Dart to shut down 9-hole golf course

| 26/07/2016 | 96 Comments
Cayman News Service

Britannia Golf Course

(CNS): Keeping the Britannia nine-hole golf course open is “commercially unfeasible”, officials from Dart Realty (Cayman) have said. Announcing the decision to close the course, which came in the package when the islands’ largest developer acquired the former Hyatt Resort and Grand Cayman Beach Suites, Dart said it had analyzed operations for the past few months and it would shut down the course at the end of next month. In a short release, Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Enterprises, said the company was now considering what it would do with the land.

“We are taking a step back to reevaluate the plans for the course, how the space will best suit the community and how to maximise integrating the land with Camana Bay,” he stated.

However, he suggested that the firm was not abandoning Cayman’s golfers as Dart also owns the North Sound Golf Club, which it acquired from former Ritz developer, Michael Ryan, when it took over Dragon Bay.

“We have a vested interest in golf and Cayman’s golfing community as a major real estate developer and through our ownership of the North Sound Golf Club. We appreciate that golf is an important component of the island’s tourism product,” he said.

Dart officials also stated that they were looking finding the 14 employees of the Britannia Golf Club employment opportunities at the North Sound Golf Club, as well as at the company’s new Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, which is due to open in November and where a few individuals have already received employment offers.

The Britannia Golf Club will formally close on 31 August, when the Grand Cayman Beach Suites and all of its amenities and facilities will be closed to the public as well.

CNS asked Dart if there had been any concerns raised by owners at the Britannia residential development related to the fact that when they purchased their homes, they came with access to the Hyatt hotel facilities and the golf club, but no one answered the questions.

Dart has previously stated that it has no plans yet regarding the purchase of the former Hyatt resort, including the Beach Suites in the heart of Seven Mile Beach. It is not clear not how long that beach front property will remain shuttered or what Dart plans to do with the remaining stripped structure that was once the Hyatt hotel.

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Comments (96)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Those with property facing the golf course will be wise to just trust a proven brand. Be patient. Those enjoying golf membership privileges, wait until the court process is complete. Legal rights will be defined. Dart will either honor the imposed rights definition or offer a compromise, equal rights at its existing golf facility. Don’t get ‘Trump Fever”, all is well. Deep breath.

    An owner facing the course.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps Dart could explain exactly what their intentions are for the golf course and beach before heading to the courts ( which might take time given owners opposition) rather than say they have not decided. This isn’t just about property values, golf rights, gym membership but their beach access has been stripped as well. That “name brand” you speak of should be a symbol of home and neighborly or is the Dart we knew yesterday different from the Dart of today? Today Dart looks ominous and dissapointimg to hundreds of home owners. Why would the they think “Trump”? and “Breathe”? while possible vegetation is stripped and tarmac is laid?

  2. Unison says:

    Dart is very green thumb, and I know it would be hard for him to tolerate the x amount of land wasted by a golf course.

    Well done!

  3. Anonymous says:

    There are some seriously wealthy property owners in Britannia, especially when you get up to the individual mansions beyond Kings Court, plus at least one major local Real Estate millionaire. Dart may find the owners will not go down without a fight.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Britannia has been in serious decline for a long time. It wasn’t even that good a course in its heyday. It’s too short, not enough holes, and the holes are all very similar and too close together for a links course so you’re constantly dodging errant shots all over the place.

  5. Jack says:

    Call me when he builds a police station, a school, or a place for kids to play. Like a place to play soccer or recreation centers. That my friends is giving back to the community!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Who cares? Like tennis golf is not even a real sport.

    • Handy Capped says:

      You ever played 36 holes in one day? It na easy. You don’t know our struggle!

    • Marathon says:

      Tennis not a real sport? Explain please.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because it involves next to nothing by way of physical exertion once you take away the leisurely walking, and some even dispense with that, the lazy beggars. Then there’s the hanging around standing still waiting for your turn bit. Hang on a minute, you were asking about tennis! My apologies, tennis is definitely a real sport. Anything that gets me exhausted merely by watching is a sport as far as I am concerned.

  7. Me says:

    Britannia was selling… so if Dart didn’t buy it someone else would have. so yall are just getting mad at dart just for the sake of being mad at dart. stupidness.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I love people being angry over a company doing what they would like with their private land. Nobody is getting mad at the people for selling. If you have a problem with it, start buying these properties yourselves and be altruistic.

  9. pproved? says:

    Don’t see any Britannia owners complaining, just busybodies. With all the expertise displayed in these comments, it’s a wonder that Dart has been able to compete with you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    To err is human, the Hugh Treadwell fiasco is a prime example of one of Mr Ken Dart’s lieutenants not always making great business decisions. One has to be concerned with the plans that the lieutenant with responsibility for this property may have. High time for the blind Dart sheep to open their eyes.

  11. Albatross says:

    There are several dozen condos at Britannia with a value based in significant part on the golf course view and the many owners will suffer a quantifiable material loss when the course disappears. They should take legal advice.

  12. Tiger Bush says:

    Back nines matter!!!

  13. Cayguy says:

    Everything DART touches lately stays stagnant for a long while . as you can see, britannia GC and the beach suites are the latest victims. This was a great course and had the most charm and character of all courses i played here. Obviously could have used better upkeep when it came to the greens etc, but is to be expected when its prime revenue maker (Hyatt) was out of commission for many years. The staff there are great as well many people, including non-golfers, would take advantage of their great menus for the onsite restaurant that overlooked the water

    • Cheese Face says:

      “Everything DART touches lately stays stagnant for a long while” Being that DART only recently purchased these properties, I fail to see how your statement makes any sense. Please tell me about all the other stuff that has stayed stagnant too?

    • Anonymous says:

      You by chance living in 1995! The course has been an embarrassing dump ever since Ivan. In fact it is hard to even consider it a golf course. And by the way, the restaurant isn’t even open!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Hyatt was a very special property in its day. I was fortunate enough to shadow one of the general managers (whose name I now can’t recall but was much loved) for Groundhog Day one year in high school. I remember taking a golf cart with him over to give the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger a day pass to the facilities. I remember making my first chip-in on that course, too. I remember the parties and shows they put on. Too many to list. But a condition of its construction was that the Government could put a highway through the property and eventually that right was used. Before that, Ivan took its toll. Litigation and neglect followed. It was a slow and painful death for such an iconic property. Hopefully Dart will do it justice.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I hope this means that horrendously high strata fees will come down!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Listen people, Cayman is basically bankrupt, it can only survive on free handouts from Dart, an unspecified and growing number of charities and private sector development. When will you get it into your heads, you can’t afford to be a big player without other peoples money.
    You have an over bloated Civil Service and associated sickness and pension provision which swallows up a huge percentage of your GDP. Unless you start outsourcing and searching for cheaper ways to operate your public services, you are doomed to a life lived on charity.
    But you won’t, because of your inbuilt greed to ensure that you feather your own nests. Cayman simply doesn’t have the means or the expertise to outsource on island, it must seek expert operators from around the world. One small example, why the hell are you operating a publicly funded waste disposal system, when most country’s use private contractors? And the laughable thing is that most of the government employees who are up to their arm pits in your crap at the DEH aren’t even Caymanian.
    Dart maybe an opportunist and a manipulator of the inept and probably corrupt planning system, but at least he’s actually improving the amenities and infrastructure for the benefit of Caymanians. After all, they’re not paying for it, so what’s their problem?
    Basically, if you want control of your island, stop pimping it out to those developers who don’t add anything to the island or economy.
    There are too many condos and private houses owned by those who rarely come to the island. They charge a fortune in rent to tourists and pay very little back into the economy. Your basic tourism product is too reliant on private accommodation that sees little or no trickle down effect into the local community. Apart from some very dodgy local property managers creaming off the top, not paying for work permits and using their clients properties for private use and even rental, the economy doesn’t really benefit.
    Dart has identified this as a major flaw and is seeking to rectify it with hotel stock, why didn’t the government?

    I suggest that before any of you whine on about Dart and his infrastructure plans, take a look at your own position and the serious lack of money that makes up your public wealth. Cayman should end its reliance on foreign property owners to supplement their tourism product, or at the very least ensure that property development is for the benefit of the country, not a means for some rich guy in the states to dump a whole load of money away from his own governments tax policies.
    The small amount of duty Cayman takes from private house building and accommodation tax’s is unsustainable. All you’ll end up with is an island almost totally owned by foreign ‘investors’ with zero fiscal benefit to local people.

    Wake up Cayman, stop pawning yourself to those who can afford to pay more, raise duty on private residences and stop Cayman from being just a place to hide money with no real benefit to yourselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      brillant…should be a viewpoint!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you writing in third person when you are Caymanian. Your economic strategy gives it away. You need off shore investment and you need wealthy investors building and maintaining large homes to support your ever growing greed to start yet another company that the island can not support. The Cayman Islands has taken on the Third World mentality that everyone should own there own company even if the economy cannot sustain another one…thus no-one makes money and wages become stagnant. Why would you want the investment to go to another country and not to your own…they had to buy the land…materials and labour from somewhere…

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t believe you really see the true picture. The homes in Britannia today are owned mostly by local professionals along with the homes in Canal Point, Governors Harbour and Snug Harbour. None of the subdivisions have benefited from the beautification of the bypass. Nothing comes for free.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr. Dart (and Co.),

    How’s about building a big ol’ public school and or comprehensive vocational institution on that beautiful piece of land?

    Whereas that is normally a service left to the government of a country, and I KNOW the CNS contributors are going to attack me for the mere suggestion, similarly to the USA, UK and many other 1st world countries, our successive governments have made a mess of the public education system.

    The debate over whether or not it is a fair or feasible request comes with no end, however, what also comes with no apparent end is the increase in crime at the hands of our badly educated and unskilled youths.

    Granted, with every sales pitch comes the inevitable “What’s in it for me?” question by the receiver.
    In response I would say; a means to safeguard the value and safety of the billions you have already invested in this beautiful country. Rest assured sir, a dedicated group of a mere 20 young, criminal-minded, idle Caymanian men could easily destroy this country’s reputation and industries in little to no time. It is in everyone’s interest to get on all hands on deck to work against such an easily crafted reality.

    Anyway, as I am the vilified “troll” of CNS as the vote count is sure to demonstrate, I implore you to look beyond the naysayers and give it a thought. (Many of the opposers need another generation before they are able to see the value in anything that seeks to uplift the general welfare of Caymanians. Maybe when they are faced with the reality that their sons would prefer to be auto mechanics as opposed to white-collar professionals.)

    You time and attention to this matter s greatly appreciated. Here’s to a safe Cayman in the future free from the misconstrued perception of gated communities being a sign of progress.


    – Whodatis

    • Horace says:

      Funny coming from a guy who probably doesn’t even own a basic home toolbox!

      • Anonymous says:

        Your helpful and useful contribution to the issue at hand is most appreciated.


        – Whodatis


      • Anonymous says:

        Btw, funny you should think that. If only you knew the blue collar foundation of my being.

        Contrary to your belief, I do own a basic toolbox – and more than. Although, I did have to call on a friend for a 16 mm long handle wrench to de-tension the serpentine belt of my BMW last weekend.

        You see, my AC compressor clutch has gone faulty (heck of a racket was coming from under the hood – sparks as well), and rather than having to park my vehicle and wait for the part to arrive in 2 weeks time, I decided to bypass that pulley on the network.

        So basically, I sourced the shorter 6-rib auxiliary belt for a non-AC version of my car’s make and model and incorporated only the power steering pump pulley, crankshaft pulley, alternator and tensioner. Yes, I’m cruising with the windows down and experiencing a bit of discomfort, but it sure beats the alternative or the expense of a 2 week rental.

        Furthermore, as any decent mechanic would tell you, almost all post-2000 year BMW models require a complete compressor replacement when they inevitably go wrong. However, yours truly is morally opposed to forking over $2500.00 (parts and labour) for an AC fix and opted instead to rebuild the clutch, bearings, and pulley component. Found the parts online for about $89.00 total – and as it was the last weekend – labour will be $0.00 as “Mr. No Toolbox” will be getting down and greasy yet again.

        So … yeah. Would love to stay and chat a bit more but I’m running late for lunchtime workout with a gym buddy. After all, those 705 lbs of iron aren’t gonna leg press themselves, are they?

        You take care now …


        – Whodatis

        • Anonymous says:

          Only someone trying to sound clever would use a term like “serpentine belt”.

          It’s a “fan belt” to us normal folks living to the left of Bermuda.


          • Anonymous says:

            Serpentine belt or drive belt. Not just a fan belt. Sorry. Whodatis is correct.

            • Anonymous says:

              I am with Whodatis on this one, but I question one’s need to consider having a “blue collar” background to be dedicated to fixing things yourself. I don’t, and I do!


            • Anonymous says:

              Thank you.

              – Who

          • Anonymous says:

            Ah boy … I hate to do this, but you (and your buddies) are begging for it;

            1.) Your ignorance of the term is no one’s fault but your own.

            2.) It is the official name of the part utilised by the carmaker. “Serpentine Gürtel” to be specific. However, “auxiliary drive belt” is another acceptable term for the part – especially for the typically insular perspective of those “living to the left of Bermuda”.

            3.) The “fan” is not connected in way shape or form by said serpentine belt.

            4.) You are obviously stuck in a 1990’s and earlier understanding of how the typical car engine is set up. Or maybe your understanding of vehicles are limited to Honda Civics and Nissan Almeras – which is fine – but if so, you really ought not have ventured into this discussion.

            5.) Kindly upgrade your memory chip before attempting to be a wise-ass on the internet … because right now, even I am embarrassed for you.

            6.) Do YOU own as much as a “basic home toolbox”?


            – Whodatis

            • Anonymous says:

              Your pathological need to always have the last word is amusing.

              So easily trolled. So easily led.


              • Anonymous says:

                You really think so? Even though I ended with a request for more information?
                Am I doing it again right now? How will this end I wonder?

                – Who


    • pproved? says:

      He already built a school. You should enroll.

      • Anonymous says:

        Operative term in my initial post was “public”.
        Speaking of someone who should enrol in school …

        Feel free to try again though.

        – Who

        • pproved? says:

          Why pray tell do you think Cayman needs more big ol’ public schools? He already built public parks for your 20 criminally-minded buddies to hang out in.

      • Anonymous says:

        No thanks. Much better education available elsewhere.

    • Rock Tosser says:

      VERY well said, Whodatis.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This statement from Dart is absolute BS because the North Sound Club has never made money either. Golfers like variety in courses, so what do they do, they remove the variety and we now have one golf course when Bermuda has eight courses. What happened to the big announcement that they were going to upgrade the course to an 18 hole course. They obviously have no clue or any plan whatsoever.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Very few golf course operations are commercially viable outside of large populated areas, however what the Dart people fail to understand is that a golf course adds enormous value in other ways to the development around it. Golf courses increase the value of residential development surrounding it and any development that Dart undertakes around or on the existing golf course will have far less added value having no golf course. Golf courses sell houses and condos overlooking or surrounding a golf course. The Dart people just do not get it. They have no vision in this regard. Sad Sad Sad, Dart again negatively affecting peoples lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t be serious in saying that “the Dart people fail to understand” can you?

    • Me says:

      how do you know that they arent making a bigger or/and better course. You dont know what they are planning to put in that space so what you are saying is irrelevant

    • Anonymous says:

      Problem with that is the uplift was gained by the original developer when selling the condo’s, if you mean that the Britannia condos will go down in value without a golf course view, then I agree…assuming whatever’s built in place of the golf course isn’t better!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I am sure they can turn it into a ready grass/sod supply field to supplement their already thriving nursery.

  20. Al Czervik says:

    “I tell ya, country clubs and cemeteries, the biggest wasters of prime real estate,”
    “Dead people, they don’t want to be buried nowadays. Ecology, right?”


  21. Anonymous says:

    Remember they only just bought this so they would (should) have known its commercial viability or lack of and will not have paid for a ‘viable’ business. They will have bought a worthless business for nothing so I don’t have any sympathy for them.

    Entirely different if someone spends $Ms building something for the enjoyment of others and profit to themselves and it doesn’t work out. In that case fine, close it down and try to get some of your money back another way – this is a completely different scenario.

    Lets hope our wonderfully efficient planning authorities don’t simply roll over and give them permission to develop, thereby turning a worthless business for which they paid nothing into prime residential development land worth $… (add as many ‘000s as you want here).

    Apologies… just woke up from the dreamworld that was that last paragraph… we know exactly what will happen here and Dart will keep laughing (at us) all the way to the bank

  22. Anonymous says:

    “commercially unfeasible”!!! hilarious….if that was the qualification, Dart wouldn’t have done one single development in Cayman….none of it is commercially feasible……good luck to britannia owners, not a hope you’ll get to keep your rights (if they there at all)

    • Cayguy says:

      everybody might as well go play for free now that they will be closing the admin offices. That until that cayman bush takes root and takes over the course

  23. Anonymous says:

    The golf course has seen better days. The greens are patchy and choppy, sand traps more like concrete, etc.

    Its days were long numbered once the hotel got wiped out. It used to be a very vibrant area with a little bit of charm with hotel guests etc. But its become a big sterile field (with a great restaurant).

  24. Anonymous says:

    Please turn this into a public park for all to enjoy, there are not enough public spaces on this small island.

    • Anonymous says:

      Funny. Dart has for years offered to complete, in the public beach area, its proposed public park/camp area, and completed beach soccer pitch and volleyball courts, paths etc, but government still has not approved and says it requires ‘further study’.

      The plans have been public for a few years, but a few people complained about removal of casuarina trees.

      Why wont the government approve these FREE enhancements?

      “………the beach will extend east and incorporate three beach volleyball courts and a beach football/soccer pitch. A new restroom facility will be situated near those courts.

      “From a sports tourism perspective, these courts can make some significant inroads into hosting beach volleyball and beach football events,” he said, noting that some of these events get overseas television coverage, helping promote the Cayman Islands.

      Mr. Glidden said it is hoped the beach volleyball courts can be ready in time for the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation tournament being held in Cayman at the end of March.

      Parking at the facility for approximately 100 vehicles will be accessed along the new road on the south side of the beach that will connect West Bay Road with the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

      Beyond the beach volleyball courts will be a large open lawn that will feature along the perimeter a children’s play area, a splash park water feature and a dog park. The eastern section of the property, which will extend all the way to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, will include a camp site and picnic area among shade trees.

      The enhanced park, which will be 100 per cent publicly owned, will incorporate more than 12 acres of land – three acres of the existing Public Beach plus approximately nine acres of leasehold property that Dart will surrender to government 56 years early. Around the perimeter of the entire parcel will be a two-way multi-use trail that will become part of 2.4 miles of trails that traverse the whole length of the Dart properties purchased from developer Stan Thomas in January 2011.

      An additional four miles of bike paths will be constructed along the new section of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, up to Batabano Road. “

      • Anonymous says:

        YAY!! Let’s bring in sand from South America that is NOTHING like the beautiful famous white sand of Cayman. Just mix that brown crap together and turn it into Brazil.

    • StopTheCrime says:

      As we can see from the very recent stabbing at Public Beach, public spaces simply become magnets to criminal activity… especially after hours.

  25. Anonymous says:

    sometimes you can’t do everything to please your neighbors anon,, it’s not personal just business, one thing we should always try to understand in life is nothing last forever maybe dart will be nice and give them free membership at north sound club.

    • Anonymous says:

      True, and subject to what their legal interests are they may be nice and allow Dart representatives to play golf on the Britannia course for decades to come.

    • Anonymous says:

      The big city folk Dart has talkin for him now should realize that the law of the jungle, or big city, simply do not work for long on a small island. Being a good neighbor is the most important part of life in any small community. Nothin personal risks gettin real personal, real fast.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well it’s not about playing nice, its about property owners having the right in their deed to use the golf course and beach access. I wonder how DART would feel if the owners in the area choose to boycott his stores, schools and businesses? He’s ripping homeowners off and they are the same people who generate his success. The Government would not allow the dump be moved to Bodden Town, I hope they don’t allow the removal of “rock” from Seven Mile Beach and they should also protect the property owners of Britannia. Locals never paid for public beach land but for decades Britannia owners have been paying for that golf course and beach by way of strata fees.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Globally the trend is that golf is a suffering sport. It is expensive, time consuming and other entertainment offers better value that fits into todays realities where people work from anywhere and not just behind a desk.

    No surprise that it was closed and hopefully they will replace it with an ice skating arena and motor cross track and a wave pool similar to what is in Dubai! This can attract a lot of tourists to the island and provide a diversity of activities and exposure for locals into other sports.

    That’s why iron wood development does not make sense to me because golf communities are dying (globally) save malibu and palm springs

  27. Anonymous says:

    sad but inevitable……

  28. Anonymous says:

    It would be great to know the answer to the question about Britannia owner’s rights to the golf course. Not sure Dart’s actions are coming accross as too neighbourly.

    • Anonymous says:

      ..heard he is going to be gentrifying West Bay next and the West Bayers land going to be worth three times Savannah soon….it’s like boom bling west bay becoming Beverley bay

      • Anonymous says:

        Presenting the lofts at West Bay and the residences at West Bay where only a select few can really enjoy the amenities at your finger tips….where local cultural has been incorporated into a vibrant community….with Ken’s vision and personal touch it will just be a few hundred million rents will be sky high in the bay and the problems that come with the low rents will go elsewhere and up will go a new Bay Market! Buy low sell high….soba sopa

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not right what Dart is doing Britannia homeowners have a legal right to the use of the golf course How can Dart just take that away? I have always been an admirer of what Dart has done for Cayman, but now I’m not so sure. I’m beginning to think that those people who think Dart is taking over the island, might have a point I hope we don’t get to the stage where this entity can do whatever it wants no matter who gets hurt.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are there.

      • Me says:

        Why is everyone speaking as if you know what Dart is going to put there. What if he is making a bigger and better course? Dont assume… just wait and see and make your comments then. You are getting yourself worked up for nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      So basically the Britannia owners now have no golf course, gym and beach club! Way to go Dart! Well I hope the strata fees come down to reflect this mean spirited action or Dart provide a suitable alternative!

      • Lover of Sausages says:

        What a moronic comment!!

        How mean spirited of Dart to buy some land that’s for sale and not allow other people who don’t own the land to decide what to do with it. LOL

        • Anonymous says:

          Not so easy. You use 7 mile beach, don’t you? Do you own it?

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s not that simple. Britannia owners have registered legal rights to use the beach and the golf course. Just because Dart is rich, it doesn’t mean he can ride rough shod over those rights. I hope the courts will side with the Britannia owners

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