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Friday, June 12, 2009
Ridgeway For Sale?
Officially, Ridgeway Country Club in White Plains, NY, is on the market. A recently-published article says the asking price is $20 million for the 130-acre tract which is zoned for single-family homes on three-quarter-acre lots. When I was there recently for a MGWA event, though, club president Henry Shyer said a sale will be a last resort. He's hoping to attract members to replace the 50 or so who resigned this year by offering sharply reduced membership fees and a monthly payment plan.
Head pro Pete Donnelly, a White Plains native and congenial chief of the Ridgeway pro shop for 29 years, said changing lifestyles are making club memberships less attractive to younger people, which only compounds the difficulty of replacing the members who left because of the sharp downturn in the economy. The club membership has been declining for several years.
Donnelly added that the club now regrets its deal-killing hesitation to accept an offer from local real estate developer Louis Cappelli to buy 150 memberships for use by guests of his nearby Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which opened last year. Given the economic climate, that offer is most certainly off the table now.
It would be a shame to lose this venerable member of Westchester's golf community. The course was built in 1923 and has gone through several iterations resulting in today's version with narrow fairways, tiny, slick greens, and some interesting bunker complexes. The club also has 10 tennis courts, an Olympic-size pool, and a fitness room. It's also known for fine dining. Having sampled the fare, I can attest that the food is as good as the golf.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo