The ownership change that now has Eagle Four Partners and Pacific Hospitality Group, LLC in charge of the Newport Beach Country Club and Balboa Bay Club means more discussions and meetings between owners and country club members to come up with a new golf clubhouse for a course that hosts the Toshiba Classic each year.
"We are not committed to building that clubhouse," said Kevin Martin, a principal partner with Eagle Four. "We're still in the evaluation process."
Martin was talking about the expanded clubhouse proposed by Newport Beach Country Club Inc. earlier this year.
The new ownership group has hired a consultant, and plans to conduct focus groups with members, Martin said.
"We need to be sensitive to the members involved in the process, and be respectful to the history of the club," he said.
The current beige-colored clubhouse covers 23,469 square feet and was built in the 1950s, according to an attachment of a city staff report.
Asked about any areas of focus, Martin said that views of the Pacific Ocean and 18th green could be part of discussions.
In January the City Council, by a 6-1 vote, allowed for a 56,000-square-foot clubhouse with an expanded banquet facility to be built on the property at 1600 East Coast Highway. The council also voted, 6-1, to allow for a renovated tennis facility by Golf Realty Fund, property owner for the country club. Golf Realty Fund also presented plans for a new golf clubhouse spanning 35,000 square feet.
Irvine Terrace residents met NBCC Inc.'s plan with resistance at a January city council meeting, claiming that a larger clubhouse with an expanded banquet facility would cause more traffic.
Those issues are what Martin and his co-owners will face as they develop a clubhouse that best fits the needs of the membership and the community.
Two other Southern California courses Eagle Four has been involved with, according to its website, are San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano and Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine.
The 101st California Amateur is almost here and a handful of area players will make the trip to La Cumbre Country Club in Santa Barbara for the tournament June 25 through 30.
The list of players includes: Estancia High senior Jake Knapp, his older brother and UC Irvine golfer Ryan Knapp, fellow Anteater Pete Fernandez, Sage Hill's Ahmed Eltamami, Corona del Mar senior Mike Moorhead, Costa Mesa resident Jordan McRobie and Big Canyon Country Club members Don DuBois and Jordan Nasser.
Jake Knapp and Beau Hossler will be in the group that tees off on the 10th hole at 7:40 a.m. Monday, June 25. Hossler, a Santa Margarita junior, shot even-par 70 Thursday in the opening round of the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.
One hundred-fifty six players will compete in 36 holes of stroke play Monday and Tuesday with the top 32 advancing to match play beginning Wednesday, June 27. The 36-hole final is scheduled for Saturday, June 30.
The tournament is open to players with a handicap of 4.4 or less.
BRYCE ALDERTON is the golf writer for the Daily Pilot. He can be reached at email@example.com.