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June 2019

Idaho Club Gets Haberman Makeover

By Scott Kauffman

Two years after reopening under new ownership, there is more evidence the Idaho Club is fully recovered from years of financial distress and legal uncertainty. The latest sign of the club’s full-scale recovery is a new 9,200-square-foot “modern mountain” clubhouse under construction and scheduled to open late this summer.

When Idaho’s only Jack Nicklaus-designed signature course opened in 2008, the luxury golf and lakefront residential development was positioned to be one of the top private clubs in the Northwest. But soon after it opened, the community’s original developer fell on hard times and the Idaho Club became just another golf club casualty of the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Ten years later, however, the property is recapitalized under new owners, Valiant Idaho LLC, which knows a thing or two about saving distressed high-end residential golf properties. Prior to taking over the Idaho Club, Valiant Idaho principal William Haberman was part of an investment group that acquired Thistle Golf Club six years ago in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, when the Myrtle Beach-area, daily-fee development was mired in similar financial problems.

Though Haberman’s two golf investments are polar opposites in appeal, the Orlando-based developer sees similar opportunity from a real estate investment perspective. To be sure, Haberman is particularly passionate about his latest venture in Idaho, situated near the small town of Sandpoint about 60 miles due south of the Canadian border.

For instance, Haberman notes residents and guests have the rare opportunity to play the state’s only Nicklaus-designed championship course, enjoy pristine Lake Pend Oreille, one of the deepest and longest lakes in America, and visit the nationally-acclaimed ski resort at Schweitzer Mountain all in one weekend. Or, as Haberman describes it, the once-distressed Idaho asset represented the “perfecta trifecta” of outdoor amenities and natural beauty.

Not to mention Sandpoint, which is just a short drive away, is being discovered as one of the “best small towns in America” by numerous publications. For other well-known markers, the Idaho Club is located just 45 minutes north of famous Coeur d’Alene and 90 minutes from Spokane.

Haberman says the new clubhouse represents a “significant development, not just for current and future property owners at The Idaho Club, but for the surrounding area.” The new multi-million-dollar clubhouse is coming out of the ground in the same footprint and foundation as the previous clubhouse, which was destroyed by a fire not long after the course opened in 2008.

When completed, the new anchor amenity will feature a restaurant and bar with seating for up to 100, pro shop, member-only fitness area, outdoor spa and fire pit. The clubhouse was designed locally by John Hendricks of Mountain Architects; it’s being built by Ivan Rimar’s Spokane, Washington-based Mountain Construction Management.

Another exciting addition to the Idaho Club, according to Haberman, was last year’s hiring of Jeff Gove as the new director of instruction and head golf pro. A regional native from Seattle, Gove brings 24 years of tour golf experience, including eight years on the PGA Tour and 16 on the Web.com tour.

The soon-to-be opened clubhouse and Gove’s arrival are just two key building blocks Haberman hopes will spur more golf club memberships and real estate sales in the low-density development planned for approximately 350 luxury lodge homes.

 “We are very excited about the ongoing progress we’ve made to restore the Idaho Club and positively impact the greater Sandpoint community,” says Haberman, whose Valiant Idaho group also has plans for a future lake club and marina. “We want to get the word out about the revival of The Idaho Club, and that the club and community are back and healthy again.”

Scott Kauffman is a golf business writer and the managing director of Aloha Media Group. 

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