In writing recently about The Cliffs Communities and some of its financial issues, I referred to a few residents and club members who had told me they rarely traveled to the Cliffs golf courses beyond their own
“It is [also] a pleasure to take guests to the many communities they could not play otherwise,” he wrote. “Where else can one be a member of six world-class golf facilities and two TBD?”
Of the two pending golf courses my correspondent referred to, one – the Gary Player course at Mountain Park -- is a couple of years beyond its due date, and the other –- the Tiger Woods layout at High Carolina –- is on life support, to put it mildly. Some golf club members who hold the lien on The Cliffs’ amenities after lending developer Jim Anthony $64 million are strongly in favor of letting sleeping white elephants lie.
My conversation over a couple of days with this gentleman, who asked to remain anonymous, opened my eyes to a political challenge that may face The Cliffs and its residents. My pen pal told me he is 70 years old, and when he bought into Cliffs Valley, he paid just $80,000 for his lot. Within a few years, a nearby lot “sold for eight to 10 times that. [The big increase in prices] may have started [The Cliffs’] misdirection.”
With golf initiation fees that once were double what they are now, some Cliffs residents paid $75,000 more than others did. Some members, like our new friend, use all six golf courses while others who don’t might eventually argue for paying lower dues for fewer options.
It isn’t exactly class warfare, but when you have a group of people who invested ‘X’ and another group that invested ‘10X,’ and both groups must agree on the direction of the enterprise, communication will be a challenge. The Cliffs residents would do well to start looking in their midst for a leader with the skills to moderate discussions and build consensus.