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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Full court press: Fate of The Reserve at Litchfield Beach before judge

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        A Charleston, SC, bankruptcy judge will soon decide if one of Myrtle Beach’s few private golf courses can go ahead with a reorganization plan that includes a sale to a North Carolina course operator.  Three hundred members of The Reserve at Litchfield Beach voted overwhelmingly more than a year ago to turn the club over to the McConnell Group, which had promised more than $1 million in renovations and to keep the club private for at least 10 years. 

        The Group, led by founder John McConnell, had planned to add the

McConnell would like a "beach" course that members of his other five courses could use.

Greg Norman designed Reserve to his other five inland courses; The Reserve, which is the anchor for a sprawling golf community, is just one mile from the beach.  Members at Musgrove Mills, Uwharrie Point and three other well-regarded McConnell clubs in the Raleigh, NC, area maintain privileges at all of them; McConnell’s plans have called for a “beach” option for those of his members who might want to spend weekends in the Myrtle Beach area with their families or golfing buddies (about a four-hour drive from the Raleigh area).  Member initiation fees at McConnell's clubs are in the $25,000 range.

        The major point of contention was raised by resigned and inactive members who would lose the chance to get back most of their initiation fees.  Under the Reserve’s bylaws, a former member can receive up to 90% of his or her equity payment when four new members join.  The deal with McConnell, who would pay $1 for the club plus its debts to secured creditors, would not include payment to the former members.  The 175 resigned members have hired a lawyer to argue their case before the Charleston judge.

        After five hours of testimony yesterday, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, the case was continued until today.  We will keep our eye on the story.

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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.