In a move that took many in the art world by surprise, Sotheby's recently presented a several-month-long exhibition of modern art at the exclusive Isleworth Country Club near Orlando, Florida. Tiger Woods's home course became the unusual backdrop for eleven modernist sculptures that ranged from Auguste Rodin's nine-foot-tall "Balzac" to three pieces by Henry Moore. All told there was more than $20 million worth of art sitting susceptible to errant tee shots, but a Sotheby's representative offered little worry regarding damage: "You would have to be talented to actually hit one of the sculptures; we made sure they were out of harm's way."
The innovative golf "gallery" proved to be a success for Sotheby's—at press time, five pieces had been sold, with bids being negotiated on two more.
British entrepreneur Peter de Savary (Carnegie Club) is out en force this year with two new properties—Bovey Castle in England and, in the Bahamas, the Abaco Club (888-303-2765), a $160 million "sporting estate." Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie, who have designed or restored six other courses for de Savary, are the architects behind the latter's 7,183-yard oceanfront links course. The club will also offer members other sports including deep-sea fishing, tennis and scuba diving. Abaco membership is priced at $50,000, with beach homesites ranging from $1.5 million to $3 million. . . . The first new private golf club to debut on the shorelines of Rhode Island's South County in one hundred years, Shelter Harbor Golf Club (401-322-0600), will open this summer despite a three-year struggle between the design team of Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry and the state's environmental board. After wrestling with the authorities, would Hurdzan work in the Ocean State again?"Sure, they're nice people, but you have to pick your sites very carefully in little Rhody."
Architect Rees Jones has returned to the Lower course at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey to practice surgery once more. The modern "Open Doctor" (the moniker was originally held by his father, Robert Trent Jones Sr.) renovated Baltusrol before the 1993 U.S. Open and has now started restorations on the A.W. Tillinghast design in time for the 2005 PGA Championship next August. Plans include adding length to the third and seventeenth, shifting the creek on the thirteenth to tighten the landing area and placing bunkers on the right fairway of eighteen. Although work is expected to continue throughout the year, members will still be able to play the course this summer.
• The Dye Preserve (Pete Dye, 2003), Jupiter, FL; 561-575-5891; by invitation only.
• Spanish Peaks (Tom Weiskopf, summer 2006), Big Sky, MT; 877-995-3100; $20,000 residential membership.
• The Club at Seabrook Island (Ocean Winds: Willard Byrd, 1973; Crooked Oaks: Robert Trent Jones Sr., 1981), Seabrook Island, SC; 843-768-7805; $31,000 initiation fee.
On March 29, sixteen of golf's best gathered for a two-day tournament at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Florida, not to determine world rankings but, as Ernie Els noted, "for bragging rights in Orlando." The inaugural Tavistock Cup pitted a team of members from Lake Nona against their neighbors at Isleworth in perhaps the greatest interclub tournament ever. Players for Lake Nona included members Els, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Nick Faldo and Annika Sorenstam. Isleworth players included Mark O'Meara, Robert Allenby, Darren Clarke, Scott Hoch and Charles Howell III. The Isleworth team, even without Tiger, won the match-play tournament 14 1/2 to 9 1/2.