Ryan gives golfers a long-term commitment
Developer Mike Ryan issued a news release Friday saying the North Sound Club golf course would begin renewing its annual individual and corporate memberships.
“We want to not only welcome our loyal members back to the course they love, but also attract new members and show everyone that our commitment is for the long term,” he said.
When the annual memberships expired last November, the members were sent letters saying the North Sound Club wasn’t in a position to extend the memberships. At that time, Mr. Ryan said he was doing his best to keep the course open, but that he needed support from the government because the shortfall between revenue and expenses was between $60,000 and $100,000 every month, mainly because of the high cost of watering the grass on the course. Some of the support he was asking for from government was the ability to have the Dragon Bay and Ritz-Carlton properties make its own desalinated water.
Last month, after receivers took control of Mr. Ryan’s other major project, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, on behalf of the primary lenders, the developer said he was unsure if he would be able to keep the North Sound Club open past May of this year.
Friday’s announcement should ease the minds of golfers, including residents and tourists.
“We have long recognised the need for golf to be an integral part of what Grand Cayman needs to offer, both to its residents and as an essential element of our tourism offering,” Mr. Ryan said. “We have worked for many years to find a viable way to keep the course open and we have been seeking the necessary support to make this happen. With all the challenges the Islands are facing, I am pleased that we are able, not just to announce that the course will be remaining open, but also that we will be expanding our commitment through the implementation of a renovation and improvement programme.”
On Saturday, Mr. Ryan said the renovation and improvement programme would include making upgrades to the clubhouse facilities and golf carts, as well as some works on the course.
“People might have already seen we’ve started improving the grass to bring that up to a higher quality,” he said.
The North Sound Club is Cayman’s only 18-hole championship-calibre golf course. Before the Ritz-Carlton properties went into receivership, Mr. Ryan’s plan was to eventually close the North Sound Club and to combine part of it with the Ritz-Carlton’s 9-hole golf course, Blue Tip, to create an 18-hole private course that would have only serviced owners and guests of Dragon Bay.
Mr. Ryan said that he still hopes to develop Dragon Bay. However, he’ll likely have to do that without the 140 acres of land that made up the Ritz-Carlton property, now that it’s in receivership. However, Mr. Ryan’s companies still control about 220 acres of land that once made up the SafeHaven development, which includes the golf course. That property is held by different companies that the Ritz-Carlton properties and are not involved in the receivership, Mr. Ryan has said.
With regard to the North Sound Club membership offerings, Mr. Ryan said he could not give any specifics at this time.
“The goal is for the fees to be no more than they were before and if possible, to be even a little less,” he said.