It was announced today that Paul Fireman, owner of Willowbend Country Club, has reached an agreement to sell Willowbend and its remaining residential real estate to Southworth Development LLC of Newton, Mass.
Southworth is a leading developer of residential resort-styled communities, with properties in the U.S., Scotland and The Bahamas. Southworth is a privately held firm owned by David Southworth of Boston and Joseph Deitch of West Palm Beach, Fla.
David Southworth began his residential development career as Fireman’s business partner, serving as President and CEO of Willowbend Development from 1992 to 2005. During that span, the two combined to develop close to $1 billion in resort and/or residential communities in the United States and Puerto Rico.
“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to acquire Willowbend,” said Southworth. “As someone who was there at the very beginning of Willowbend, being given the chance to take over the stewardship of the club and community is something that’s very gratifying. Willowbend has always been a second home for my family and me – literally, as I maintain a residence and membership there. To have the opportunity to guide this exquisite club community into the future is one that I value dearly. It just shows that you can go home again.”
Deitch, a native of Boston, Mass., serves as Chairman of Southworth Development. But he is perhaps most widely known for being the Founder and Chairman of Commonwealth Financial Network, the nation’s largest privately-owned, independent broker-dealer firm, with over $65 billion under management. Even more impressive is the fact that Commonwealth has won innumerable awards for being a “Best Place to Work” both in Boston and San Diego.
“Willowbend is a perfect fit for Southworth Development,” said Deitch. “It’s an extraordinary property with phenomenal amenities and a truly wonderful group of members and residents. Joining together with the Willowbend community to chart a new course for the future is going to be a real pleasure.”
Willowbend was purchased by the Fireman family in 1991 and quickly became the most luxurious private club in New England. The Club, known for its 27 holes of championship golf, cranberry bogs, stunning facilities – and its famous members – quickly became the center of Cape Cod’s summer glitterati scene. It also served as home of the Willowbend Children’s Charity Pro Am for many years – an event which brought some of golf’s biggest stars, including Greg Norman, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and John Daly and others to the Club. Today, Willowbend’s membership includes more than 300 discerning individuals and families.
“When the time came to sell Willowbend, it was definitely an emotional decision,” said Fireman. “In the end, it made perfect sense on every level to hand over the reins to David and Joe. Knowing that the club and community will be in their capable hands has made this decision so much easier. Now, my family and I will be able to enjoy the club as members, rather than owners. We’re looking forward to doing so for many years to come.”
Southworth Development has acquired the spectacular Abaco Club on Winding Bay from Marriott Vacation Worldwide Corporation. Southworth acquired the community, in an all cash purchase, in partnership with a consortium of members and residents of The Abaco Club.
The Abaco Club on Winding Bay is one of the world’s great sporting clubs, with residences that rival the finest in any island setting. The Club features over 2 miles of white-sand beach; an acclaimed tropical links golf course, which has been consistently ranked as the #1 course in The Bahamas by Golfweek Magazine; tennis; a wide range of water sports, world-class bone fishing, deep-sea fishing and boating off Abaco’s famed shores and surrounding islands.
The Right Honourable Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, said: “We welcome Southworth Development’s involvement in The Abaco Club on Winding Bay and look forward to working with such a renowned group. Renewed interest and long-term investment in the property will benefit Great Abaco and The Bahamas in the form of increased home building, tourism and jobs. ”
Southworth is planning a multi-million dollar renovation of the existing facilities which will begin immediately. In addition, a new state-of-the-art golf practice facility will be added, along with a new marina and boathouse.
Since being named "Resort Experience of the Year" by Golf Tourism Scotland as well as the proud recipient of their "GEO Sustainability Award" in 2013, Machrihanish Dunes has continued to impress, adding several more accolades to their list. Mach Dunes was honored to be named "Scotland's Best Experience" by the readers of Bunkered Magazine as well as landing among the Top 100 courses in all of Great Britain & Ireland by a large panel of expert raters from National Club Golfer. Good company indeed! Below are a few of the recent awards that Machrihanish Dunes has proudly received.
National Club Golfer: 2015 “Great Britain & Ireland Top 100 Links” #55
National Club Golfer & Lady Golfer: The 2014 Golfas “Golf Resort Award” #1
Golf World Magazine (UK): 2014 Top 100 Golf Courses in Britain & Ireland #68
Lady Golfer: 2014 “Top 50 Play & Stay" in the U.K. #3
Golf Digest: 2014 “Top 36 Destinations for Buddies Trips” | Scotland #1
(Machrihanish Dunes, The Old Course, Trump International Golf Links, and Carnoustie)
IAGTO: 2014 “Sustainable Golf Course of the Year" #2
Bunkered Magazine: 2013 Scotland’s Best Experience #1
One of Scotland’s most dramatic golf courses, Machrihanish Dunes, is celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland by herding an unusual bunch of ‘locals’ back onto the course.
Keeping it neatly nibbled during the winter months, the maintenance of this stunning coastal course is a labour of love for these ‘natural lawnmowers’; a flock of 40 black Hebridean sheep.
Set to swing back into action on October 18, these woolly wonders are not only a hit with visitors but provide a perfect example of environmentally friendly practice in Scotland, the Home of Golf. So much so, these ‘natural lawnmowers’ can be credited with helping Machrihanish Dunes secure the 2012 Association of British Travel Agents title of ‘Number 1 Eco Golf Course in the World’.
David Southworth, President and CEO of Southworth Development, owners and managers of Machrihanish Dunes, said: “Here at Machrihanish Dunes we are very proud of our eco friendly status and in particular the iconic characters who have helped us achieve our environmentally friendly credentials.
“By using the ‘natural lawnmowers’ to thin out the rough on the course we are able to help preserve several rare and protected species of orchids that grow here on this site and in few other places. The added benefit is visitors can enjoy the company of these unique companions as they play a round.”
Thanks to its eco friendly practices, stunning coastal setting and dramatic Atlantic backdrop, Machrihanish Dunes came in at number 25 in the ‘GolfWorld Magazine: 2012-13 Top 100 Courses in Scotland’.
The Village at Machrihanish Dunes announced today that it was the winner of two top awards at the Golf Tourism Scotland Excellence Awards, which were presented at the group’s annual dinner held on Friday, 22 November. The two awards it received were the ‘Resort Experience of the Year’ award and the ‘Golf Tourism Scotland GEO Sustainability Award for outstanding environmental practices. Machrihanish Dunes was also a finalist in the ‘Club and Course Experience of the Year’ (Green fee of £75 or less) category and its Ugadale Hotel was a finalist for ‘Accommodation Experience of the Year’ (22 rooms or less).
Barbara and Jack Nicklaus co-hosted the second Creighton Farms Invitational at the award-winning Creighton Farms in the Northern Virginia city of Leesburg. The event included a reception, dinner and auction held at the nearby and newly opened Salamander Resort & Spa in picturesque Middleburg, Va. The reception was followed by golf the next morning on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Creighton Farms. A year after the inaugural event raised almost $270,000, this year’s event grossed close to $700,000.