On September 30th, 2003, one of the partner/owners of Pacific Golf Club, a private golf course in San Clemente, CA, filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization. The club was sold the following October to the current owner, Golf Investments LLC. The new company created a plan which includes replacing the 27-hole Gary Player Signature Golf course with a brand new 18-hole Gary Player Signature Golf Course. The resultant unused portion of golf course would be rezoned for residential development. Typically when land is developed for commercial purposes, a city will require a contribution from the development company in addition to the normal fees and permits. In this case, Golf Investment LLC committed to donating 12 million dollars to help with a much needed sports park which the city had been unable to fund. The membership of the club was surveyed a short time later to discern their level of support for the new plan. The response was 96% in favor. With that level of support in mind, Golf Investment LLC promised to remain operational, even at substantial monthly losses, during the public process.
After three years of working with city staffers, the project finally came before the city planning commission, who recommended approval. In December of 2006, a small group of Pacific Golf Club members set out to discredit Pacific’s owner and gain support for an opposition movement. As confirmed by several members at the club who were approached, their motive was simply to keep Pacific at 27-holes. This is where the true fun begins.