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Psst...want a golf course? Free? In late May, Encinitas-based Geyser Holdings closed escrow on the 3100-acre Montesoro housing project in Borrego Springs for a low but unannounced price. Geyser expected to sell the golf course; it didn't happen. At one point, Geyser floated the idea of putting vineyards at the site. But there isn't sufficient water. "Every expert says without water it's prohibitive to run the golf course," says Linda Haddock of the local chamber of commerce. The vineyard idea never got off the ground. Now Geyser will give the course to someone who would operate it, says Rick Vesci, who is handling sales at Montesoro (formerly Rams Hill). Golf equipment is being sold and the clubhouse is on the market.

Geyser wanted to sell 140 finished lots at Montesoro to locals at 65% discounts, but there weren't sales and the program didn't last. Geyser was hoping that as the lots sold, back taxes and delinquent homeowner association fees would be paid. That hasn't happened, although Geyser paid some of the taxes. According to Vesci, Geyser attempted to buy bonds to satisfy bondholders, but no deal has been made yet. Vesci doubts that bondholders are ready to foreclose on properties.

"Everything is in the context of the current economy," says Vesci. "Real estate is just not selling." However, he says there is interest among potential purchasers, including some looking at the nearby Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa, formerly named Casa del Zorro. A buyer of the ranch might want the golf course. All told, however, many of the proposals are of the "Hail Mary" variety, says Haddock. I was not able to reach Russell Geyser, head of Geyser Holdings.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 23, 2011 @ 5:17 p.m.

"All told, however, many of the proposals are of the "Hail Mary" variety, says Haddock"

LOL...so funny, they were snookered!


Don Bauder Sept. 23, 2011 @ 9:49 p.m.

Historically in Borrego, it has often been difficult to tell the snookered from the snookerers. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh Sept. 24, 2011 @ 8:39 a.m.

Vineyards in Borrego Springs? Whoa. That's even less likely than making a go of a five diamond resort hotel and spa or a fancy golf course surrounded by fancy homes. In the 80's, it appeared to the casual observer that the area was going to take off and be a smaller version of Palm Springs. But it never reached the tipping point, and stayed small and generally poor. The local economy has to have suffered from the closure of the former Casa and all the struggles of the former Ram's Hill. That optimism of decades past was just based on misguided development and wasted money. Borrego can always be a well-kept secret and a refuge for snow birds. The reason I like the place is its small town flavor and central location in the desert and proximity to the state park. But a decent supermarket would be a pleasant addition to the town. You just can't find it all in one package or place.


Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2011 @ 12:24 p.m.

Believe it or not, grapes were once a major crop in Borrego. But that was before the water problems became so bad. Best, Don Bauder


tranny63 Sept. 24, 2011 @ 1:23 p.m.

So so said 2 see Borrego Springs in such dire straits. I remember in the mid '70s ( I worked La Casa del Zorro'74-'86) we had Borrego Springs Airlines up & running 2 flights daily 2 San Diego. Borrego Tree Farm, Sun-Air Airlines Corp. Office in Borrego, Rams Hill Country Club, w/ elegant Dining Room built by DiGiorgio Corp. A beautiful new shopping Mall opened w/ Movie Theatre, Bowling Alley, ( now Market) Borrego Grapefruit, and yes a Solar Farm way before it's time. At least the Roadrunner Club mobile home estates is still going built by DiGiorgio. When Helen Copley passed away several years back .....Just a matter of time ......La Casa would be no more.......


Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2011 @ 4:39 p.m.

Copley Newspapers was losing a bundle of money at the resort then named Casa del Zorro. The group that owns it now (it is closed) says that it was losing $5 million a year when David Copley headed (purportedly) the company. The non-Copley management wanted to dump it, but Helen and David wanted to hold on to it for sentimental reasons, despite the losses. When it was finally sold, the transaction was a sign that Copley Newspapers was trimming down to sell the company. David recovered from his heart transplant at Casa and had told employees he would never sell. But good sense prevailed. Best, Don Bauder


Dan Sept. 24, 2011 @ 8:10 p.m.

It's not all bad news in Borrego Springs. It appears to be emerging as a mecca for outdoor hospitality and recreation. While a couple of other developments in the town have struggled, The Springs at Borrego, a luxury RV resort and golf course, is flourishing.

The 90-site resort sports 100 per cent occupancy during holiday weekends and during the coveted winter snowbird season. To accommodate the demand the owners are building 53 new and larger sites, scheduled to be open before the end of the year

Outdoor people love Borrego because of its vast desert expanses, comfortable winter climate, rugged undisturbed mountains and amazing wildlife.


Don Bauder Sept. 25, 2011 @ 8:09 a.m.

I agree with Borrego is a delightful place. Anza Borrego Desert State Park is a wonderful place. Trouble is, some real estate rapscallions have raped the town. Also, the water situation is worsening. Best, Don Bauder


Twister Sept. 24, 2011 @ 9:37 p.m.

"I reckon I'll just keep farmin' 'till it's all gone," said farmer who won the lottery in answer to the question, "What will you do with all that money?"


Don Bauder Sept. 25, 2011 @ 8:12 a.m.

Was Borrego better off when agriculture was a major industry? Have the attempts to make Borrego into a resort town been beneficial? Without freeway access, and without sufficient water, will Borrego ever be a booming resort/leisure town? These are questions the citizens should address. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Sept. 25, 2011 @ 7:47 p.m.

Oh, you think Borrego would be a good place to mine iron? Best, Don Bauder


nan shartel Sept. 26, 2011 @ 1:13 p.m.

don't push POOH around Twister...;-D



Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2011 @ 1:47 p.m.

Only honey bees can push Pooh around. Eeyore couldn't. Kanga couldn't. Best, Don Bauder


Twister Sept. 26, 2011 @ 12:45 p.m.

You leave the irony out in the sun, then you iron stuffed shirts with it.


Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2011 @ 1:49 p.m.

You may have heard this one: "My family is in the iron and steel business. My mother irons and my father steals." Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2011 @ 12:55 p.m.

I would say 75 years of age is getting up there. Best, Don Bauder


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