Brynwood Golf & Country Club's Multi-Million Dollar Upgrade in Armonk

Newly retooled and revamped, Brynwood Golf & Country Club wants to take its game to the next level.

For 35 years, the Canyon Club in Armonk was owned by Mitsubishi, the Japanese electronics and automotive conglomerate, which purchased it simply so that its local executives could play golf nearby. And even though community residents could join, they didn’t—and eventually the club, barely used, was allowed to deteriorate. Enter Brynwood Partners, who, in 2009 bought the club for $6.3 million, renamed it Brynwood Golf & Country Club, and completely upgraded it—thanks to the vision of one of the club’s few remaining patrons.

Real estate developer Jeffrey B. Mendell, an 18-year Armonk resident and avid six-handicap golfer who often played at Canyon Club, saw an opportunity. Due to the club’s high vantage point and sweeping views, Mendell, who owns several shopping centers in the Northeast and apartments in the New York metropolitan area, believed it was a vastly underutilized property that had great potential. He teamed up with two other investors to create Brynwood Partners: Edward Baquero, president of Corigin Real Estate Group in New York, who prefers swinging a tennis racket to a golf club, and a silent partner in Florida.

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Ownership’s first major stroke was to hire Troon Golf Management, one of the world’s leading managers of prestigious, high-end country clubs and resorts. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Troon manages more than 200 golf courses in 31 states and 26 countries, such as Makai Golf Club in Kauai, Hawaii; Ocean Club on Paradise Island in the Bahamas; Classic Club in Palm Desert, California; and Westin Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire, Scotland. Forty-seven Troon-managed courses have received Top-100 rankings from publications such as Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Golf Week Magazine.

The result was a multi-million dollar upgrade that includes a renovated clubhouse with a ballroom, sophisticated dining and lounge facilities, a fully-equipped gym, spa and swimming pool, a business center, and a children’s playroom with a movie theater and video games, and plans to redesign the golf course.

Since the changes, club membership, which ranges in price from $11,000 to $14,000 a year, has tripled to 350. Brynwood also offers a Sport membership, which includes everything but golf, for $8,000 a year. “People have really responded to the things we’ve done,” Mendell says.

So what is next? Brynwood wants to add a year-round residential component to the private club. It has proposed a plan to develop 123 luxury condos and golf villa units, most of them two-bedroom, adjacent to the course—with an estimated price range of $1.2 million to $1.5 million—marketed toward the empty-nester, says Mendell. “We realize there’s a demand for housing for people whose children have grown up.” The design team for the project includes Hart Howerton, a leading global architectural and landscape firm, which will helm the residential component and world-renowned golf course designer Rees Jones, Inc., which will redesign the golf course. “The community will be smaller, more intimate, and even more luxurious.” The estimated cost of developing the property, about 14 acres, is about $100 million.

Getting through the approval process is, however, more challenging than sinking a two-inch putt. The partnership’s first proposal—more units—caused a great uproar. Mendell argues that the Brynwood plan would generate $2.4 million a year in overall property tax revenue. About $363,000 would go to the Town of North Castle and the Byram Hills School District would receive an estimated $1.6 million a year. Additionally, Mendell maintains that the project would create about 300 construction jobs, and about 75 permanent jobs when it’s completed.

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“We think this is a great common sense project,” says Mendell. “Everybody wins.”

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