GolfBC completes sale of Cobble Hill course

In a bid to focus its energy and resources on its golf courses and developments close to larger cities, GolfBC has completed the sale of Arbutus Ridge Golf Course in Cobble Hill.

Terms of the deal, which became official last week, were not disclosed, but it means the 28-year-old golf course is now under the control of Yi Jing Golf Club Inc.

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GolfBC, which purchased the course in 1992, said existing staff and management will not be affected, and all memberships at the club will remain in place.

However, the course is no longer part of GolfBC programs, partnerships and loyalty programs.

A representative from Yi Jing was not immediately available Thursday.

Arbutus Ridge Golf Course has been on the market for more than a year after the GolfBC Group and its parent company, Burrard Group, announced it had adopted a new “strategic direction” of focusing on the development of mixed-use residential communities and commercial projects located within 20 kilometres of major metropolitan centres and resorts.

“That ties into our development side,” said Andy Hedley, GolfBC’s vice-president of golf operations, noting courses need traffic, which means they are more successful close to cities or resorts.

Hedley said the company is now able to focus on its key properties — Olympic View on the West Shore, seven other courses around B.C. and three on Maui.

“There will be major reinvestment into our current products,” he said, noting at Olympic View that has meant the renovation of its clubhouse and preparation for mixed-use real estate development beside the course.

Golf is making a comeback as a business after suffering through the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, Hedley said. He said the business was soft between 2009 and 2012.

“That was challenging for us as it was for everybody,” he said. “We’ve seen the other side of that now and things have been going very well and rounds are now increasing every year.”

Construction at Arbutus Ridge, designed by Bill Robinson, started in 1987 and saw the first nine holes open in 1988. The club opened as an 18-hole course in 1991.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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