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 leaders and members are exploring options for addressing costly ADA compliance concerns with the clubhouse, including a new bid from the Bay Club. (File photo)

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.

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Comments

2 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 15, 2019 at 5:15 pm

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


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm

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


19 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

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


4 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:19 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

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


5 people like this
Posted by Member94552
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 15, 2019 at 8:07 pm

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


18 people like this
Posted by Smackdown
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 9:44 am

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


9 people like this
Posted by Average Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:02 am

....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.


12 people like this
Posted by Albert Czervik
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:06 am

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


9 people like this
Posted by Judge Elihu Smails
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 10:31 am

Some people just don’t belong


2 people like this
Posted by Left Cali
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2019 at 11:25 am

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!


11 people like this
Posted by Average Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm

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.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

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?




6 people like this
Posted by Al B.
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 16, 2019 at 1:01 pm

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.


3 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 16, 2019 at 2:04 pm

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.


3 people like this
Posted by Rider
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2019 at 3:13 pm

Rider is a registered user.

@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.


3 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm

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.


4 people like this
Posted by William S
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jan 17, 2019 at 8:55 pm

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.


Like this comment
Posted by BobbyJ
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 18, 2019 at 4:57 am

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


6 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 18, 2019 at 9:05 am

@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.


4 people like this
Posted by My opinion
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2019 at 8:50 am

My opinion is a registered user.

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.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 19, 2019 at 12:32 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

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.


Like this comment
Posted by numanhashim
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2019 at 10:28 am

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


2 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm

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!


1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 23, 2019 at 8:16 pm

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.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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