Deeds and Weeds
April 28, 2009

Yale Farm Drops Out

Yale Farm, the proposed Connecticut golf club that was in the works for seven years, is dead. Developer Roland Betts and his partners revealed their decision to kill the hotly contested project in a letter published in today's Waterbury Republican-American.

The culprit: The economy, mainly.

Quoting from the developer's letter:

"In short, our economic model, which was dependent on membership sales, is no longer viable. (We realize that much was written about "housing" but in fact, housing was the tail not the dog.) Private clubs throughout the Northeast are under enormous stress. They are losing members, cutting dues, making deals to keep existing members which I would never have thought possible, even poaching each others members. And still many will not survive.

"A new club dependent on high initiation fees is simply not a viable option today or in the foreseeable future. Over the past two months, we have engaged numerous golf experts and analyzed all of our options from a variety of different angles. Simply stated, none of them work. An investment of $25 million can no longer be justified. As painful as it is to give up the fight (we came to quite enjoy it) it is the only prudent course of action. Yale Farm, conceived as one of the finest courses in the country (and we have no doubt that it would have been) is no longer financially viable."

The New York Times had an extensive piece about the proposed course and Betts, creator of Manhattan's Chelsea Piers, earlier this month.

UPDATE: Here's an article from the Hartford Courant with a few more details (including reaction by the gleeful opposition).

-- P.F.