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The bombshell arrived at Escondido Country Club area residents’ mailboxes on Saturday, February 23, in the form of a blue postcard announcing the demise of Escondido Country Club. It was well known locally that the country club had been struggling.

Two years ago, the club opened the private course to the public in a vain effort to gin up golfing interest and increase revenues. The net result was a filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in California’s Southern Bankruptcy Court on May 31, 2012. After seven months in Chapter 11, the case was dismissed and on December 4, Stuck in the Rough, LLC, a West Hollywood corporation formed in November 2012 and headed by Michael Schlesinger, took possession of the club’s assets.

In an open letter to country-club area residents, “The new owner notified existing club members that ‘after exhausting all possible solutions and after a great deal of contemplation, Escondido Country Club will unfortunately be forced to close in its current form.’” Commercial residential development of the land is currently being evaluated.

According to Barbara Redlitz, Escondido’s chief of city planning, the golf-course area is currently zoned to accommodate single-family homes. She still needs to research if there are any land-use covenants in the agreement that was made when the City of Escondido annexed the land in the early 1960s.

In addition to land-use mandates, there are many state-mandated environmental issues to resolve and various approvals required from the City of Escondido.

Michael Schlesinger, the new owner of the country club, held a members-only meeting at the club on February 27. Club member Sarah Becker stated that Schlesinger told the members that the club would cease operations on April 1, 2013. He also assured the members that property safety and golf-course irrigation would continue.

After the meeting with Schlesinger, approximately 300 residents got together to review what had transpired. Country club area residents Gary Vest, Jim Alera, and James Parker coordinated the sometimes raucous ad hoc protest meeting to plan the next steps to fight the likely onslaught of bulldozers and new multifamily homes.

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