By Anna Skinner
Since its inception in 1988, Mark Thompson and his family has invested in Westfield’s only public golf course to keep it open and affordable. In the 10 years, Wood Wind Golf Course has been the subject of question for approximately five different developers, but Pulte Homes Indiana is the only one which projects saving the course.
“Pulte was the only developer that put together a plan that would actually save the golf course,” Thompson said. “It’s the only one that made sense. Every other developer we talked to wanted to take the course out and develop the whole ground. The master plan they (Pulte) have come up with is just incredible.”
Instead of wiping out the smooth greens and planting homes upon them, David Compton, vice president of land acquisition for Pulte Homes, has plans that enhance the golf course and put it in the center of his development as a sort of neighborhood hub.
Pulte Homes has proposed a development on the west side of Westfield focused around the golf course. In addition to the homes, it plans to invest more than $5.5 million in the relocation of four holes and the creation of an amenity center.
“We are keeping the character of what’s here. The Bankers Barn and the clubhouse we are not touching,” Compton said. “The housing makes this the beehive of activity up here, and the clubhouse stays as it is. The pavilion that exists today will be modernized and updated. We will make improvements to that pavilion so it can be more functional.”
An AV system will be installed, and improvements to the exterior deck and the HVAC system will be completed as well.
In addition to the renovated pavilion, Pulte’s plan also includes three swimming pools, two tennis courts, three basketball courts, a restaurant, a recreation center and more. Purchasing the golf course, relocating four holes and making golf course improvements will be more than $5.5 million.
“One of the key components to this project is investment, and the long term financial plan is to make this happen,” Compton said. “The difference is today there’s a plan. The relocation of four holes and the investment in amenities is a key factor, like Chatham Hills and like Bridgewater. Every homeowner who purchases a home in the Wood Wind development will be a social member to the golf course through HOA fees, which will include the amenity area.”
On top of the amenity access, homeowners would receive preferred packages for becoming a course member.
“Golf has changed a lot from when this golf course was built. Today, it’s very much a struggle in business and it takes significant support from the community, and it takes rooftops, just like any business does,” said Matt Cohoat, whose firm Cohoat and O’Neal Management Company operates the golf course. “The most successful public golf courses as you would see in the state are places like Prairie View, Plum Creek and River Glen. (They) all are in areas that are traditional neighborhoods with community support. Any business needs rooftops. This place needs rooftops. With rooftops and this plan, we can retain it as a public golf course.”
Despite voting on the change of zoning that would allow the Pulte Homes plan to begin work, Wood Wind will stay open until the end of 2017.
Compton said with the home developments, architecture in the amenity area will complement that of the Bankers Barn and the clubhouse with a rural feel.
Per the housing development, the plan calls for a rural black horse fence and curvilinear streets. Compton said the minimum for the buildout of the development is 10 to 12 years. Thirty percent of the homes are targeted for empty nesters.
Another public advisory plan commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at city hall, 130 Penn St. For more, visit westfield.in.gov.
What Wood Wind offers
If the Wood Wind Golf Course vanished from Westfield, more than just public golf would ebb from the city. In addition to daily fees for play, Wood Wind has a youth program and a high school program. The Evans Scholars program provides an $80,000 scholarship to kids, three of which received it from Westfield High School last year. By the end of 2017, more than $1 million of scholarship money will have been awarded to Westfield students through the Evans Scholars program. Over the past eight years, $6.5 million of charitable donations have been acquired from golf outings