Golf & BusinessOctober 3, 2014

Billy Walters sells home with 'best short-game area I've ever seen' at bargain price of $14.3 million

What is the value of a house that comes with a short-game practice area designed by short-game guru Dave Pelz?

It's $14.3 million when attached to a 21,000 square-foot house on nine acres in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

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This was the price for which it was sold recently in a no-reserve auction by renowned professional gambler and avid golfer Billy Walters, who teamed with Fredrik Jacobson to win the pro-am competition in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2008.

Walters, who earlier this year was linked to Phil Mickelson in an insider-trading probe (both deny any wrongdoing), owns several golf courses and is a member of Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, Del Mar Country Club, Bighorn Golf Club and the Madison Club in California, and Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., among others. His USGA handicap index is 9.5.

Walters touted the Pelz short-game area in a video made to promote the sale through Concierge Auctions. "It's is the best short-game area I've ever seen," he said. "This a Dave Pelz design, the best short-game teacher in the world. He came out and personally designed it as a favor to me."

The price at which the home was sold confirms what he already knows, that he's better at wagering on sporting events than real estate. "We've lost money on every home we've bought and sold here," he told the Wall Street Journal two years ago. "It's not what I do for a living. If it was, I'd be in trouble."

This time, he sold the house via a no-reserve auction, which meant no minimum price guarantee, and it proved a losing proposition. Walters purchased the house for $8.5 million and made in excess of $7 million in renovations, he said. He previously had listed the home for $20 million.

Meanwhile, he and his wife have decided to live in their ocean-front home that once was on the market for $29 million in Carlsbad, Calif, a few miles up the San Diego County coastline.

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