Since the 1980s, a vacant and windowless tower, more than 220 feet tall, has stood over Newport, Rhode Island, a blemish on the naturally beautiful seascape. Now approval has been given to turn the eyesore into luxury condominiums, part of a fifteen-acre planned development to accompany Peter de Savary's private Carnegie Abbey golf club (401-682-6000). The tower, when completed in 2006, will offer sixty-five residences, including a $7 million, 7,000-square-foot penthouse. Construction plans include the addition of a seventy-nine-slip private marina and twenty-one separate cottages. Club membership requires a refundable initiation fee of $150,000. In addition to the Donald Steel course, there is a private 340-foot-long dock off the eighteenth green, allowing members to access the club by sailboat or seaplane.
The PGA Tour has embarked on plans to add a third private Tournament Players Club in Florida, whose roster includes layouts in Coral Springs and Sarasota. The TPC at Treviso Bay (941-922-2800) will open in 2006, near Naples, with an Arthur Hills-designed course for up to 1,200 homeowners. Members might even catch a glimpse of Tour pro Hal Sutton in their backyards—the U.S. Ryder Cup captain is working with Hills, as player consultant, on the design of the course, which they intend to be a championship layout capable of hosting a Tour event.
The U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in June was fraught with controversy as the course baked under the watch of the USGA. Afterward, rumors spread that a group of members was going to sue the USGA for ruining its greens. GolfWorld magazine fueled the fire by publishing photos of a scorched Shinnecock and an article in which members demanded an apology. However, the club's general manager, Gregg Deger, called the rumors "beyond ridiculous," insisting that a week after the Open, the course was in perfect condition, "exactly to our playability." Still, the USGA will be under intense scrutiny as it prepares the even-hillier greens of Pinehurst No. 2 for next year's Open.
Tuscawilla Country Club in Winter Springs, Florida, has finished the first of two phases of an extensive restoration of the greens of the club's classic Joe Lee-designed course. The putting areas on the private club's layout had not been touched since the course opened in 1973 and thus had shrunk considerably—losing 40 percent of their original size, according to Tuscawilla's management. The back nine was set to be finished by the start of November; the front nine will be worked on next summer and will open in the fall. . . . Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon, Michigan (989-275-0700), which received a T+L GOLF must-play rating in this year's Golf Guide to Michigan (July/ August 2004), is going private. The club was originally slated to open as a private course, but due to financial woes it debuted as semiprivate. Now under Intrawest Golf management, Forest Dunes plans to make the transition next May and will offer two classifications of nonequity memberships—resident and national—with initiation fees priced at $30,000 and $15,000 respectively. . . . A true dream job: Tony Sessa, head pro at East Hampton Golf Club on Long Island, will, as of this October, also hold the same position at Augusta National.
• The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa (Jack Nicklaus Signature, 2002), Jupiter, FL; 561-626-8676; $210,000 non-equity refundable deposit.
• Hamilton Farm Golf Club (Hurdzan/Fry, 2001), Gladstone, NJ; 908-901-4000; $275,000 local initiation fee; $200,000 New York State; $75,000 national; by invitation.