Jack Nicklaus to Redesign Montecito Country Club Golf Course

Ty Warner Hires Renowned Course Designer to Enhance Golf Experience for Club Members

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., June 6 /PRNewswire/ — Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts has confirmed they have executed an agreement with renowned golfer and golf course designer Jack Nicklaus to create a “Signature Course” at the Montecito Country Club. The selection was made after Ty Warner and his team interviewed several esteemed golf design firms and traveled the country evaluating the nation’s leading courses.

According to Greg Rice, representative for Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, Jack Nicklaus was chosen in large part based on his understanding of Ty Warner’s vision to make the Montecito Country Club one of the most prestigious courses on the West Coast, while maintaining the charm and the casual familiarity that club members and guests enjoy today.

“There is a unique juxtaposition of old world grandeur and a relaxed family feel at the Montecito Country Club,” stated Greg Rice. “We wanted to make sure the course reflected a similar blend in a design that would be flexible enough to be enjoyed by the leisure golfer yet challenging for the more advanced golfer. We felt that Jack Nicklaus best understands this philosophy, and is the most capable of carrying it out.”

“The club has a lot of history behind it,” said Jack Nicklaus, explaining that the vision is to elevate the quality of the course so that it is “at par” with the dramatic chapel-like clubhouse. “Our goal is to simply enhance the future of the club from a golf perspective. This is going to be a really nice golf course, and an outstanding opportunity I am very excited about. I hope the membership shares in my excitement,” Nicklaus added.

Not only does the Montecito Country Club’s 90-year history lend to the beauty of the course, the club’s hilltop location and ocean backdrop makes it one of the most spectacular golf settings in California — elements that will also play a significant role in Nicklaus’ design. “With the views and the abundance of old cypress trees throughout, the site is very reflective of you might think of and enjoy in a traditional Coastal California golf course,” said Nicklaus. “We have the opportunity and potential, given the property we’ve been handed, to create a very outstanding golf course that I think the membership will enjoy playing over and over again. Are we going to create a championship golf course that you could hold the U.S. Open on? No, but that is not our goal or desire. Our goal is to create a very fine golf course for the membership to enjoy and have fun with for many years to come.”

Upon purchasing the Montecito Country Club in August 2004, Ty Warner sought out ideas and feedback from the club’s 600 members, with two different studies geared to gain a better understanding of their sentiments toward the course and facilities. Since them, Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts has received more than 500 responses from the membership on how to improve the course. This response was a key factor in the decision to renovate the course and look towards Jack Nicklaus’ expertise.

“The members here have no lack of affection for their club,” says John Reagan, General Manager of the Montecito Country Club. “Yet, they still recognize the tremendous potential that exists to improve and enhance the golf experience. Ty Warner and Jack Nicklaus each share a tremendous track record of quality design and attention. There is a great buzz of anticipation for what the two of them together will be able to accomplish with the Montecito Country Club Golf Course,” Reagan added.

Once the design is complete and entitlements are earned on the golf course plan, it is anticipated that the renovation of the course will take approximately 10-12 months.

ABOUT NICKLAUS DESIGN

The name Nicklaus has long been associated with greatness on a golf course. However, the name Nicklaus transcends his dominance as a player and extends far beyond Jack alone. Today, the Nicklaus also stands for superior golf course design, a result of Jack’s more than three decades as a renowned golf course designer and his sons’ and son-in-law’s solid reputations as designers themselves. Together, they represent Nicklaus Design, a team of the world’s most accomplished golf course design associates, agronomists, industry consultants, and experts in golf course construction and marketing. Just as Jack once raised golf to a higher level, Nicklaus Design has elevated the standards of golf course design.

The result of that dedication and ingenuity is hundreds of spectacular courses worldwide. Yet as unique as each design is, they all share the Nicklaus’ philosophy of working closely with clients, enhancing the natural environment and creating courses that are both challenging and enjoyable for players of all levels.

Nicklaus Design is considered the world’s leading golf course design firm, with 282 golf courses open for play in 28 countries and 36 states. Of those, Jack Nicklaus has been involved in 236 courses open for play worldwide, including 197 solo designs, 28 co-designs, and 11 redesigns. At least 45 Nicklaus Design courses have been ranked in various national and international Top-100 lists (Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Golfweek). For more information on Jack Nicklaus or Nicklaus Design, visit www.nicklaus.com

ABOUT TY WARNER

Ty Warner is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 30th wealthiest individual in the U.S. with a net worth of six billion. He is known for his generosity, most recently donating $6 million to the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation for his underprivileged children’s school in Las Vegas. He also completed the $8.1 million building fund for the Ty Warner Sea Center in Santa Barbara, California. Other charities benefiting from Ty Warner estimated $100 million in donations during the last five years include the American and International Red Crosses, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, and Agassi Foundation for At Risk Youth.

ABOUT TY INC.

Founded in 1986 by Ty Warner, creator of the wildly popular Beanie Babies(R), Ty is the world leader in the sale of plush toys. In Japan, collectors have been known to wait in line overnight to purchase some of Ty Inc.’s exclusive new releases. In addition to the Beanie Baby(R) line, which is celebrating its 11th anniversary, the company’s product line includes: Beanie Buddies(R), Classic(R), Beanie Boppers(R), Punkies(R), Pluffies(R) and Teenie Beanie Boppers(R). The Ty Heart Logo(R), recognized around the world, can be found on all Ty products available at finer specialty gift retailers. Visit Ty on the Internet at < http://www.ty.com/ >.

ABOUT TY WARNER HOTELS AND RESORTS

Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, LLC was founded and is solely owned by Ty Warner. Properties owned by the company include the Four Seasons Hotel New York located on 57th Street. I.M. Pei, the world-renowned architect who also designed the Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan and the Pyramide du Louvre in Paris, France, designed this hotel. Other properties include the 75 year-old Four Seasons Biltmore, the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, and the romantic 500-acre San Ysidro Ranch retreat, all located in the affluent Montecito community in beautiful California. Just added to his unique collection of properties — the enchanting Kona Village Resort located on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, the Las Ventanas Resort in Los Cabos Mexico, the Montecito Country Club located in Santa Barbara, California, and the Miramar Hotel located Montecito. Mr. Warner also owns the magnificent Sandpiper Golf Course which is situated on a Pacific Ocean bluff. All of the properties are currently involved in extensive renovation programs according to Mr. Warner’s vision.

HISTORY OF THE MONTECITO COUNTRY CLUB
The Early Days: A place to call home

The Montecito Country Club and the Biltmore may have more in common than potentially sharing the same owner. In 1894, the Montecito Country Club’s original 3-hole course was actually located where the Biltmore’s front lawn exists today, and the original clubhouse consisted of a single story redwood-framed structure on Channel Drive about where Mr. Warner’s ARCO property sits.

In the years that followed, the course expanded, and the clubhouse became somewhat of a transient. The clubhouse was rebuilt four times, in four different locations. Eventually the railroad and the Coast Highway bisected the course, and thus the final home of both the course and the clubhouse landed just north of the 2-lane highway.

The Goodhue Clubhouse: Ecclesiastically Inspired

In 1918 Bertram Goodhue, an architect who specialized in churches and cathedrals, designed the dramatic chapel-like clubhouse that exists today, and for some time the club was quite prosperous. Yet, the emergence of the Valley Club, combined with the stock market crash of 1929, caused financial struggles for the club that lasted several decades.

The Brundage Era: Avery To The Rescue

Avery Brundage, Montecito resident and then chairman of the International Olympic Games is accredited with leading the Montecito Country Club to renewed prosperity when he purchased the club in 1947. Brundage made significant investments in the club to raise it to a world-class facility. He added a pool to the facility, renovated the clubhouse, and restored the greens, fairways, and tennis courts.

The Tsukamoto Sogyo Era: Building Upon Greatness

Tsukamoto Sogyo Company, Ltd, continued Brundage’s efforts when they purchased the course in 1973, and maintained the clubs reputation and prestige. In 1995, 20-years of ownership was celebrated with a complete renovation of the clubhouse’s interior.

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