local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page

 last week

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 8 - 14, 2003


Major changes under way at Elkhorn Golf Club

New private club will boast
$6 million in improvements

Express Staff Writer

The owners of the Elkhorn Golf Club, in Sun Valley, have commenced a $6 million overhaul of the facility as part of a plan to convert it into a state-of-the-art private club.

The ambitious plan by Greenfield Partners, a real-estate investment group based in Connecticut and Chicago, will result in the closure of the golf course for the 2004 summer season. The revamped facility is scheduled to be opened in May 2005.

Work crews last Friday install a new irrigation water main on the 18th fairway of the Elkhorn Golf Club. As part of a large-scale improvement project by the club’s owners, the 18th hole will be converted to its original status as the 1st hole. Express photo by Willy Cook

"The ultimate goal is to become the number one golf course in Idaho again," said Don Shirey, general manager of the club.

Shirey, a former PGA-tour golf professional, is an employee of Troon Golf, an Arizona-based company that manages approximately 150 golf courses worldwide. Troon Golf was contracted in February by Greenfield Partners to manage the Elkhorn Golf Club.

In an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express last week, Shirey said Troon Golf has been authorized by Greenfield Partners to make approximately $6 million in improvements to the Elkhorn Golf Club in the next 18 months.

The large-scale improvement plan by Troon and Greenfield was initiated on Wednesday, Sept. 17, the day after Troon managers closed the golf course for the 2003 season. Almost immediately work crews started digging in areas throughout the 18-hole, par-72 course.

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

Troon officials have signed a contract to manage the facility through the reconstruction phase, and will then have the opportunity to sign a five-year contract extension. Shirey said Troon will—almost certainly—extend its contract to ensure that the golf course is maintained to the company’s standards.

"It’s going to be a great club," Shirey said. "It has the potential to just be breathtaking."

Indeed, the redevelopment plan for the club is ambitious. It includes:

  • Replacing the playing surfaces of all 18 greens.

  • Restructuring all of the course’s sand bunkers.

  • Reconfiguring the course so its numerology will match its original design. As part of the plan, the 18th hole will be re-established as the 1st hole and the current 8th hole will be re-established as the 9th hole.

  • Constructing a two-level, approximately 10,000-square-foot full-service clubhouse adjacent to the green of the new, par-four 9th hole. The existing clubhouse will be converted into a golf-instruction facility.

  • Establishing four separate tee areas for every hole, affording players the option to play longer or shorter distances according to their ability.

  • Aerating and top-dressing all of the fairways and moving some fairways farther away from existing housing developments.

  • Installing an entirely new irrigation system.

Shirey said the improvements are long overdue. "This golf course has never had the renovations that it needed over time," he said. "We spent thousands of dollars just to get it playable for this year."

Shirey noted that the improvements will not significantly alter the overall design of the course. Golf legends Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his son, Robert Trent Jones Jr., designed the course, which was built in the 1970s.

Contractors for Troon Golf, the company managing the Elkhorn Golf Club, in recent weeks have made vast changes to the 6th hole of the golf course, including constructing a new tee box (foreground). The hole—which is slated to regain its original status as the 7th hole—is being converted from a par four to a par five. Express photo by Willy Cook

In addition, Shirey said, Greenfield Partners has decided to restructure how the Elkhorn Golf Club is operated, essentially converting the semi-private facility to a members-only private club. "The existing membership program will be terminated."

He said the club’s 195 existing members will be given first priority later this fall to join the new, private club.

All told, 395 memberships will be offered. However, only 255 memberships will be made available for sale to members of the club and interested parties in the general public.

Approximately 100 memberships will be reserved for future property holders in a townhouse development that Greenfield Partners is planning to build on the site of the former Elkhorn Hotel. Greenfield and its affiliates are currently drafting a development proposal for that project, but have not yet submitted an application to the city of Sun Valley.

Despite the vast improvements to the club, not all of the existing members are convinced that they support the redevelopment plan.

In August, a group of members convened to discuss some of the potential changes. The group eventually selected a five-person ad-hoc committee to voice their concerns about the plans.

Ned Hogan, a member of the club and the committee, said one primary concern among existing members is an inevitable increase in the costs they would incur to become members of the new club. "I’m just a little concerned about what they’re doing, because I just don’t know the specifics of where they’re going," Hogan said.



City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.