Only Remnants of the Matanzas Golf Course Remain

I was shocked when I drove by the old Matanzas Golf Course recently. How can such a treasure become unrecognizable so quickly? What might the future hold?

Matanzas Golf Course Clubhouse - 2014Palm Coast, FL – December 23, 2014 – I was shocked recently when I drove by the old Matanzas Golf Course recently. The clubhouse is overgrown and falling apart. The parking lot is littered with trash. Only the contours of the course remain. How can such a treasure become unrecognizable in such a short period of time? What might the future hold?

Many feel that Matanzas was the very best of Palm Coast’s original four courses. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, Matanzas Woods has been described as a "beautiful monster" and was once named one of Golf Digest's "Best New Resort Courses". This course featured a fair amount of water on the course with the Jefferson Davis Waterway cutting through the course, running parallel to some fairways on the back nine.

Matanzas Golf Course parking lot - 2014The course was purchased in October by Group Golf of Palm Coast LLC for $266,750, with $100,000 cash plus a balloon purchase money mortgage from the seller payable December 10, 2014. [Matanzas Golf Course in Palm Coast Sold] Public records do not yet show that the payment date was met. It’s common for public filings to be delayed several days, but examination of the course condition would suggest that payment has not been made.

Never stately, the clubhouse was nonetheless functional. Now, parts of it are falling down. Overgrown with Florida vegetation, the building shows signs of serial vandalism. The parking lot is strewn with trash, including several used scorecards, reminders of better times. It was apparent to me that no maintenance had been performed since the sale date, perhaps for a longer period.

Matanzas Golf Course 10th hole - 2014The outline of the course is still discernible in the January 15, 2014 Google Earth view below. The view from ground level is less revealing. The photograph at the right was taken from the 10th green, looking north toward the 10th tee box.

So what happens next? I can only speculate. The buyer’s need for a balloon mortgage suggests that their financial position is weak. If so, even if they make the payment deadline, the outlook for further investment is poor in the short term. That’s not good news because vegetation grows fast in Florida.

If the balloon mortgage remains unpaid, the seller has the option to foreclose or to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure.  A deed in lieu might happen quickly, allowing the seller to take title and renew periodic maintenance. A foreclosure would take several months, allowing the property’s condition to deteriorate further.

Jim Cullis’s offer for Matanzas is starting to look better. And residents of Ocean Hammock and Hammock Beach should be glad they have a developer willing to pony up a $72M investment in the resort.

Read 'Perfect storm' wreaking havoc on Florida golf courses for more insight on the future of golf courses.

January 15, 2014 Google Earth View of Matranzas Golf Course

Matanzaz Golf Course aerial - Google Earth January 15, 2014

34 replies
  1. JQ
    JQ says:

    Perfect fit

    Give rights to Salamander build the new Hotel here …it a perfect fit.

    The can resurrect this area….! I can think of no better use…let’s be pro business and give them this parcel to develop, replacing their current plan….put a 198 room and conference center here.

  2. Dr. David J. Widom
    Dr. David J. Widom says:

    Mantanzas Woods golf Course

    The golf course closed in 2007, which was then owned by the Grand Club. As ground was being broken for my custom house, just behind the 15 green of Matanzas Woods G.C., the Grand club closed the course after renovating the Pines, and their other course near town center.
    Unfortunately the Great Recession hit, and not only did construction of homes stop, but golf went into a steep decline. This situation with golf is nationwide. More courses have closed since then to present most charging $40.00 or less. Due to circumstances the middle class has less disposable income, with very few salary increases, as employers health care costs doubled from $6,200.00 per employee to double presently, within 5-6 years. This leaves little money for salary bumps. Since Palm Coast is primarily dependent on home building, during the 2007-2013 period many workers dependent on construction jobs went elsewhere, including builders.
    Golf Group of Palm Coast, LLC is a separate entity set up by one that has 6 or 7 functioning golf courses in northern Fl., from the east to the panhandle.
    Matanzas Woods G.C. has been closed almost 8 years. Golf greens and fairways deteriorate very quickly when not maintained. The original clubhouse was a piece of garbage when the course was open, and can easily be replaced by a triple wide trailer, like Palm Harbor did. Whether or not Matanzas Woods opens or not, Golf Group of Palm Coast, LLC’s parent corporation, knows the business, and for a song bought the property that once featured, one of the best golf courses in Fl. All things tend to cycle around, and with 10,000-12,000 baby boomers turning 65 everyday, for another 13 years, if we start from Jan. 2015, which will mean at the end of the baby boom era 77 to 78 million seniors will have joined the ranks. I think this company took a small risk.
    David J. Widom, D.P.M.

  3. Groot
    Groot says:

    Bad tming for article.

    If Cullis tries to get involved again, the community, except for a few self-serving realtors, will roundly reject him again. If the new owners were to give up on the project they would give up on a $100,000 investment. I doubt they want to give up on $100,000. Regarding the state of the property, the plan as related, is to tear down existing structures, not to repair them. The city has the power to enforce minimal care of the course but they chose not to. I suppose in a way, they’re trying to smoke us out. Unfortunate article on Christmas Eve, I expected more from the local realtor community. But wait, this is Palm Coast. Even the mention of Cullis+Christmas=memories of 2013 a Christmas past season ruined by meetings with that man at Matanzas High School.

  4. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    At Variance Conditions and Issues

    To: “Heidi Shipley”
    Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2014 11:30 AM
    Subject: Federal Trade Commission of the United States of America Consent Agreement F.T.C. C-2854 and Federally Ordered ‘ 15 Year Compliance Report’.

    > Dear Ms. Shipley:
    > Good Morning.
    > GoToby, an online news source just reported an updated condition of the
    > Matanzas Woods Golf Course. As you are aware the ‘ Matanzas Woods Golf
    > Couse ‘ is encumbered by the Federal Trade Commissions Consent Agreement
    > F.T.C. C-2854 and its’ Federally ordered ‘ 15 Year Compliance Report.’
    > Therein, the Matanzas Woods Golf Course is clearly listed as Federally
    > Ordered ‘ Golf Course Recreational’ acreage Exhibits – more specifically ‘
    > Palm Coasts Recreational Facilities Inventory ‘ – ‘ Exhibit B’.
    > At your earliest convenience please arrange for the at variance
    > conditions and issues to be corrected in a prompt and timely fashion.
    > May I , at this time, ask when will I be again able to enjoy this Federally
    > Ordered REDRESS for me/us/PalmCoasters?
    > Thank you.
    > Merry Christmas.
    > Regards,
    > George

  5. Groot
    Groot says:

    No deadline set in stone.

    If I read the document correctly, the buyers have quite a bit of time to make the payment without penalty at least 15 and then another 60 days. Also, it can be paid off at any time without penalty. I have to note we are talking private property and no one is supposed to be on that property without the owners permission.

  6. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    Community MILESTONE – Matanzas W.G.Course

    @ Dr. David J. Widom – RE: Matanzas Woods Golf Course Clubhouse – It may be prudent to have the owners consider restoring the Original Clubhouse. Please share with them that I am Steward of Historical Documents clearly stating and showing that the Matanzas Woods Golf Course is a ‘ Palm Coast Community Milestone ‘. These documents could be used if someone pursues a Historic Heritage MARKER for the Golf Course and making it then available for possible Grant Monies. Also I was present when ‘ Arnies Army ‘ and Arnold Palmer hit the Golf Club against the Clubhouse to christen the opening of the Matanzas Woods Golf Course – yes, known as one of the best Golf Courses in Florida. Hopefully the Golf Club has been saved. Additionally, to my knowledge so far, the Matanzas Woods Golf Course / the ‘ Four Sisters ‘, are the only Golf Courses Federally ORDERED to be built by the Government of the United States of America. If successful it can then be submitted for consideration in the State of Floridas’ Golf Trail. Pls. let the owners know that I am Steward of the above and I will gladly provide copies of my originals should they pursue this. Thank you very much.

  7. matt
    matt says:

    60 days, only

    Its been 60 days…the place looks the same as when we bought it…we own many other real estate parcels and do many other things. Your comments are off base on the ballon.We are getting quotes on different aspects of this project. 7 years of non use and it will look like this.

  8. RC
    RC says:

    Cullis’s offer looks awful

    Your article on Matanzas Woods Golf Course is completely and unfairly biased toward real estate development and against the current owners and their plan to restore a beautiful golf course.

    Where were you in year ago when the course and facilities looked just as bad? Why do you feel the need to trash the new owners after allowing the previous owners to let the course get to this point while they focused on Pine Lakes and Cypress? How can you expect the new owners to fix in 60 days what the prior owners cannibalized over 7 years? If you truly appreciated the course’s standing as “a treasure,” and “the very best of Palm Coast’s original four courses,” I would expect you to support the new owners in their intention to restore it to its previous rank as one of the best.

    No Jim Cullis’ plan to replace the golf course with houses does not look better – not now and not in the future. Maybe it does to real estate agents and builders, but not to those of us who live here and truly appreciate the golf community of Palm Coast.

  9. Jr.
    Jr. says:

    It is what it is!

    Toby has been around the Palm Coast and the area golf courses for many years. He constantly gives a factual opinion that not many people like to hear. I can not speak to how the contract for the sale of Matanzas is written. I am sure Matt Richardson and the previous owners know…and that is all that really matters. I can, however, speak to the state of golf in this county. I would like an answer to this question…How many golf courses is Flagler County or the surrounding area for that matter, turn a profit? I have 16 years of experience in all aspects of the golf industry, 14 of it in Flagler County. I Have trouble believing that Matanzas, as a golf course, could be profitable! Mark it as a “historical course”, does not mean it will make money! I believe Matt Richardson has good intentions for the property, as did the two previous owners. I hope that Matt does his homework before jumping into the renovation of Matanzas! The two previous owners did…and look at how the property sits! Could Matanzas be profitable in a number of years? Yes! Only if the upfront renovation money is not considered! We are talking what could be well over $5 million! Mr. Richardson should go to area courses and talk to the General Managers and Golf Course Superintendents about the cost associated with a project like Matanzas! Even maintaining to city code is not cheap! The best recommendation for the residents of Matanzas is to support any project! Park, golf course, up scale housing, whatever…it is better than what you have! The same residents that demand Matanzas be returned to a golf course are the same that won’t pay the $60 or more a round that would be necessary in order to eventually make money! Too much competition in this area! Golf right now is a dog eat dog world…only the strong and well funded will survive!

  10. Jr.
    Jr. says:


    Cannibilized? What got taken away from Matanzas and brought to the other two? The greens? No, Hampton Golf killed them in 2007! Equipment? Nope, that was turned in to the leasing company when the course closed! Employees? Nope, the two other courses operate with less than a third the staff that they once did! Ask the owners of Cypress or the new owners of Pine how well they are doing! Conditions are going down…especially at Pine! Why? Because golf is not what it was in Palm Coast! It is a fact! Everyone can brainstorm and speculate about the future of Matanzas…the fact of the matter is that numbers do not lie! I would again like to commend Toby for his years of factual reporting on the state of golf in Palm Coast! My point of view is not one of a realtor, it is one of a professional that has made career out of golf! The future of the industry in this city is scary! Matanzas could just be the tip of the iceberg!

  11. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    This Old Palm Coast Golf Course

    Perhaps the new owners of our beloved Matanzas Woods Golf Course could look into something like this:
    This OLD Palm Coast Golf Course or something similar to this below :

    ‘…This Old Course:
    It was my editor’s idea. ” Find an old golf course,” he said, ” one that’s being renovated. Hook up with the architect and see if he’ll let you hang out with him. Follow the project from beginning to end and write it up as a series. ” My editor even had a name for the series: This Old Course…’ *1

    *1 FROM: John Garrity’s Top 50 Golf Course Ranking and

    Perhaps if the new Owners consider this it could further enhance the chances to getting a historic Heritage MARKER.

    We already have ‘ This Old Palm Coast House ‘ – Stewards – M/M Shawn Needham, 5 Clark Lane, Palm Coast:

    This Old House – Restoring Palm Coast History, Renovating a Neighborhood

    The number ‘ 31’ is etched into the pink bathroom countertop at 5 Clark Lane, authenticating that the residence was the 31st home built in Palm Coast by Levitt & Sons in 1972. When ITT ( International Telephone & Telegraph) Corporation developed this City, they aligned with nationally-renowned Levitt to create innovative home designs that enhanced a sense of community and symbolized the Florida dream.
    In the early 1970’s, buyers in our new planned community paid approximately $ 45,00 to build this DeSoto Model on Clark Lane, with the lot costing an additional $ 3,400.00. Eight months ago, Rhonda and Shawn Needham became the third owners of the property, purchasing it for $65,000. Their plan is to now lovingly restore its uniqueness and replicate the way it looked forty years ago.
    “We fell in love with its character and motif,” the Needhams say:
    “But when we learned more about the home’s history and tradition, we resolved to maintain its integrity and make this a base for neighborhood renewal.”
    The Needhams and their 10 year old daughter, Angel, have been systematically researching the genealogy of their home. They discovered that the Pioneer settlers, the Nunzio Palladino family, built 5 Clark Lane in 1972 and eventually sold to the Goldmans, who owned it for 30+ years. This address eventually became home to the neighborhood Palm Coast Dance Club and the Daytona Beach Symphonettes. Homeowners in this Palm Harbor section would gather weekly to either sway to the hottest dance numbers or enjoy an evening of live classical and jazz music.
    Viewing the home’s recent restoration is truly inspirational Original kitchen cabinet sections have been mended. Ceiling beams have been lovingly repaired. Spanish trim has been added to model the 1970’s design. And the next steps are to repaint the outside with the home’s original color and re-plant some of the authentic landscaping.
    Hopefully, the Needham’s efforts will be rewarded in the coming years with a U.S. National Registry for Historic Homes designation. But this story is hardly about recognition.
    ” 5 Clark Lane is so much more than timer, cement and mortar,” Rhonda and Shawn state. ” It is a structure that has seen joy and sorrow, dreams and heartbreaks. We hope to restore and maintain its emotional and physical integrity for future generations of Palm Coast families.”

    For me, I am restoring the interior of my Levitt I.T.T. ‘ Santa Rosa’ Model in the original ‘ African Safari ‘ design. Yesterday, a lady knocks on my door asking to see my ‘ Santa Rosa ‘. She came from Prague, Czechoslovakia , …and she said ‘ ..I didin’t know Palm Coast had such rich Heritage and History…’. I think I’ll make an offer on 7 Clark Lane. ( being offered by Trademark Realty – an original Levitt & I.T.T. ‘ Boca Rio ‘ Model ). I don’t know if she made an offer, but, one house at a time…and maybe Palm Coast can be Grand again like we were last Century !
    We can hope – one house at a time…
    When the prospective buyer from Prague was looking at the bathrooms…( still in original Yellow ) she said I will have to look for a toilet and sink in yellow…The Needhams replied..’…We have a spare Historic Toilet we can give you…’.
    Several months ago we were told that on Garbage day someone in the historic Canal Section was throwing out Toilets, a blue one ( which the Needhams needed, and a spare Yellow One ). We walked over to the area very quickly and grabbed them up…walking down Clubhouse drive carrying toilets…People honked their horns ( they knew what we are trying to accomplish )…and we carried them down Clubhouse drive to Clark Lane…
    So see, even if it takes one Historic Toilet at a time !
    Yes, it is hard work but fun too.

    To the new Owners – we’ll help you if we can, but NO NO NO, you can’t have any of our Historic Toilets for your restoration. Nope.

  12. Groot
    Groot says:

    Leave it alone for now.

    As noted by Matt, it has only been a relatively small period of time since they took possession. I understand that this is a big business decision for them I also have a lot of patience with the matter. I would like to point out that the timing for this article was very, very disappointing and poor. It is after all, the holidays and we’re all trying to kick back and enjoy this time of year. This time of year was robbed from us in 2013 by the Cullis mess and all those meetings at the high school. Also, we who live in the area, especially on the course property are well aware of what it looks like, so no need for the pics. I don’t tell Cullis what to do with his neighborhood, not sure where Toby lives but I don’t tell him what to do with his neighborhood. In other words, please stay out of it and let the process work. I’m not sure what instigated this article at this time but as I have said, it is very poor timing. Please leave it alone for now, you do not live here.

  13. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to RC

    I would like nothing more than to see the Matanzas Golf Course return to its former glory. I played it many times and enjoyed every round. But the golf industry and the nation’s demographics have changed. Given those changes, I do not see how the course will ever be reincarnated.
    There will always be a place for daily play courses, probably operating with public subsidies as Palm Harbor does. On the other end, there will always be exclusive private courses for the 2%. And there will be vacation resort courses like Salamander’s dream for Hammock Beach. But the days of middle class member-supported clubs is passing. For today’s young potential golfers, the game is too time consuming, too hard to learn and too expensive. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
    I wish the new owners well but I’m not placing bets on their success in turning Matanzas around.

  14. RC
    RC says:

    Jr. Cannibilzed course

    Jr, I was referring to the fact, that was told to me by former employes that the irrigation system had been pulled apart and used on the other courses. I could make the claim that funding of resources that should have been used on Mantanzas were ” cannibilzed ” to keep the other two courses going. I would agree with you that it will be very hard to start up a new course. If there is a limited number and growth of golfers, than whoever can offer the best product will survive. Who is to say a new rebuilt Mantanzas woods golf course just might be able to provide that service.

  15. Jr.
    Jr. says:

    Reply to RC

    Yes, a previous company did take some irrigation heads for a project they had in Jacksonville. In a renovation, those heads would of needed to be replaced any way. I agree that a properly constructed and managed Matanzas could rival most golf courses in the area. Here is my issue…unless the owner of Matanzas has extremely deep pockets with plenty of “oh shoot” money, they would have to price themselves out of the market as it pertains to cost of a round/membership! We are not talking a private club in a gated community or a resort course. I estimate a renovation of Matanzas to cost around $5-$7 million. That is a lot of money to make up! I read that something like 14 courses opened last year and 160 closed! Not odds that I would gamble on!

  16. Brad West
    Brad West says:

    Spot On Assessment Of The Situation

    Like you, Toby, I’ve been skeptical of this purchase. Ballooning a portion of a $266k purchase does not say much for the capital these owners have available. It will be millions to get the course in any type of shape to re-open. Since no one has ever heard publicly from these new owners, we can only go off the facts in front of us. Not making that balloon payment on time doesn’t say much for the ability of this group to make anything real happen with this course. I am not confident at all at this point that the Matanzas Course will see any difference any time soon.

    The bottom line with the Matanzas course property is, and always has been, that it’s negatively impacting home values. The golf course “frontage” is about privacy, view, and closeness to outdoor activity that make the surrounding properties attractive. An overgrown brown mess does not provide the same the attractiveness and thus is why Matanzas home values are lagging behind similar neighborhoods in Palm Coast while a real estate recovery has been taking place.

    I’m for a solution that allows the value of my home that sits along the once 9th fairway to improve. It would be nice if these buyers would be open with the community as to who they are and exactly what their plans are, but it’s obvious that is not the type of neighbors they are or will be. What Mr. Cullis brought as an idea of a regional park and solution to restore property values was the best in my opinion. Silly bored neighbors can shout “real estate conspiracy theory” all they want. A regional park could have made Matanzas unique and extremely attractive to buyers. But instead because of a few narrow-minded and selfish neighbors the entire subdivision will continue to suffer with their property values held back. IF these new owners can re-open it I am all for it and agree that will help values, but I am NOT holding my breath. Nor do I think that it will stay open long even if these owners re-open.

  17. Groot
    Groot says:

    Have a Happy New Year.

    How unfortunate that his situation has been brought forward again by a greedy few in the realtor community to make a few bucks while some of them crap in their own backyard. There new owners. Refer to the comment by Matt that now has a pile of detritus on top of it. It has not been that long. A reminder, anyone who does not have permission to be on that property needs to stay off of it. I have been and I will continue to be contacting the sheriff when I see anyone on the propery without permission. If you don’t own it or have permission, stay off it. If you don’t own it, you can do nothing with it. The debate is over for now. It’s up to Matt and his partner to decide at this point. If it does not work out, then we can resume this stupid debate later. Have a Happy New Year.

  18. Jr.
    Jr. says:

    Question for Groot

    After reading your comments here and the comments on the Save Matanzas Facebook page…I would assume that you are the operator of that FB page. So here is my question…where did your profile picture come from? On the page you said that it is the view from your house. However, it appears to me to be a view looking directly down a tee to the fairway. Possibly hole 5 or 6? No houses look directly down those two holes! Maybe follow your own advice and stay off the property! Or is it ok if it is for your use? Crazy double standard! Funny how things can be done when it is to your advantage! If you don’t like facts and the truth…I suggest not reading my comments that are above Mat Richardsons!

  19. Groot
    Groot says:

    Refer all to Matt’s earlier post

    I can recall attending a meeting with Grossman, Esposito and code enforcement staff last winter and Ms Grossman explained that not even they were allowed to be on the clubhouse or course property. I would still refer all to Matt’s earlier post under all the posts, he’s one of the current owners. Have a Happy New Year!

  20. Brad West
    Brad West says:

    I Would Not Hold My Breath

    I was curious as to why this new owner has been so quiet. Nothing about the news of this sale seemed positive to me. So I did a little research and here’s the lowdown:

    1. Group Golf Of Palm Coast (sound familiar?) is an LLC formed in September of 2014 by STEPHEN Richardson and Michael Yokan of Jacksonville.

    2. Neither have any visible experience associated with running a golf course or re-opening one.

    3. Their business address of record (2822 St Johns Ave Jacksonville, FL) appears to be a residential address but does not appear in the St Johns County Property Appraiser records. 2824 St Johns Ave is owned by Michael Yokan and is a mutli-family building.

    Toby is spot on to be skeptical about anything happening with the Matanzas Golf Course. I, as a homeowner with Matanzas Golf Course frontage, will be able to do anything positive with the property. What I am more concerned with now is the property going into foreclosure again and anyone with any crazy notion could scoop it up at that point. I don’t who this Matt person is, but I think whoever this Group Golf of Palm Coast, LLC really is needs to coe forward and speak with their neighbors letting us know what their actual plans are and if they are truly capable of doing anything positive with the property.

  21. Groot
    Groot says:

    Doubting Thomas, negative attitude.

    Please refer to Matt’s post under all the posts, some that do not apply. Regarding the new doubting Thomas, negative attitude post, the research regarding the new owners in that post is sparse and ill prepared at best. Mr Yokan, a successful attorney, owns several entertainment vernues in the Jax area, an education music business and…a restoration business that specializes in rebuilding and rehabing older businesses and historic buildings. Their office is in a restored historic area of Jax. The point is, these are people who know what they are doing and have the bucks to back it up. I have to point out that there is no way, ever on God’s green earth that residents on the course will ever allow Mr Cullis back in and we will never forget what one or two realtors tried to do to our neighborhood last year to make a few dollars for their own pockets. Have a Happy New Year.

  22. RC
    RC says:

    Good vibes?

    Mr West, it is sheer folloy to read anything into someone’s financal plans without knowing a lot more inside information. I share your concerns about the course and I wonder why all the negativity towards the only people who have showen an interest in rebuilding the course. Lets at least support these people who are willing to invest time and money in trying to rebuild the course. A up and running golf course will increase your value far more than a basketball court and or houses in your back yard. It is in all our interest’s to back this endevor and let it play out. Lets frame this as a positive development, because it is.

  23. Brad West
    Brad West says:

    It’s Important To Be Informed


    I think now, and always have thought, that it is important that residents of Matanzas Woods be properly informed about the issues surrounding the Matanzas Golf Course property. Unfortunately, we have several neighbors who are newer residents (we built 10 years ago and have a golf course frontage home) and have insisted on spreading rumors and lies for childish personal agendas and simple golf advocacy. Let’s get a few things straight so you can better understand my position:

    1. I am ALL for any improvements in the property that would restore the value in our property that we have lost over the last 10 years. As I have said on many ocassions, that “improvement” would NOT be having houses built on fairways and anyone speculating any homeowner with golf course frontage would want that is just plain foolish.

    2. I am NOT a Realtor although I have assisted my wife who is a local Realtor in the area going on 8 years now. There is NO real estate professionals conspiracy going on regarding that property. This insistence that Realtors want homes built on the property to “make money” is absolutely absurd. In regards to my wife, we would lose far more on our own home that we love. Likewise, you would devalue the entire neighborhood long-term. There are plenty of places to build that are far more attractive to buyers in this area than houses squeezed into the middle of others. No smart Realtor would even waste their time trying to show such a silly location for new builds.

    3. It is NOT enough to be happy that “someone came forward to try”. That property directly effects surrounding owners. This was exactly the type of buyer I have serious concerns over because it has opened the very real possibility of the property going back into foreclosure and/or continuing to deteriorate further for much longer than it needs to. Another foreclosure could very well open up the possibility of a developer with less than desirable ideas to scoop up the property.

    4. That property is looking at over $10 million in repairs to be operable. This group has not shown one bit of being able to, or willing, to make that kind of investment. In fact, this Matt person who is a supposed owner has made a statement of needing more time to “evaluate”. He didn’t bother thinking it was a good idea to “evaluate” prior to closing the deal? And Mr. Yokan’s experience running “entertainment venues” is NOT golf. So I am supposed to be confident that these individuals know what they are doing and can make something positive happen? You are then expecting blind faith in something and that’s just silly.

    5. Golf is declining in the area. Palm Harbor runs at a deficit of about $100,000 every year. The Pine Course is struggling financially. Cypress Knoll was sold off by the owners. Grand Reserve and the Conservatory were both added after the closure of Matanzas Woods. Developers that once planned on adding golf courses to upcoming communities are abandoning the idea. Why should one think that a re-opened Matanzas is going to be profitable and remain open long-term? Because it was once popular? So were many other golf courses, but that doesn’t change the fact that golf is saturated in the area and does not have the demand it once had, and nothing is indicating that the demand will increase locally.

    So, no, RC I am far from thinking positive and far from confident we will ever see a Matanzas Course that once was. And I am far from confident that we will not be back in the same boat and strapped with an ever deteriorating mess holding back our values far longer than they should be in a recovering real estate market. As a community I think we need to be smart and be open to other smart ideas while having mature and meaningful discussions after what I am quite surely will be a failure and bailing out by these new owners. Yes, if they somehow make it happen and re-open a great new course I am all for that too but am NOT holding my breath.

  24. Groot
    Groot says:

    Alway check on local realtors!

    Toby and several larger media sources posted articles on this subject a while back. Regarding local realtors, always, I mean always, do background checks on the local realtors. Check the sheriff’s website for arrests and the court site for charges and convictions. The State of Florida has a very weak oversight role for most occupations and real estate is no exception. There are local realtors with not only misdemeanor but also, felonly charges and arrests in their past. Example, our first realtor was arrested for beating up an individual in his office while working for us. He had a criminal history of arrest charges. I should have checked. Always check the sheriff and court sites. These sites are public record and available to all of us.

  25. RC
    RC says:

    looking for common ground and understanding.

    Mr West, after reading your first two paragraphs I can tell you I have felt that way about building houses on the course from the get go. Maybe I have missed something or misunderstood something. I thought the (not all) real estate and building community were strongly supporting Mr. Cullis”s plan to build houses in and around the golf course. I thought your wife referred to the Cullis plan as a missed opportunity back last winter. If it was not your wife’s article I read, that would be my bad. This web site and many City Officials have made that “Cullis missed opportunity” deal very clear. This article got my attention with the phrase “Cullis deal looking better”. From what I just read in your response to me it would seem you could see no way his plan would work. The end game of the Culls plan could also have been a foreclosure and things could have been worse than what we have now.
    As far as blind faith (great record BTW), I have done a lot of research on the whole golfing industry, past, present and future and know how unlikely it would be to rebuilt the course. But, if someone has the money and patience, anything is possible. That is always the case, money changes everything. No matter who takes a stab at this property there will be a good chance of failing. We like you live on a fairway here, we built in 1990 and if this current plan for the course fails we all will be up that creek. I guess I am a half full type of dude. To be honest I am tired of the whole situation and the ill will it has caused. where are our City leaders, why have they not been more involved.

  26. Brad West
    Brad West says:

    Common Ground And Understanding


    Yes, I think you have misunderstood several things about the situation. And a lot of the confusion in my opinion for everyone was a result of mature discussion not being able to take place.

    First of all, yes my wife and I as homeowners here think Cullis’ idea was a good opportunity. Personal opinion based upon professional experience. His original idea was pretty simple:

    1. He purchase the land

    2. A small portion in the northeast corner near the clubhouse, but not including the clubhouse, be sectioned off and he would keep that. That is where he would build about 100 to 200 homes. Look at Google Maps, it’s pretty obvious homes were going there anyway eventually. Landmar had planned for it, and no one said a thing.

    3. The remainder of the golf course property be donated to the City with an agreement that it be improved as a regional park but keeping the contour of the course and existing cart paths. The clubhouse could even become a community center.

    This way you have 18 fairways that become open areas. You have pathways for walking, rollerblading, biking, etc. Lakes for fishing. There would easily be options for the City to lease out portions for someone to run a driving range. So forth and so on. All the while, the property becomes protected (from development and foreclosures) and if someone wanted to come in and re-open it as a course, the City could sell it to them and the new owners have a property in much better position to re-develop. In the meantime you have a property that supports a lot of outdoor activity for all in close proximity making Matanzas Woods much more desirable, increase the neighborhood value, and therefore increase property value.

    At NO time was it ever mentioned that there were plans to build in any area other than what I mentioned above. So, yes, I and my wife thought it was a great idea very much worth discussing as a community. And, yes, we still do think it was a missed opportunity. Unfortunately, discussion was not allowed to happen.

    I, too, am about over the whole situation. It’s become just absurd in all honesty. If these owners open a course, again, I am all for it. I just do not see it happening, and see this current matter as just other “golf” owner who says they will re-open and don’t. Again, not holding my breath.

  27. Groot
    Groot says:


    Regarding Mr West, he has a null and void real estate license in the State of Florida. His wife has a real estate license and her own real estate business. They both had a vested interest in the breaking up and sale of the Matanzas Woods Golf Course for residences, not golf. This is why he supported Jim Cullis last year. The Matanzas Woods Golf Course is now owned by another party and not for sale. Enough said, property is not for sale and the current owners are taking estimates to eventually develop the property as a golf course with some limited high end homes and all new buildings. We will all benefit by this. Find another cause Mr West, this one is settled for now. I will never forget those miserable meetings at Matanzas Woods HS last winter, how it all went down and ruined our holidays. I also learned thru some research on the Flagler County Court and Sheriff sites that accused felons can and still do, practice real estate sales in Flagler County. Always check an agents background before listing with them, always. It is a position of trust and you are giving them access to your home and finances.

  28. RC
    RC says:

    Not sure you you might be missing some facts as we

    Mr. West, actually ITT had that land plotted for development with a bridge over the Jeff Davis Cannel that would connect Mantanzas woods with at least two more golf course communities as you head up to the Interstate.
    My problem with the Collis plan has nothing to do with building above the driving range. The real issue is he is dumping his responsibility for the golf course that he would have bought for a song on to everybody in Palm Coast. Why is it that a great deal for all of Palm Coast to bail out the previous owner’s bad business decision and bail out a new owner so he can build house’s for chump change while leaving the community in a bad situation? Where is the demand for these new houses? Why are we bailing these people out?
    Do you really expect the City to take up a problem that a builder will not touch?
    The cost to maintain the course as related to me by the previous owners was $80,000.00 a year. The bulk of that cost is for water mitigation. Almost all the walkways will (as they were in January 2014) have to be replaced. The clubhouse needs to be replaced, the parking lot has issues, all most all the irrigation is gone. You cannot have driving ranges without water and electricity, and the course will turn to dust if there is no water. If you add insurance and cleaning up the forest and the over grown ponds that is a lot of money that is coming from our taxes.
    There is no protection for the course no matter what they do.
    ITT built this course on one quarter acre lots. As of the last zoning change (2008 I think) we are in a minimum one acre lot zone on the course. If the City owned this course it could decide to just sell it to anybody at any time and be done with it. Trust me the City does not want this to be their issue.
    I would reconsider Mr. Cull’s plan if he included fixing the problems I mentioned above and together with the City Officials at his side agreed to protect the integrity of the course until someone can rebuild the course.
    I think we are almost on the same page here, I just think this way holds the buyers and the City more accountable and thus less chance of us getting screwed.

  29. Groot
    Groot says:

    Someone else owns the course now.

    The problem with any plan is that someone else owns the course now and it’s not for sale. They are working on getting estimates for the renovation. They have a plan and it does include a few higher end homes. I suggest we all just wait until that process is complete and we hear from Mr Richardson and they present their plan. In the meantime, lets all just chill out now and let them get this right. Again, please refer to one of the owner’s, Mr Richardson’s comment which is somewhere way down there in the comment string. As Matt said, it’s early on in the process. We have waited this long, we can wait a while longer.

  30. Brad West
    Brad West says:



    In all honesty all of this is a moot point, but one last response to your points. I’m sorry, but I feel you are incorrect and do not agree.

    No, nothing about a plan for the course was “a bailout”. The City was aware of the idea and several people thought it was a good idea. There is quite a bit of money slated for parks and recreation in our City. None of which is going to Matanzas Woods right now. We, as a City, benefit far more long-term from the additional tax revenue that comes from increased values and better new builds with that property being improved and functional as a benefit to resdients (whether that be view and/or activity). The real truth is that Mr. Cullis was trying to help. What he stood to make was the money he would have been putting out in the first place. And he would not have made that back for a few years. It is very sad to me how the man was treated and has been characterized simply because of his profession.

    But, again, there are new owners who seem to think they can re-open this course. It does not look promising at all. It appears they lack the experience, plan, and financial resources to actually make it happen. I think Toby has done a great job in providing coverage of the situation. And I agree with him on this point that we did miss a good opportunity and the new owners do not look promising. But, again, if they can . . . good for us as homeowners.

  31. Groot
    Groot says:

    Shhhhhhhhhhh! It’s a secret.

    Sure is quiet on the Matanzas Golf Course front. Wonder why it’s so darn quiet? Hmmmmm? Checked the public search option on the Flagler County Court site a while back and noticed the unpaid balance on the mortgage for the course has been assigned to the Matanzas Land LLC. Checked Maranzas Land LLC on sunbiz and it belongs to of all people, James T Cullis. The LLC was formed on 1/27/15 and the assignment took place on 2/3/15. What a coincidence! It’s common knowledge in the neighborhood these days. Wonder why it’s been kept so quiet? What’s the secret?

  32. Robert McKenna
    Robert McKenna says:


    Face facts, Jim Landon & company don’t want the course back, Builders will make a fortune fast with new construction, Jim Cullis never went away, he just found another way to Build, I bought here just because it was a golf course community, the politics here are horrible, yet Landon protected Cypress by making sure the zoning can never be changed, they changed the zoning on Mantanzas without no one knowing years ago, when I moved here, a huge bill board said, Mantanzas Woods, a Golf Course Community, I was personally offered to purchase the entire course for the price of $250,000 with several others at the meeting with the owners, smoke screen BS is all you get, Palm Coast does what they want when they want, CORRUPT officials. I have witnesses to back it up, we got screwed.

  33. Gary R. Crumley, ASLA
    Gary R. Crumley, ASLA says:

    A new idea for a Master Plan is coming soon July 2

    As a design professional with a Florida Friendly motto I am pleased to announce there is a master plan for the course that is being discussed as of this writing. The prospect of a mixed use design offering an updated 9 hole course and the opportunity to add features to the site like a farm to table blueberry farm and the prospect of a less water intensive links design could be a boon for the location and the owners who have not been pleased with the demise of a great and beautiful Palmer design course.The clubhouse could be updated and an updated signage and monument plan would give the area a fresh approach to a dilapidated and neglected area of Palm Coast. I have been approached to offer a proposal for services and am interested in a design solution that respects the past while acknowledging that the future is a dynamic and ever changing world.I am interested in bringing my forty plus years of experience in northeast Florida to bear as a creative and innovative architect and master planner. There is great potential for a resurgence in this wonderful and historic place. As a member of Arnie’s army since the sixties I have been privileged to work in the field of landscape architecture and personally got to know Ed Seay and his wonderful staff in Ponte Vedra Beach. As a design consultant to the Plantation at Ponte Vedra I helped them renovate their Ocean Club and Golf Clubhouse facilities in the mid 2000’s.
    Although many of my associates have taken to hard times in the last ten years I am hopeful that the worst of it is behind us. The prospect of a less maintenance intensive land use concept combined with a new vision of what a golf community can be is a great idea whose time has come. Imagine the farm to table market prospering from the support of the new millennials in eager attendance while neighbors share in their growing their own sustainable crops. Imagine the golf experience where you can enjoy eating fresh fruit from the fairways as I have done in the beautiful city of Acapulco. Their course uses two tee boxes, one elevated, one at ground level to create an eighteen hole experience with nine greens in use. A two hour siesta is mandatory during the mid day sun and a “Pinky Bar” sells beverages at the fifth tee and at the clubhouse. The unique and wonderful experience has been a favorite memory of mine as a college student exploring the country of Mexico. Fresh ideas for new economies. I look forward to the opportunity and the challenge this project will bring. Until I meet with the people and the owners this will only serve as one man’s imagination offering the what-ifs of a potential design solition as beautiful and unique as the community we live in. Visit my daily broadcasts on or follow me on Facebook or Instagram and check my credentials on Linked In. Sandy Toes Society is my artist’s gift to the world and is absolutely free.
    As a resident of Florida for 47 years I am proud to be a local.

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