Developmental Visions: Tom Hix, The Pronghorn Golf Resort, And The Future Of Community
This image is of the 13th hole of the Jack Nicklaus Signature course at Pronghorn, near Bend Oregon. It is near the end of the 18th hole course, and near it, is the Tom Fazio Signature course, twins of sorts, but different in texture and play. These side by side courses are just one of the unusual attractions that attracted many golfers and others to this area after it launched in 2004-5.
Pronghorn is in a unique location, on 640 acres of land, surrounded by 20,000 acres of protected federal land, a few miles outside of the town of Bend, Oregon, population about 80,000. Those of us who know Oregon, know what it's near and what it offers, realize the distinct nature of Pronghorn and it's locale. On a clear day, you can see The Three Sisters mountain range, Mt Bachelor, and Mt. Jefferson, and probably a few others in the Cascade Range. For those who are not golfers and still find themselves at this resort, there is much else to do: river rafting and fly fishing on the nearby Deschutes River; skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor, there is also horseback riding, caving, mountain biking, and hiking. And, if you have never been caving before, an unusual taste of it can be acquired while playing golf!. Pronghorn's Fazio course is home to one of the most unique holes in the world--a par three, eighth hole that includes a 45-foot canyon and exposed lava tube. The story is, no one knew about the subterranean lava tube until the golf course was being built -- as construction went along, suddenly the land entropized -- fell into itself, and revealed a large lava tube. (see image below)
In June of 2010, Troon took over the golf management component of Pronghorn, and for the first time, Pronghorn is now offering golf memberships to non-property owners providing access to the Nicklaus and Fazio courses. Two memberships are currently being offered – the Invitational Premier Golf Membership ($990/month) allows golf members to access both Fazio and Nicklaus courses while the Invitational Signature Golf Membership ($495/month) allows members to utilize the Nicklaus course. Pronghorn is offering early sign-up incentives to the first 25 members that join by December 31st, 2010.
• One week access to the Registry Collection in 2011
• Complimentary access to 5 Social Events before May 2011
• Seven nights in the Residence Club before May 2011
• First right to purchase available Memberships if/when your Invitational Golf Membership is recalled
The strength of Pronghorn's variety of golf and sports experiences moves not only from outdoor activities, but also to the variety of available residence types, with a wide range of pricing options. The Tesana homes and homesites are located between the Nicklaus and Fazio courses and near the heart of the development, ranging from $300k to $600k. Membership included in the price of real estate. Also, the The Residence Club at Pronghorn is situated along the 18th hole of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Members own an undivided interest of the Residence Club with purchase options of 1/4th, 1/6th and 1/12th fractions. Units range in size from 2000 to 2600 square feet. The 1/12 fractions ( 4 weeks) range from $95,000 to $130,000. The Pronghorn Villas range from $825K to $1.7M. Many of the home sites, range from $900,000 to $4M.
As you can see, there is much to Pronghorn, from a mixed use, awards winning golf, outdoor sports, and even lava tube perspective. The developer, Thomas Hix (see above) of Hix Rubenstein, has lived long enough to experience many real estate cycles, all of which affected his projects. His company is know for creating planned communities with a deeply eco-sensitive, green milieu. Some in process are The Bluff's At Riverbend in Madera County, near Fresno, California, Northwest Innovation Park in Redmond, Oregon, and Malibu Country Club I interviewed him recently, asking him about how this cycle has worked through Pronghorn, the lessons he has learned and how he is applying such lessons to his next project, Tuscany Hills
Luxist - How has the economy affected Pronghorn?
Hix: "Maybe it is because of our location or because of our side by side courses, but our growth has been holding steady. We have not dived into oblivion like others have. What we have seen is a new kind of demographic than before. We have seen guests and members who have become a little more frugal -- they still spend, but not as much and as extensively as before --- but in the long run that is a good thing, so we don't complain."
Luxist: What prompted you to open golf memberships to non-residents of Pronghorn?
Hix: "We are opening up our golf membership to those who do not live here, mainly because we want others -- those who live in and around Bend -- to experience what our members experience when they come here. It is the right thing to do, and the community of Pronghorn, and of Bend and Redmond, will become more inclusive as a result."
Luxist: How will you apply the lessons learned at Pronghorn to your new projects?
Hix: "One of the things we will do with one of our next projects will be to enhance the eco-sensitive aspects of community from lessons we earned at Pronghorn. We are very sensitive with the land here at Pronghorn, as it is unusual, with lava tubes, rock escarpments, all millions of years old. We incorporated our vision of Pronghorn into the billion year old topography of the land. We want to incorporate what we built into what is already there. We are stewards, really. Community stewards, actually.
"So our next project is called Tuscany Hills, near Lake Tulloch in Central California near Copperopolis. We are investigating building all the homes and ancillary buildings to LEEDS gold or platinum standards with preliminary home square footages from 1400 to 3200 square feet. Additionally all the homes will include complete water recycling systems and the project will include a 60-100 acre solar array to supply the majority of the power for the project. It will be needed in the future."
Luxist: The future?
"Well, although I would love to think there was a market for this type of project today, unfortunately I believe it will be a while until that sector recovers enough to allow a new second home project to come out of the ground. A few years. But it will be worth the wait! An active senior community with an 18 hole golf course, 335 one to two acre estate lots, a 29 slip marina, and 4.5 miles of frontage on the lake, located at the 800 foot elevation in the Sierra foothills. The project would also include a beach club near the lake. Additional amenities would include community organic gardens and a large outdoor amphitheater. The project will also include substantial health and longevity programming for the residents. In this project and in all of our others, we are mindful of the health of the environment, as well as mindful of our own health. They are interconnected, collaborative. And we are here to actualize and enliven both."
Exterior, Pronghhorn ClubHouse
15th hole, Nicklaus course with Three Sisters Range in background
Fractional Residence, Pronghorn
Tesana Home at Pronghorn
Fazio, eighth hole, Lava Tube