North Sound golf club faces turmoil

| 08/11/2011

(CNS): Members of the North Sound golf club whose membership is coming up for renewal have received letters from the manager stating that the club will not be able to renew that membership as a result of “a number of factors” and stating that it is working to try and keep the golf course open. The club, which is now part of the group of companies related to the Dragon Bay development and headed by Michael Ryan, is located at Safehaven and is the only full size course on the island. A spokesperson from the Residences denied that the club was about to close.

“The North Sound Club is not closing at this time, however there is some internal restructuring taking place and some NSC employees are being transferred to other positions within the group of companies,” the spokesperson stated. “Company management seeks to keep members and stakeholders informed of all developments that may impact the service they are accustomed to.”

The letter, dated Monday 7 November, from the manager of the club Davy Ebanks is less positive, however, and states that it “regrets the circumstances” and offers thanks to members for their support over the years. Ebanks writes that the management is exploring a number of options and will be holding a membership meeting shortly to keep ‘members’ informed.

See letter below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In Michael Ryan's recent statement today in Compass regarding the potential closure of the golf course in which he mentioned that he will be speaking to the LOG about the cost of the water. I hope that if he gives concessions to the Ryan group then businesses, renters and homeowners all will get some relief from the the high water costs. Here we go again to help the millionaires but leave the working slob footing the shortfall revenues to CWC . Free market economies allows for successful business to flourish and bad ones to fail, it is not governments role to help badly proposed business ideas that are not sustainable. Ryan if you can't make it work then get out, but don't ask me to help you! Maybe the government should a lien on it for not paying his past 6 million dollar debt. Enough already!!!

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Water? I thought October was the rainiest month? The true reason why the project failed is because he took on more than he could handle and sold no lots at the golf course. Projects of this nature need long term capital not short term loans from Governments. I fear for the entire project. Shades of Jean Doucet.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh and then charge full price today on a holiday all day… No wonder your losing money as we aren’t going to pay that so you just lost a foursome!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bring Bill Murray in to fix up the course. And make the snooty commenters watch Caddy Shack.

  4. THE THINKER: says:

    Correction From the Thinker: My mistake for rushing to write the piece! It should have read, that if Mr. Ryan could secure the deal [from Govt.] allowing him to purchase the lease for the $10M. he could then negotiate with HIS buyer for a good faith retainer of  say $6M. with which he would then  pay  Govt. Very Simple!! You know the rest!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    He could start a green iguana farm.

  6. Bobs uR Uncle says:

    likely he going to close it down because he can't service the debt on the original purchase price of 80m combined with a 80K per month water bill not forgeting payroll, fertilizer and pesticides. Golf courses worldwide are struggling due to the economic downturn and the need for individuals to shed luxuries. Regardless if he lowes the price the golfing community is not large enough here to sustain the course even with the tourists. A golf course in the US with do 40-60K rounds a year, here on Cayman it would be a stretch if combined all the courses did 40k a year. Golf courses are now built to sell developments otherwise they lose money as a stand alone venture. Close it and let someone who has the money to develop it and attach it to a large resort…sounds like a opportunity for Dart.

  7. Anonymous says:

    this has been on the cards for years….what has the gov done???….nothing……it won't be long until this place becomes a 'first class' tourist destination with no 18 hole golf course!!!!…..what a joke this place is becoming day by day!

  8. THE THINKER: says:

    Remember the $10,000,000.00 offer Michael Ryan made to us for that property?  I'm watching for the sale, because it is my humble opinion that  the sale could go through, and Mr. Ryan would then be able  to pay Govt. the $6,000,000.00 he owes, and then he'll flip the property for a ton of money and guess who's waiting in the wings to buy? You got it!! And guess who besides Mr. Ryan stands to gain from this ridiculous deal if it happens?  Right again!  I wonder if I it's  possible that this could be done under the  National Emergency clause of our Constitution? Just asking!!

    THINK!  THINK!!                                                                                 

    • Anonymous says:

      I am thinking and don't get it. The offer was for Michael Ryan to buy the property for $10 mil, not the other way around so he would need to have $16 mil to pay for the land plus what he currently owes……no?

    • Anonymous says:

      How would him paying $10m for the land increase his ability to pay the $6m already owed? 

      Thinking about it, if he cant sell the Dragon Bay properties without having freehold, this might be the best option for the govt to raise $16m in cash……

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Thinker: The $10mln was to buy out the lease hold period (ie. the approx 100 years of annual lease payments to ci gov't) and convert the land he has already acquired from Safehaven (for > $25mln) into free hold.  He is not buying land for $10mln as many having incorrectly concluded.  Even if this were to be accepted by CI gov't and paid, he would still owe any earlier outstanding, and bear the costs of development.  An additional lease hold debit does not offset other earlier debit line items, it increases the total.        

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think we will hear Mr. Ryan cry:  "Oh poor me if government just sell me land outright then I can keep the course open."

    Mr Ryan you might want to think about paying your 6 mil to government.  XXXXX

  10. Anonymous says:

    Only in cayman can you charge people us$200 for a round of golf and not make money…….

    it is because of this ..cayman is doomed…

    • Anonymous says:

      because if it was $100 the course would be busy, and the bar and shop, and so would probably be profitable!

  11. Anonymous says:


    If he can't afford these things, put them up or sale to the highest bidder but don't expect to keep them by letting us the people of the Cayman Islands be coerced into paying for them.

    I am sure that DART would love to pick this up to add to his spoils. At least he has money.

  12. Expat Businessman says:

    If they charged locals a little less, they might actually have someone playing the course!

    • Dick Faldo says:

      Expensive is good. Keeps the hackers away. They can play at Britannia – it is basically a field anyway.

      • Anonymous says:

        if you want to keep hackers out then you should make it a men only club!

      • Soapbox Sally says:

        So let me get this straight…..what you are saying is that you are only going to be good at golf if you are rich?  Not a terribly endearing comment.

        • Dick Faldo says:

          And I can't think of any reason why I would want to endear myself to you.  Generally, in my experience, the more expensive the club the better the course and the less trouble caused by players of limited skill or undeveloped etiquette.  Yes it might sound unfair, but life is unfair sometimes.

          • Par for the course says:

            Undeveloped etiquette??  OHMIGOD.  What century are you from?  Talk about class struggle on the golf course.  Obviously you would be more comfortable if Cayman were more like Imperial India.

      • Anonymous says:

        no riff raff!

      • peter milburn says:

        Maybe its the other way round .Better golfers in general at the Hyatt course.(smile)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Since building expensive homes for the wealthy generates more money than a golf course, the choice is simple.


  14. Anonymous says:

    It probably costs more to water the grass in Cayman than it costs our competitors to employ people. 

    Cayman gives a whole new meaning to "bang for the buck".

  15. Anonymous says:

    'Internal restructuring'

    LOL, Yukspeak strikes again.


  16. Anonymous says:

    The letter states that they will keep the course open as a"public course" and that a new rate structure will be set at a later date. I fear, from past experience at that course and the old Hyatt one, that those rates will be set so high as to deter all but the wealthiest retirees from playing at all.

    As the operations and profitability of a golf course are a direct function of the number of people who are persuaded to play, may I be so bold to suggest that they set the rate at a sufficiently  low level and see whether that attracts a lot more golfers to get out there and play. More players would help not only their cash flows from the course but also the pro- shop and bar sales. It would also allow their on- course staff to earn more in gratuities. A happier experience for everyone


    • Anonymous says:

      For the past few days and not since the post-Ivan refurbishment have I seen more maintanence activity.  The guys are out mowing and primping at all hours and the lawns and greens are being watered extensively.  One wouldn't think that all these efforts and expense would be incurred if they were planning to close or abandon the course.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Come on. With their water bill and the Ritz light bill I just don't understand why these entities are struggling. 

    Cayman needs to control its costs. Since the financial crisis people don't spend willy nilly anymore. Water fountains are even making a comeback.



  18. The Dragon's Den says:

    If I have to pay the six million – then you can't play golf!!  Nyah Nyah Nyah.