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.”
Golf development in the U.S. has been a risky business as of late. But some have found great success. Golf Inc. magazine profiled the ten most admired golf developments in the last 15 years with Creighton Farms, Bandon Dunes and Streamsong Resort leading the list.
Some are destination courses, like the world-renowned links at Bandon Dunes. Some are celebrity-designed courses at exclusive clubs, like the ones you'll find at Martis Camp in California's High Sierras or at Creighton Farms in Virginia's hunt country. Notwithstanding the differences, these 10 golf properties have set themselves apart by offering something that their customers simply can't live without.
Southworth Development knows that One Percenters put a premium on personal security, flawless service and refined elegance, all of which contribute to the appeal of Creighton Farms, a private gated community an hour's drive from Washington, D.C.
Meredith Bay announced today the unveiling of three new model units in the Bluegill Lodge, the first of four luxury condominium buildings Southworth has planned for its award-winning Lake Winnipesaukee community. The Bluegill Lodge features 23 luxurious condominium units on four floors ranging from 1,400 to more than 2,000 square feet.
The Lodges at Meredith Bay offer all of the luxuries of lakeside living, while situated on a picturesque hillside with stunning, panoramic views of Lake Winnipesaukee. One of the most unique features of The Lodges at Meredith Bay is the heated underground parking garage with direct elevator access into every unit. Owners also enjoy the convenience of The Lodges’ Fitness Studio and outdoor Grilling Pavilion along with access to Meredith Bay’s private beach club and marina.
The two- and three-bedroom single-floor units feature open concept kitchen, dining and living areas, fireplaces and hardwood floors. Standard features include oversized decks, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, custom fixtures, and dedicated underground parking space and storage area. Lodge owners will also have access to Meredith Bay’s marina and private beach club with sandy beach, lakefront swimming pool, beach volleyball, restaurant and more. Lodges condominium units start in the mid-$400,000s and are accepting reservations now with units slated for delivery next month.
Following Southworth Development’s acquisition of The Abaco Club, the Executive Chefs from three Southworth sister properties visited Abaco as guest chefs to give the members a taste of Southworth.
Dawson Frock from Renaissance just north of Boston started the rotation, bringing his affinity for classic, fresh local ingredients with him. As the Abaco Club’s first guest chef, he dazzled members’ palettes with his Blackened Grouper, Maple Glazed Chicken Breast and Bahamian Conch Chowder.
Next to visit was Chef Reid Badger from Creighton Farms outside of Washington DC. Known for making everything from scratch, Chef Reid crafted a number of sumptuous dishes while in Abaco, including Lemon Grass and Lime Ice Cream, Mango Cake made with mangoes and a hint of ginger, and Home-Made Bread with olive and basil ciabatta.
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
On September 14th, Willowbend held its second annual Honoree Day—an event created to celebrate the contributions individuals have made to the community as well as the world at large. This year, Willowbend honored Jack and Barbara Nicklaus for their philanthropic efforts, namely their work with veterans, particularly those wounded in service to their country, and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.
The Nicklauses are an unstoppable force when it comes to helping people and raising money for worthy charities. In 2004, Jack and Barbara created the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which has raised several hundred millions of dollars for pediatric health care programs throughout the country.
In 2012, Jack and Barbara teamed up with Southworth's Creighton Farms outside Washington DC to create the Creighton Farms Invitational Hosted by Jack Nicklaus. This event raises money for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and children’s hospitals in the metropolitan Washington DC area. Last year’s event raised over $700,000 for the Foundation and promises to raise even more in 2015.
Willowbend welcomed Jack and Barbara with a luncheon and a fireside chat with over 200 Willowbend members and their guests. After discussing a variety of topics including Jack’s golf career and enjoying a barrel of laughs, Southworth Development owners David Southworth and Joe Deitch along with the whole Willowbend community presented Jack and Barbara with $100,000 for their charity.