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Golf Communities

The Big Swing

With the latest influx of homebuyers, the desert’s country clubs have a younger look.

JUDD SPICERCURRENT PSL, HOME & DESIGN, REAL ESTATE

 

Todd Hewlin and Lo-Ping Yeh, new owners and members at The Reserve Club in Indian Wells look perfectly at ease seated on their broad patio as the breeze ripples the water in the infinity pool situated between the house and the 12th hole, framed by the dramatic Santa Rosa Mountains. The couple, who moved here from the Bay Area and run a tech consulting firm, reflects a growing demographic of desert residents that are more youthful and working from wherever they want.

Before the pandemic, country clubs were trying to appeal to younger buyers by renovating clubhouses, retooling tennis courts for pickleball, and introducing an extensive variety of programming to keep members engaged on and off the golf course. Now, it appears those investments are paying off.

Although Hewlin and Yeh first experienced the desert in earnest during the winter rainstorms of 2019, a return visit a year later gave them a different impression. “We found it incredible,” Yeh says. “So, we went back to Los Gatos and signed a contract to put our house on the market a week later. Then, the pandemic hit.”

When the Bay Area shelter-in-place order lifted in the summer, she and Hewlin hunted for their ideal concept in indoor-outdoor living. Another visit led them to a spec home still in construction.

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Lo-Ping Yeh and Todd Hewlin

“When we saw the view, it was, ‘Oh my God,’” says Yeh, who was also thinking about how the residence might accommodate their home office. “A lot of people are feeling this way now — that they can live in a place like this and still work in an effective and efficient manner.”

As they moved into The Reserve in fall 2020, their new neighbors changed the couple’s idea of who exactly lives in the desert. “When we first came here, to be honest, Todd said he thought the area might be too old for us,” she says, smiling toward her husband. (Hewlin and Yeh are 55 and 57, respectively, and active in couples golf.)

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The Vintage Club in Indian Wells

“I was completely wrong,” Hewlin replies. “Maybe I had that perception from movies or how the area has been written about by people who don’t live here. But after getting to know people at The Reserve, I started feeling like this is the valley of Benjamin Button: People get all that Vitamin D, are active, physically fit, they eat better. People come here and get younger.”

THE PANDEMIC HAS seen golf’s natural social distancing turn days of lemon into lemonade. As city dwellers look for elbow room in the Coachella Valley, the spike in the number of golf rounds being played reflects the surge in new club memberships. Americans played approximately 60 million more rounds in 2020 than they did in 2019, a 14 percent increase, according to the National Golf Foundation and Golf Datatech. Meanwhile, the nation’s private clubs reported a 19.9 percent rise in play compared to 2019.

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Andalusia Country Club in La Quinta

Desert residents only need to swivel their collared shirts to see new golf members flocking largely from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, and the Pacific Northwest.

As Palm Springs Life reported last fall, the first seven months of the pandemic saw single-family home sales in the Coachella Valley rise 56 percent over the same period a year earlier. Subsequently, end-of-year statistics from the California Desert Association of Realtors showed all of the valley’s nine cities with year-over-year increases in home sales.

“The Coachella Valley has become a haven to those who want to escape the cities and have a place where they can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle,” says Julie Bloom, senior vice president of operations for the Sunrise Company, which operates Toscana and Andalusia country clubs. “In addition, since travel is not as easy, people want to have a place to go that feels like a resort and where they can gather their families together.” With the spike in sales and memberships comes a rush of new residents and golfers. A Palm Springs Life survey of 13 luxury country clubs conducted early this year revealed uniform growth when comparing March 2019–January 2020 with the period a year later.

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Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert

In La Quinta, the 36 holes at The Hideaway Golf Club experienced a 103 percent rise in new members, with a spike from June to December 2020, fueling a record-breaking year in terms of home and membership sales. At the Tradition Golf Club, a 150 percent rise in club tours resulted in a record number of new members, and golf membership sales doubled. “Approximately 80 percent of our new member spouses are beginner golfers,” says Tesha Vann, membership director at Tradition. “Our short course is getting more use than ever, as it’s the perfect venue to learn the game.”

At nearby Rancho La Quinta, the two-course spread saw a 30 percent increase in golf memberships, with home sales jumping 60 percent, and Andalusia Country Club had an 87 percent increase in golf memberships with a jaw-dropping 300 percent increase in home sales.

In Indian Wells, The Vintage Club experienced a 145 percent increase in home sales and a 100 percent gain in new golf memberships. Toscana Country Club gained 34 percent in home sales and its 36 holes drew a 77 percent rise in golf memberships. At The Reserve, Todd Hewlin and Lo-Ping Yeh were among 24 new golf members representing a 120 percent increase in home sales.

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Mike Kirby and Sandi Marino

“The trend is more couples,” says Denise Adams, membership director at The Reserve Club. “Both the member and spouse, or significant other, play golf, as do their high school- and college-age children.”

Likewise, at Bighorn Golf Club, “We’re seeing quite a few of our current golf members’ spouses taking up the game through lessons, afternoon play as a couple, and our 9-holer group,” says Kirstin Fossey of Bighorn Properties.

In Palm Desert, the two-course Bighorn Golf Club had a 44 percent increase in new golf memberships and a 28 percent increase in home sales, while Stone Eagle Golf Club reported a 62 percent increase in memberships.

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Tradition Golf Club in La Quinta

In Rancho Mirage, the three-course spread of Mission Hills Country Club has seen an 8 percent uptick in new golf memberships and a 60 percent increase in home sales. And at Tamarisk Country Club, a 9 percent boost in golf members has contributed to a 12 percent rise in overall memberships.

“In many ways, our club has become more important in our members’ lives,” Brett Draper says of Thunderbird Country Club, where he’s general manager. During the pandemic, “activity around the club, namely golf, is up to levels we have not seen in the past 15 years.”

FOR MIKE KIRBY, the desert has always been a home away from home. Long familiar with the valley’s east end by virtue of visiting his parents at La Quinta Country Club and his siblings now in the area, Kirby always figured that, someday, he too would have a desert home.

Someday came a bit sooner than Kirby and his fiancé Sandi Marino expected.

“In the last three or four years, we’ve been thinking we should land someplace out here,” he says. “Now, working from home during COVID [has] been a catalyst for us to make the move.”

Last September, the prime-of-life couple purchased a spec house at Tradition Golf Club, the longtime West Coast base for Arnold Palmer. Kirby is an avid player, and Marino is a beginner who’s refining her game on the club’s nine-hole short course. Their home overlooks the top-handicapped hole 3 on the Palmer-designed course, carved in the bosom of the Santa Rosas. The view also includes the scene-setting stone wall and iron gate, Tradition’s original entrance, marking the end of what is now Washington Street.

Splitting time between La Quinta and Newport Beach, Kirby seamlessly runs his real estate research and analysis firm. “I can work just as well here as I can from Newport,” Kirby says. “I’m not so sure we would’ve pulled the trigger on the purchase this early, but once we had this epiphany that I could still be very effective in my job in the home office I have in our new home, we went for it.”

Marino, who mixes charity and interior design work, believes the club’s on-site marketplace for groceries and take-out and home delivery services offer comfort during the pandemic. “Tradition is low-key and genuine,” she says. “And the amenities are amazing; the club makes it easy to stay.”

Therein lies the prevailing appeal of the Coachella Valley. The weather and lifestyle sell the location, and the ability to work from anywhere seals the deal.

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHS BY TRACY NGUYEN

SilverRock Development Update

SilverRock Resort in La Quinta

Owned by the City of La Quinta and Managed by Landmark Golf Management, SilverRock Resort's Arnold Palmer Classic Course is a challenging 7,239 yards sprawling over 200 acres with massive native bunkers and stunning water features. Set against the backdrop and natural beauty of the Santa Rosa Mountains, SilverRock is a former home course of the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Classic from 2008-2011.

Development Overview

The City, in conjunction with SilverRock Development Company, LLC, has created a development program for SilverRock Resort. The program includes a luxury hotel with branded luxury residential, a lifestyle hotel with branded lifestyle residential, a conference and shared services facility, a mixed-use village, resort residential village, renovation of the existing Ahmanson Ranch House, construction of a permanent golf clubhouse, and associated road and utility infrastructure.  This $420 million dollar project specifically encompasses:

  • A 140-room, 5-star quality luxury hotel and spa and a 200-room, 4-star quality lifestyle hotel;

  • A 71,000 square foot conference center and shared services facility shared by the luxury and lifestyle hotels;

  • A resort village with 150,000 square feet of resort residential units and up to 40,000 square feet of retail space with recreation areas;

  • 35 luxury and 60 lifestyle branded residential homes that are associated with their respective hotels;

  • 160 resort style homes for private ownership with the option for owners to offer as short-term rentals;

  • Renovation of the Ahmanson Ranch House facility as a public event center and to serve as an amenity to the resort; and

  • 5,000 square feet of temperature controlled space with large outdoor patios and event lawn.

To keep up to date visit:
http://www.laquintaca.gov/our-city/city-departments/facilities/silverrock-golf/silverrock-frequently-asked-questions


PGA West La Quinta Real Estate Update

During the past six months 95 homes and condos were sold within the PGA West community in La Quinta, an increase in sales volume of 7% versus the same six-month period in 2012.

Average PGA West Selling Price Up 11.2%

The average PGA West selling price of $589,907 is up 11.2% over the same period last year when the average price was at $523,558. Homes and condos sold during this recent six-month period ranged from $207,900 up to $1.997 million.

Today, there are 90 PGA West homes and 51 PGA West condos offered for sale ranging from $210,000 to $2.4 million. The average list price for a single family home is now at $969,000, while the average condo is now at $420,000.

Several buyer clients told me this month that they ‘blew it’ by not buying last year when prices were lower. OK, but what about this year? Prices are still lower that our previous market highs and every day my team and I are showing our buyer clients some very nice homes and luxury condos at what most people are still considering to be very attractive prices.

You’ll likely get about 11% less house for the same money this year than you would have in 2012, but what you get is not just a home or condo, this is really about investing in a lifestyle for your family and friends. Of course after enjoying our sunny 81ºF (27.2º C) weather today, I'm a little biased!

Our Featured Listings At PGA West

  • 54973 Tanglewood, La Quinta / 3 Bedrooms / 3 Baths / 1,621 Sq. Ft. / Offered At $340,000
  • 56965 Mountain View, La Quinta / 3 Bedrooms / 3.5 Baths / 2,501 Sq. Ft. / Offered At $685,000
  • 57101 Medinah, La Quinta / 4 Bedrooms & 5 Baths / 3,013 SQ. FT. / Offered At $889,000
  • 55387 Tanglewood, La Quinta / 2 Bedrooms & 3 Baths In 1,492 Sq. Ft. / Offered At $328,000
  • 55498 Firestone, La Quinta / 3 Bedrooms & 2 Baths / 1,529 Sq. Ft. / Offered at $239,000

PHOTO: The photo here was taken at our listing above at 56965 Mountain View just this week.

2019 Troon Card Summer Test Drive

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Test Drive The Benefits Of Being A Troon Cardholder!

Troon invites you to test drive the benefits of being a Troon Cardholder for as little as
$69 for a California Summer TwoSome Card or $99 for a California Summer
FourSome Card
. During your test drive, you will enjoy rates up to 50% off, "2 for 1"
golf offers, 10% off at participating golf shops & restaurants, complimentary clinics,
monthly special offers, and much more!

Purchase Here

Courses

The California Summer Troon Card includes 16 of California's finest courses:

Ashwood Golf Course
Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club
Hiddenbrooke Golf Club
Indian Wells Golf Resort
La Quinta Resort & Club
Maderas Golf Club
PGA WEST
Saddle Creek Golf Resort
Shadow Hills Golf Club
The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa
Yocha Dehe Golf Club

To view the complete list of California courses and rates, click here.

From Sheri Dettman
In Golf Communities, Lifestyles & Things To Do

Exclusive New Madison Club, La Quinta Video Tour

We recently updated our exclusive video tour of The Madison Club located in La Quinta. Here’s the thing. Our Sheri Dettman & Associates team works hard at creating the fresh website and newsletter content for you on a daily basis. Heck, communities change over time. HOA or golf dues go up and down; landscaping matures, and new community amenities can be added. But on to our Madison Club video shoot.

A Half Day Video Shoot At Madison Club

The Madison Club in La Quinta is one of the most exclusive private country clubs in the Palm Springs Real Estate market. Our marketing team was on the golf course for about half a day, and they got some great shots. And speaking to exclusivity, they did not see another golf cart on the Madison Club course until after 11AM.

My husband Bill Dettman headed up video production, and he reported that the on course amenities offered around the Madison Club course were top-notch as always. And while he could have indulged in a variety of snacks, food and libations at several stops, he stuck with a healthy banana, cold water and Gatorade to keep the production moving.

Sticks In The Ground

Bill noticed a number of impressive luxury homes in stages of development around the Madison Club golf course. Developers and Realtors call this “sticks in the ground.”

One of the unique things about Madison Club golf course home locations is their raised elevations above the golf course fairways. This unique elevation creates added privacy and some pretty spectacular views.

When you see the elevated video shots of the clubhouse you can see the impressive elevation changes at Madison Club. Even more impressive when you realize that Madison Club’s entire 500 acres were completely flat before being developed!

Madison Club Member Services

Madison Club offers some of the best and most exclusive amenities in the desert. The spa, fitness facilities, golf and dining opportunities are hard to top. Bill’s video shoot took place shortly after the Coachella Festival at the nearby Polo Grounds. The Madison Club staff was telling Bill how families at Madison Club hung out with their kids over that weekend, and how the club offered private VIP transportation to the event for Madison Club families and guests.

Enjoy the video, and please don’t hesitate to contact me about The Madison Club, or to view any Madison Club property offered for sale. At the time we produced our new vide tour, available Madison Club properties were priced from $2 million to $39 million.

Toughest Hole in the Desert

They call it Alcatraz — an island green that taunts players at the tee a mere 166 yards away at PGA West in La Quinta.

EMILY CHAVOUS APRIL 16, 2019 CURRENT GUIDE, GOLF

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Photograph Courtesy Pga West

The 17th hole at PGA West is touted by pros as being among the sport's most diabolical.

They call it Alcatraz — an island green that taunts players at the tee a mere 166 yards away. The entire Pete Dye–designed Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta brims with hazards, and the 17th hole, with more lake than grass, is touted by pros as being among the sport’s most diabolical. As Dye described it, “Love and hate can be found here.”

  • See related story: 10 Must-Play Public Golf Venues

    Its 1987 PGA Tour debut stirred up quite the rumble. “The course is on the outskirts of Indio but host [Bob] Hope says the back tees are in Hemet. It doesn’t matter where they are. No one will ever play them,” Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray wrote that year. “You need a camel, a canoe, a priest and a tourniquet to get through it.” In the 1987 Skins Game, swinging alongside Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Fuzzy Zoeller, Dallas-born Lee Trevino conquered Alcatraz with a hole-in-one. Even so, tour pros collectively — and successfully — signed a petition to remove Stadium Course from the rotation in 1988. It took almost three decades for the Professional Golfers Association to warm up to Dye’s design, but in 2016, Alcatraz reassumed its position on the tour. Jason Dufner cinched his 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge (now Desert Classic) victory with a par-saving recovery shot from the 17th green’s rocky perimeter.

  • See related story: Apps and websites that will save you money on desert golf courses.

    Keen to try your hand at Alcatraz’s par 3? Book a stay at sister property La Quinta Resort & Club to take advantage of special golf offers. Stadium Course reservation fees are discounted June through September.

19th Hole Options

Desert Classic Off-Site Options for Dining, Golf, and Shopping

Courtesy of Thomas Meagher of Palm Springs Life

Golf Club at Terra Lago

Golf Club At Terra Lago

Returning in 2019 as the Desert Classic, the 60th anniversary of the valley’s major pro golf tournament will again be a vibrant, spectator-friendly “golf festival,” offering the enhanced fan experience that led to doubling attendance to 60,000 from a year ago, according to tournament officials.

Running Jan. 16-20, the tournament features an attractive golf field with tournament ambassador Phil Mickelson and Palm Desert amateur Charlie Reiter. Additionally, there will again be after-golf rock supplied this year by Sammy Hagar and the Circle Jan. 18, and the legendary Bad Company Jan. 19.

Outside the tournament grounds, here are some suggestions on how to keep the festival vibe going.

Golf

Watching the world’s best golfers in-person makes most of us hackers super-eager to hit the links, to try (however unsuccessfully) to channel their ball-striking brilliance and putting mastery. So, if you’re looking to play a round or two yourself while attending the Classic, consider venturing out of the immediate La Quinta neighborhood, for a couple of contrasting takes on desert golf.

The Golf Club at Terra Lago
84-000 Terra Lago Parkway, Indio
760-775-2000
golfclub-terralago.com

Home of the memorable “Skins Game” competitions in 1999 to 2002, Terra Lago, with its north and south tracks, is a 10-minute drive east on Interstate 10. The course guarantees you a “desert-y” golfing experience. Hitting the fairways, on either course, is a must as forbidding “natural” areas frequently await. There isn’t a lot of water in play, but, when it does appear, boy is it dramatic. And the same goes for the elevation changes you’ll encounter: they will challenge your club-selecting savvy, but also provide you with stunning desert vistas.

Oak Valley Golf Club
1888 Golf Club Drive, Beaumont
951-769-2000
oakvalleygolf.com

Half-an-hour west on Interstate 10, Oak Valley in Beaumont is a parkland track on the Coachella Valley’s fringe. In recent years, it has hosted both the opening and closing tournaments for the Golf Channel Am Tour’s Palm Springs tour. Unlike most of Greater Palm Springs’ more familiar tracks, Oak Valley penalizes errant shots with fairway-lining trees that usually eliminate straight-to-the-green recoveries. And the rough here is some of the toughest around.

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Halibut At Morgan’s At The La Quinta Resort

Food + Drink

Walking 18 with your favorite PGA Tour pro works-up an appetite. After you’ve sampled offerings from a pair of popular local eateries in the fan pavilions at the Desert Classic, check out the restaurants themselves.

Morgan’s in the Desert
La Quinta Resort & Spa, La Quinta
49499 Eisenhower Drive
760-564-5700
morgansinthedesert.com

Twenty6
La Quinta Resort & Spa, La Quinta
49499 Eisenhower Drive
760-564-5700
laquintaresort.com/dining/twenty6

Adobe Grill
La Quinta Resort & Spa, La Quinta
49499 Eisenhower Drive
760-564-5700
laquintaresort.com/dining/adobegrill

Morgan’s pairs traditional cooking methods with California cuisine sourced with ingredients from the valley. Try the Nottingham Ranch Lamb Saddle or the Wild Mushroom Pappardelle pasta. Adobe Grill brings Mexico to the California desert by way of Oaxacan motif. Try the ahi tuna tostadas, a margarita, and the handmade tamales. At Twenty6, this modern American bistro offers the classics, from buttermilk hotcakes for breakfast to rosemary-roasted chicken dinners.

Photo courtesy of Pete Carlson’s

19Th Hole Options 1

Shop

Pete Carlson’s Golf & Tennis Shop
73741 Highway 111, Palm Desert
760-568-3263
petecarlsonsgolf.com

his independent shop has had a loyal local following since it opened in 1981. Comprehensive stock, knowledgeable staff, personable owners (Pete and wife Edna) – those are the basic reasons golfers and tennis players stop by. But the something extra that makes this place unique is the in-store “Jazz for Jazz Lovers” concert series. So if Bad Company isn’t your musical cup of tea after “moving day” at the Desert Classic, head here Jan. 19 for cool modern west coast jazz from the Phil Norman Tentet.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PETE CARLSON’S GOLF & TENNIS SHOP

Pete Carlson’s Golf & Tennis Shop converts into a venue for jazz enthusiasts Saturday evenings in January.

PGA Tour Superstore
72280 Highway 111, Palm Desert
760-601-3450
pgatoursuperstore.com

The pros will be sporting the latest lines from the apparel manufacturers – which may remind you that it’s been awhile since you refreshed your own golf wardrobe. Resist the lure of all those new clubs, balls, and game-improvement gadgets at the front of the store and head straight on through to the shirts, trousers, shoes and outerwear from the likes of Puma, Callaway, adidas, and FootJoy.

4 Golf Courses to Play During CareerBuilder Challenge

When you're not busy watching the world's best golfers compete at the CareerBuilder Challenge, take your own game up a notch.

BILL DWYRE DECEMBER 24, 2017 GOLF

Golf legend Phil Mickelson will return for his second straight year as ambassador of the CareerBuilder Challenge, the desert’s annual PGA Tour event. Jeff Sanders, tournament executive director, says that Mickelson’s presence “brings us unbelievable expertise,” and his ongoing connection to the event “helps us work — alongside him — to make it great.”

Mickelson has won five majors and was champion in the desert in 2002 and ’04.

The Jan. 17–21 tournament will be its 59th iteration. For many years, it was played as a 90-hole event, generating most of its extensive charitable donations to Coachella Valley groups through amateur participation. Now, it is a standard PGA Tour event, with 18 holes a day over four days and with a purse of $5.9 million. But the charity element, with a reduced amateur presence, remains intact and lucrative, under John Foster, longtime president of Desert Charities. Entertainment includes Huey Lewis and The News (Jan. 19) and Goo Goo Dolls (Jan. 20).

The tournament is traditionally played on a series of courses. This year, CareerBuilder takes over the Stadium Course at PGA West, as well as the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West and the La Quinta Country Club. Defending champion Hudson Swafford will return to defend his only PGA title.

Tickets purchased by Jan. 14 will cost $30 for a one-day grounds pass, $75 for a weekly grounds pass, and $25 for a senior one-day pass.

“At $30 a day,” Sanders says, “we are the most affordable tournament on the tour.”

CareerBuilder Challenge, Jan. 17-21
cbchallenge.com

4 COURSES TO PLAY

Classic Club

Classic Club

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Palm Springs Area Real Estate Marketing Slogans

Andalusia La Quinta Golf Homes

Did you know that many Palm Springs area golf and country clubs and gated communities have catchy marketing slogans? I’m not sure who makes these slogans up, but I do find some of them interesting.

Palm Springs Are Community Marketing Slogans

  • The Desert’s Coolest Place To Live: Andalusia, La Quinta
  • Love Where You Play: Indian Ridge Country Club, Palm Desert
  • Life Well Played: The Lakes Country Club, Palm Desert
  • A World of Recreation And Fun: Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage
  • The Jewel of The Desert: Mountain View Country Club, La Quinta
  • The Private Club Redefined: The Club At Morningside, Rancho Mirage
  • Where Traditions Are Preserved And Lifelong Friendships Are Made: The Palms, La Quinta
  • It’s A World Apart: The Quarry, La Quinta
  • A Charming Mix Of Now & Then: The Citrus Club, La Quinta
  • Discover The Spirit of Ironwood: You guess it; Ironwood Country Club, Palm Desert
  • 6 Legendary Courses, One Extraordinary Club: PGA West, La Quinta

My Two Favorite Palm Springs Real Estate Slogans

First Place: My personal favorite is “Once Here, You’ll Know You’ve Arrived." This slogan is used by The Tradition Golf Club in La Quinta. Let’s see, when I arrive in Paris, yep, I know I’m in Paris!

Second place goes to the slogan; “Where Distinction Reigns" used by the new home community ofGriffin Ranch in La Quinta. Could it be that the ‘reigns’ was meant to part of the slogan because Griffin Ranch was originally developed as an equestrian community? Reign in those horses!

Let me know your thoughts.

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