News

Bay Club bids for Castlewood as members consider options

Country club working on plan to address clubhouse's costly ADA concerns

Castlewood Country Club members will be making a major decision on the future of the club in the next few weeks.

Members will consider options at the Pleasanton club's annual meeting on Jan. 19 when the Board of Directors and senior staff will lay out various scenarios and their costs for tackling the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) shortcomings of the clubhouse.

The club has held three town hall meetings (Nov. 29, Jan. 5 and Jan. 10) to explain the options, answer members' questions and receive comments -- including about a bid from the Bay Club.

The Castlewood board has been exploring improvements for the clubhouse, which was built back in the 1970s after the original clubhouse burned to the ground in 1972. The challenge has been ADA regulations -- first signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush in 1990 -- because the clubhouse doesn't come close to meeting the standards.

The board has used an outside consultant to identify the issues and then contractors to develop cost estimates. Options on the table now for members include:

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* Doing only ADA-required updates to the clubhouse would cost members an additional $100 per month for 15 years.

* Doing those updates plus other improvements to the clubhouse and swimming pool would cost $200 per month for 15 years.

* Razing the clubhouse and building a new one would be a $600-per-month increase.

* Merging the club into the Bay Club.

The Bay Club made headlines locally late last year when it purchased the ClubSport portfolio of clubs, including the original club in Pleasanton as well as the Fremont, Danville and Walnut Creek sites.

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The proposal from the Bay Club calls for Castlewood equity members to receive the $30,000 sapphire membership, which has monthly dues of $900 for an individual and $1,050 for a family. There's no food and beverage requirement (a change from the current club). With that level of membership, Castlewood members could use any of the Bay Club locations, including the nearby Pleasanton site on Johnson Drive.

Currently, Castlewood members pay about $810 monthly plus facilities capital fees of another $100 along with a $400-per-quarter food and beverage minimum.

Bay Club would invest $15 million to upgrade the clubhouse and other facilities and reportedly plans to maintain both 18-hole golf courses. The Bay Club has been acquiring new properties since it was purchased by international investment firm, KKR. The club was founded in 1997 and grew to more than 50,000 members before the ClubSport deal that added thousands more members.

The new proposal from the Bay Club is the major change since the Weekly reported last May that Castlewood was considering a joint venture with Ponderosa Homes to develop homes on the Valley Course. That option faced some significant hurdles, including the property needing to be annexed to the city of Pleasanton for sewer, the railroad tracks that run right through it and three holes are bordered by the Arroyo de la Laguna.

In addition, the Valley Course, because it is relatively flat and walkable, gets about 60% of the members' play -- compared to Castlewood's aptly named Hill Course.

Castlewood, as well as many other country clubs across the U.S., have been hit by a couple of trends.

Topping the list is an aging and declining membership. For a country club with two golf courses, 800 families is a good target. Castlewood's golf membership now hovers above 600 and has been steadily shrinking.

Two years ago, the Castlewood club president at the time told members of the homeowners association (a separate nonprofit organization) that membership in the club had dropped to about 50% of the homeowners, when historically it was three-quarters or more. For residents with homes along the golf course, their views and expanded backyards were maintained by the club.

Should the club cease to exist, that green space could go away and take a substantial chunk of their homes' value with it. It's happened in a modest community like Springtown in Livermore where the city-owned nine-hole course was closed and has been designated as open space. The city is still working to fund improvements to the area after removing the large pond.

It's a national issue that the Wall Street Journal spotlighted in its "Mansion" section on Jan. 11. The Journal reported that one consultant said home prices can plummet as much as 50% if there's a legal battle around the course closing.

Courses are shutting down because memberships are shrinking and, in some cases such as in San Diego, because the costs of irrigation water are soaring. The National Golf Foundation reported that more than 200 courses closed in 2017, with just 15 opening. Some of this resulted from the over-supply of golf course communities built in the 1990s. For instance, in Brentwood/Antioch, there were three golf communities within five miles -- now just one club exists, and two golf courses have closed.

The second issue is what potential members want in a club also has shifted from a golf course, clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis to a place for the entire family.

Ruby Hill Country Club in Pleasanton, which was not an equity club, was sold by founder Jim Ghielmetti to Arcis Golf in 2015. Arcis is a rapidly growing company founded in 2015 that runs everything from municipal courses to daily fee and country clubs. The firm rebranded the Pleasanton venue as The Club at Ruby Hill and remodeled the clubhouse to improve member dining options.

Last year, the Blackhawk Country Club, which boasts two 18-hole courses with one large clubhouse/banquet facility on the Lakeside Course, opened a 9,400-square-foot fitness center in its sports complex with tennis courts, pickle ball courts, bocce ball lanes and a bar and grill. That speaks to the interest in family-oriented country club offerings.

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Bay Club bids for Castlewood as members consider options

Country club working on plan to address clubhouse's costly ADA concerns

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 12:51 pm

Castlewood Country Club members will be making a major decision on the future of the club in the next few weeks.

Members will consider options at the Pleasanton club's annual meeting on Jan. 19 when the Board of Directors and senior staff will lay out various scenarios and their costs for tackling the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) shortcomings of the clubhouse.

The club has held three town hall meetings (Nov. 29, Jan. 5 and Jan. 10) to explain the options, answer members' questions and receive comments -- including about a bid from the Bay Club.

The Castlewood board has been exploring improvements for the clubhouse, which was built back in the 1970s after the original clubhouse burned to the ground in 1972. The challenge has been ADA regulations -- first signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush in 1990 -- because the clubhouse doesn't come close to meeting the standards.

The board has used an outside consultant to identify the issues and then contractors to develop cost estimates. Options on the table now for members include:

* Doing only ADA-required updates to the clubhouse would cost members an additional $100 per month for 15 years.

* Doing those updates plus other improvements to the clubhouse and swimming pool would cost $200 per month for 15 years.

* Razing the clubhouse and building a new one would be a $600-per-month increase.

* Merging the club into the Bay Club.

The Bay Club made headlines locally late last year when it purchased the ClubSport portfolio of clubs, including the original club in Pleasanton as well as the Fremont, Danville and Walnut Creek sites.

The proposal from the Bay Club calls for Castlewood equity members to receive the $30,000 sapphire membership, which has monthly dues of $900 for an individual and $1,050 for a family. There's no food and beverage requirement (a change from the current club). With that level of membership, Castlewood members could use any of the Bay Club locations, including the nearby Pleasanton site on Johnson Drive.

Currently, Castlewood members pay about $810 monthly plus facilities capital fees of another $100 along with a $400-per-quarter food and beverage minimum.

Bay Club would invest $15 million to upgrade the clubhouse and other facilities and reportedly plans to maintain both 18-hole golf courses. The Bay Club has been acquiring new properties since it was purchased by international investment firm, KKR. The club was founded in 1997 and grew to more than 50,000 members before the ClubSport deal that added thousands more members.

The new proposal from the Bay Club is the major change since the Weekly reported last May that Castlewood was considering a joint venture with Ponderosa Homes to develop homes on the Valley Course. That option faced some significant hurdles, including the property needing to be annexed to the city of Pleasanton for sewer, the railroad tracks that run right through it and three holes are bordered by the Arroyo de la Laguna.

In addition, the Valley Course, because it is relatively flat and walkable, gets about 60% of the members' play -- compared to Castlewood's aptly named Hill Course.

Castlewood, as well as many other country clubs across the U.S., have been hit by a couple of trends.

Topping the list is an aging and declining membership. For a country club with two golf courses, 800 families is a good target. Castlewood's golf membership now hovers above 600 and has been steadily shrinking.

Two years ago, the Castlewood club president at the time told members of the homeowners association (a separate nonprofit organization) that membership in the club had dropped to about 50% of the homeowners, when historically it was three-quarters or more. For residents with homes along the golf course, their views and expanded backyards were maintained by the club.

Should the club cease to exist, that green space could go away and take a substantial chunk of their homes' value with it. It's happened in a modest community like Springtown in Livermore where the city-owned nine-hole course was closed and has been designated as open space. The city is still working to fund improvements to the area after removing the large pond.

It's a national issue that the Wall Street Journal spotlighted in its "Mansion" section on Jan. 11. The Journal reported that one consultant said home prices can plummet as much as 50% if there's a legal battle around the course closing.

Courses are shutting down because memberships are shrinking and, in some cases such as in San Diego, because the costs of irrigation water are soaring. The National Golf Foundation reported that more than 200 courses closed in 2017, with just 15 opening. Some of this resulted from the over-supply of golf course communities built in the 1990s. For instance, in Brentwood/Antioch, there were three golf communities within five miles -- now just one club exists, and two golf courses have closed.

The second issue is what potential members want in a club also has shifted from a golf course, clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis to a place for the entire family.

Ruby Hill Country Club in Pleasanton, which was not an equity club, was sold by founder Jim Ghielmetti to Arcis Golf in 2015. Arcis is a rapidly growing company founded in 2015 that runs everything from municipal courses to daily fee and country clubs. The firm rebranded the Pleasanton venue as The Club at Ruby Hill and remodeled the clubhouse to improve member dining options.

Last year, the Blackhawk Country Club, which boasts two 18-hole courses with one large clubhouse/banquet facility on the Lakeside Course, opened a 9,400-square-foot fitness center in its sports complex with tennis courts, pickle ball courts, bocce ball lanes and a bar and grill. That speaks to the interest in family-oriented country club offerings.

Comments

mike
Downtown
on Jan 15, 2019 at 5:15 pm
mike, Downtown
on Jan 15, 2019 at 5:15 pm
2 people like this

if Bay club proceeds with the purchase do all of the current Bay club members gain access to the Castlewood facilities?


Michael Austin
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm
Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm
Like this comment

The Pondarosa homes option is the best option, they should go for that option.


Grumpy
Registered user
Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:14 pm
Grumpy, Vineyard Avenue
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:14 pm
19 people like this

How about four story high density apartments for transit oriented development, with a new ACE train stop there just for them?


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:19 pm
4 people like this

I think they should just allow anyone who wants to play on the course to play whether a paying member or not. Also since their is a mandatory food charge non members should be able to use that money for food as well, clearly there is enough if they pay it out of their dues


Member94552
Castlewood
on Jan 15, 2019 at 8:07 pm
Member94552, Castlewood
on Jan 15, 2019 at 8:07 pm
5 people like this

Pleasanton parent, they're not paying the money and not eating; food and beverage is a standard country club requirement. As a member of a club, you are expected to spend a minimum of a certain amount per quarter at the club's facilities. It's not buying food that no one eats (unless you're talking about my kids


Smackdown
Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 9:44 am
Smackdown, Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 9:44 am
18 people like this

Pleasanton Parent. I think you should allow me to use your backyard for a BBQ. I also think you should provide the food.


Average Joe
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:02 am
Average Joe, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:02 am
9 people like this

....zzzzzz...sorry, Tim, no sympathy for the, ahem, 'plight'(?) of the richy-rich of Castlewood. Sob/cry me a river--NOT. Please, spare us. What a waste of editorial space.

One of the residents along the golf course(s) could probably BUY the whole place.


Albert Czervik
Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:06 am
Albert Czervik, Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:06 am
12 people like this

Country clubs and cemeteries are the biggest wasters of prime real estate!


Judge Elihu Smails
Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:31 am
Judge Elihu Smails, Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:31 am
9 people like this

Some people just don’t belong


Left Cali
another community
on Jan 16, 2019 at 11:25 am
Left Cali , another community
on Jan 16, 2019 at 11:25 am
2 people like this

We recently moved to the east coast to escape the high cost of Cali (among other things) and the tri valley area. Castlewood holds great memories for us! What is not addressed in this article is a the large number of members of CW and residents of Pleasanton that are fleeing the high cost of living (again among other things). I know many others who leave if they could.

Pleasant parent agree with the comment of let us come hang out in your back yard and bbq when ever we want!


Average Joe
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm
Average Joe, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm
11 people like this

Love the Judge Elihu Smails commentary....and Caddyshack was on cable last night.

Watch that movie and it's definitely all you need to know about the 'plight' of country clubs.

LOL.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm
1 person likes this

Wait, I thought equal access to opportunity meant I get what you have.

Sure, I could apply for a membership and pay dues and have access, but why would I do that if you're going to pay for it but I get to use it?




Al B.
Downtown
on Jan 16, 2019 at 1:01 pm
Al B., Downtown
on Jan 16, 2019 at 1:01 pm
6 people like this

I have great memories as a single guy in the late 40's and 50's when it was The Old Hearst Ranch. Swimming all day, great sunburns, no sun block then. A Hamburger and a few Beers and danced to the tunes of Tanya, Mack, and Till until 11 PM
All for just a few bucks. Those were the days.


Bill
Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 16, 2019 at 2:04 pm
Bill, Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 16, 2019 at 2:04 pm
3 people like this

I would absolutely love to live in Castlewood.

But I have zero interest in country club life. Castlewood is finding what the social clubs in San Francisco are finding. We have other networking options, and Callipe's not bad if I want to golf. Country clubs simply don't paper out, and generally appeal to folks who remember George Burns.

Its a dying concept, unless you turn it into a health club....like club sport. Hmmm.


Rider
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 3:13 pm
Rider, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2019 at 3:13 pm
3 people like this

@Grumpy

"How about four story high density apartments for transit oriented development, with a new ACE train stop there just for them?"

That would never work because there are no streets around Castlewood that could have the number of lanes reduced by Pleasanton traffic engineers to make it more pedestrian friendly. All the street are already only 1 lane in each direction.


Pete
Downtown
on Jan 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm
Pete, Downtown
on Jan 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm
3 people like this

I would sell the lower course to developers and use the money to do the upgrades to the Clubhouse in order to become ADA compliant. Would be interesting to know how many disabled people have visited Castlewood in the past.


William S
Pheasant Ridge
on Jan 17, 2019 at 8:55 pm
William S, Pheasant Ridge
on Jan 17, 2019 at 8:55 pm
4 people like this

Definitely needs major overhaul inside and out, and personality lift...We moved to Columbus Ohio to a country club community (New Albany) for 4 years. We were not the country club type family, coming from CA and the great all year outdoor weather...BUT the CC life is WAAYY different there. They are hugely contemporary, inviting, friendly, membership #'s not much of an issue. beautiful manicured 27 hole jack Nicholas golf course with PUBLIC paved trails all around. They are multi faceted and really really kid friendly. All the kids would bike there and hang out all day during the summer, 5 pools, 30 something tennis courts of all types, with all ages Swim and dive teams, tennis teams, golf teams and great coaching, lots of kid functions and events. And all the country clubs around Columbus would compete in hugely attended events. So we came back to CA, moved to pleasanton, and toured Castlewood....hmmm... nothing of interest for us or kids, not sure what the draw is other than nostalgia. And 1st impression was some members are not very friendly.


BobbyJ
Downtown
on Jan 18, 2019 at 4:57 am
BobbyJ, Downtown
on Jan 18, 2019 at 4:57 am
Like this comment

The Pondarosa homes option is the best option, they should go for that option.Web Link


Map
Del Prado
on Jan 18, 2019 at 9:05 am
Map , Del Prado
on Jan 18, 2019 at 9:05 am
6 people like this

@Rider. Have a little more faith in our Ptown traffic engineers, if anyone can destroy neighborhood streets by changing traffic patterns and increasing duration of traffic lights to favor cut-they traffic our engineers have proved over the years that they can do it. Point them to a neighborhood and they will destroy it.


My opinion
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2019 at 8:50 am
My opinion, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2019 at 8:50 am
4 people like this

Golf courses are a huge waste of water and apparently the millenials are not into the whole country club lifestyle. I guess that is one good thing to say about them.

It seems odd that the ADA is concerned about a country club that is not open to the public. Pleasanton has no concern at all about ADA compliance and last time I checked the sidewalks ARE open to the public. I have pictures of a very tall man, walking with a cane, unable to walk under the umbrellas lining Main Street. He was forced to either walk in the dirt wells around the trees or walk around the parked cars in the street. Sure wish some ADA attorney would take up that issue. The restaurants pay nothing to take over the sidewalks and then they put up umbrellas that cover the sidewalks. Of course, the city will do nothing until someone files a lawsuit.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 19, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2019 at 12:32 pm
1 person likes this

My opinion- Pleasanton is concerned; thats why we tear up curbs and put those yellow bumpy ramps in place.

The restaurants are the ones that wouldn't be compliant.


numanhashim
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2019 at 10:28 am
numanhashim, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2019 at 10:28 am
Like this comment

I should give my appreciation to LUKE MEREDITH, who posted here seven days prior comment aℬout structure she uses to win on the web… I have my FIRST check total of $55o, very cool. I am so exicted, this is the principal event when I truly earned something. I am will work significantly harder new and I can barely wait for multi week from now portion. You can endeavor it for yourself. …

www.gocash7.com


Common Sense
Downtown
on Jan 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm
Common Sense, Downtown
on Jan 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm
2 people like this

The fact that these rich CC people exist, and living in excess, is immoral while we have millions of hard working Americans living paycheck to paycheck or without a home. It's time our government tax these rich folks enough so they live like the rest of us. Tear down Castlewood and build more low-income housing!


Pleasanton Parent
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 23, 2019 at 8:16 pm
Pleasanton Parent , Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 23, 2019 at 8:16 pm
1 person likes this

Common Sense,
How many Hondurans are you taking into your home? I mean, you have a home with more rooms than you csn occupy at any given time, you should give that space to someone with none.


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