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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 10 months ago

Stoneybrook West Golf Club closes abruptly

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The public 18-hole Winter Garden course opened in 2000.
by: Michael Eng Editor and Publisher

Following the abrupt closing of the Stoneybrook West Golf Club located at 15501 Towne Commons Blvd. in December, the Winter Garden community’s homeowners association is attempting to purchase the club and golf course from owners Stoneybrook West Golf Club LLC.

According to an update sent from the Stoneybrook West HOA to community residents Monday, Jan. 14, the HOA hosted an emergency meeting in December and sent a letter of intent to the golf-course owners expressing interest in exploring the possibility of purchasing the club.

However, the owners declined the letter because of interest in the property from professional golf course companies, the update stated.

Since then, HOA board members have held multiple meetings and calls with the owners to request that the course continue to be maintained and allow it to perform a comprehensive review of the property. They also requested to meet with potential buyers, and two board members reviewed the last three years of golf course financials under a non-disclosure agreement, the update stated.

Board members also have met with multiple golf-course management companies and investors and are gathering data on the costs to operate the course, club and restaurant.

“In summary, the SBW Board of Directors is continuing due diligence necessary including working with potential buyers and gathering necessary information related to buying the course for the HOA,” the update stated.

The 18-hole, par-72 public Arthur Hills-designed golf course opened in 2000. In 2017, the course ranked No. 18 on Golf Advisor’s list of Most Improved U.S. Golf Courses. The Stoneybrook West community is a gated community with 1,450 homes, many built with views of the golf course.

According to Orange County property records, Stoneybrook West Golf Club LLC purchased the golf course for $2,399,400 in April 2010 from Kitson and Partners Orlando Golf LLC. The Orange County Property Appraiser reports the club’s 2018 market value as $2,745,620.

Stoneybrook West Golf Club’s closure comes less than three years after Bryan DeCunha, owner of the Windermere Country Club, closed that community’s golf course. DeCunha has sought to gain county approval to convert the golf-course property into residences. However, the community’s residents have opposed that proposal. Orange County holds the development rights of the property and in March 2018 upheld a decision to retain those rights. That golf course remains closed. 

Although the decline in golf has resulted in course closures throughout the state, property owners at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Fernandina Beach celebrated a victory last month, when a Nassau County circuit court judge ordered the resort owner to repair and reopen the shuttered Ocean Links Golf Course by October. The decision also prohibits the owner from using the property for anything but a golf course.

Representatives from the Stoneybrook West HOA and Stoneybrook West Golf Club LLC did not respond to multiple attempts seeking comment for this story.  

Michael Eng is the editor and publisher for the West Orange Times & Observer, West Orange Observer, Baldwin Park Living magazine and OrangeObserver.com. He is a 2000 graduate of the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism....

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