduated from the University of South Carolina last year and worked as an intern at the club last summer, said the experience helped him land a job there as an operations manager, which means he will help schedule, plan and manage a wide range of club events.
''Working as an intern is great way to spend the summer, especially if this is the career you want to pursue,'' Mr. Smith said. ''And there's no better way to make contacts in the business than by working at a club during the summer.''
Tom Connolly, coordinator of the Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts program at Norwalk Community Technical College, said students in the program are from Hungary, Lithuania, South America, Africa and eastern Europe.
''They come to Connecticut for our program and because there are so many clubs, hotels and restaurants throughout the Northeast region,'' said Mr. Connolly. Mr. Connolly said most club interns come from outside Connecticut because students in the hospitality industry like to travel and work in different parts of the country.
But Darren DeMaille of Stratford, who spent the past three summers working as a summer intern in the golf club at the Country Club of Fairfield, said the experience helped him land a job there as a golf pro just a few miles from where he grew up.
''I love teaching people how to play golf, it's the best job in the world, but I never could have gotten hired without having first worked as an intern working in the caddy program and helping plan golf tournaments,'' said Mr. DeMaille, 23, who will work half the year in Fairfield, and during the winter months at a country club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
''It was fun working here as an intern, and for me it really did help me get my dream job.''