Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Resort closes Elkhorn golf deal

Sun Valley golf increases to 45 holes

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Co. has closed a deal to purchase the Elkhorn Golf Club. Photo by Mountain Express

Sun Valley Co. took ownership of the 18-hole Elkhorn Golf Course on July 1, bringing the total number of Sun Valley holes to 45.

The takeover could eventually open Elkhorn to the public.

Golfing legends Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his son Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed the 16,000-square-foot Elkhorn course, which was built in the 1970s.

Sun Valley Co. General Manager Tim Silva said the acquisition would provide Sun Valley guests with more diversity of play while accommodating the needs of 260 existing Elkhorn Golf Club members.

"Our intention is to accommodate the member-based structure and eventual public play on the course without impact to the membership" Silva said in a news release.

Sun Valley also owns and operates the 18-hole Trail Creek Course and the nine-hole White Clouds Course.

In 2006, the Elkhorn course underwent a $6 million renovation by Greenfield Partners, a real estate development company that redeveloped Elkhorn Village and planned to build a golf course and major home development in Quigley Canyon east of Hailey.

"The ultimate goal is to become the No. 1 golf course in Idaho again," said former Elkhorn Golf Club Manager Don Shirey in 2004.

Shirey, a former PGA-tour golf professional, worked for Troon Golf, an Arizona-based company contracted by Greenfield Partners seven years ago to manage the Elkhorn Golf Club. Shirey was general manager of the club until this week, when longtime Sun Valley Co. employee Rick Hickman became manager of all golf operations for the company.

Greenfield Partners decided to restructure how the Elkhorn Golf Club was operated, essentially converting the semi-private facility to a members-only private club. The club then became semi-private again several years ago to attract business.

Prior to starting the 2004 renovation project, Shirey said, Greenfield entered negotiations to sell the golf course to Sun Valley Co., but a potential deal eventually broke down.

The extensive renovation was completed by Greenfield Partners and includes a two-level, 16,000-square-foot, full-service clubhouse, all of which now belongs to Sun Valley Co.

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