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April 2, 2013
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Cordillera says things are picking up

EDWARDS, Colorado - Some in Cordillera are taking a wait-and-see approach, but they say they like what they see so far.

"I sense that people are coming back cautiously," said John Lemak, a Cordillera resident and club member since 2001. "I think once the clubs open, people will have a much more positive attitude."

Cordillera was dragged through a year-long legal battle, and a bankruptcy that saw 32 attorneys squaring off.

"I've always enjoyed Cordillera," Lemak said. "It's unfortunate what happened, but you reorganize and go forward. There have been a number of clubs around the country that have gone through it."

Between the first of this year and this week, 325 members have rejoined. That's down from the 600-plus members the club had before, but it's a great start, says John Easterbrook, executive vice president of Troon Golf, the company hired to operate the Club at Cordillera.

"We have been 100 percent focused on restoring The Club at Cordillera to its prominence as one of the preeminent mountain golf club communities in the country," Easterbrook said.

The Timberhearth restaurant is scheduled to reopen. The Valley course is scheduled to open April 12, weather permitting. The Summit course could open in June, and the high altitude Mountain course could reopen later this summer, according to Troon's schedule.

"I'm excited to see what will happen this summer. I think it's going to go well and people are going to join and rejoin as things continue to improve," Lemak said. "The amenities up there are phenomenal. There really isn't anything like it anywhere in the country."

Troon named Mike Henritze as the club's general manager. Henritze, formerly general manager of the Ridge at Castle Pines North in Castle Pines, has been interim general manager of the Club at Cordillera since Troon Prive took over the operation on Jan. 1.

Prior to the Ridge at Castle Pines, Henritze was general manager for Troon Golf's flagship property, Troon North Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., ranked as Arizona's top public golf course.

"We look forward to the opportunity to build The Club at Cordillera into what is, once again, a magnificent private mountain golf club," said Henritze. "I think the start of a good foundation has been laid."

Cordillera resident and former member Mort Mulliken says he's rooting for Troon.

"I really hope it works," Mulliken said.

Mulliken, you might recall, became the poster child for the Club's darker days when he tried to play a round of golf and was stopped on the ninth green and handed a summons for trespassing. The Eagle County sheriff's deputy had the grace to wait until Mulliken was finished putting for birdie.

He says he'll play his golf at Eagle Ranch this summer, but says many of his friends and golf buddies are rejoining the Club.

"I can see why they'd join. They live up there and it's convenient," Mulliken said.

Up to a week or two ago, former members could rejoin for $3,500 and annual dues of $12,500.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Troon is the world's largest golf management company, with courses in 29 states and 28 foreign countries.

The Club at Cordillera is one of the largest exclusive golf communities in North America, covering 12 square miles.

Club at Cordillera members have reciprocal access at more than 30 private clubs Troon Prive operated around the world.

The Cordillera Property Owners Association got, as part of the legal settlements, the par 3 short course, the Summit Athletic Club and the Trailhead, which will reopen the kids camp this summer.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Apr 2, 2013 11:19PM Published Apr 2, 2013 11:18PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.