Founded in 1986, Marsh Landing Country Club is rated as one of the top courses in North East Florida.


Come experience playing a private 18- Hole course built around Mother Nature’s personal playground.

 

 

 

In a recent article by Bloomberg, Marsh Landing is listed as one of the top neighborhoods people are flocking to.
Read the full story here

 

 



A Letter from the Owner:

June 3rd, 2020


                I have never participated in any type of social media because of the incredible amount of false and misleading discourse it enables for those with hidden agendas. Recent postings of vicious attacks and untrue facts directed towards me personally have prompted me to respond. James Hensley recently claimed that I am suing The Homeowners Association. He has twisted the facts to suit his personal agenda. He filed a frivolous lawsuit against me and the Homeowners claiming that his home was flooded because of poor maintenance of lake levels. The truth is that the lake levels have been maintained above design levels for over 30 years for aesthetic purposes. The Homeowner Association has been diligent in monitoring any approaching storms and lowering lake levels to design levels or lower prior to heavy rainfall. Those who have lived on the lakes have seen this occur for years.  Mr. Hensley’s frivolous lawsuit has cost the Homeowners Association over $400,000 to date. I have attended numerous meetings where agency engineers have emphatically stated that his flooding was caused by a storm surge and nothing else.  When the water level of the marshes rises to levels where the community is one big lake no pumping system can prevent the flooding because there is no place to pump the water.
                The lawsuit he claims I have filed against the Homeowners Association is actually a disagreement between The ML Partnership Insurance Company and The Homeowners Association Insurance company as to who must bear responsibility for defending against Hensley’s lawsuit. My insurance company believes the Homeowners Association has indemnified ML Partnership against this type of lawsuit since we have no involvement in lake levels. A judge will decide this issue at some point. Another issue is a lake which I constructed near the 18th tee of the golf course behind Hensley’s house. This was done many years ago at the request of those homeowners on the left side of the fairway. Those folks contacted me regarding their backyards and a tendency of their yards flooding during times of heavy rainfall. I remember talking to Jerry Nelson who was one of those affected at the time. The golf course was also having the same issues in that area. I knew that a lake would solve the problem and become a nice design feature for that hole. We designed and dug this lake to solve the problem at no cost to the homeowners. Hensley’s lawsuit contends that this lake contributed to his house being flooded. Again, I have been in numerous meetings where government engineers have unequivocally stated that just the opposite is true. This lake simply gives more storage capacity before flooding can occur. Because we connected this pond to the master drainage system the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) requested that we file for an “After the Fact” permit. We did this and they notified us that they would issue this permit. They later asked us to withdraw our request because of the Hensley lawsuit and stated that the permit would be issued at a later date.
                I have seen emails where Hensley gloated about how much he would receive in positive damage for his lawsuit. Fortunately, the judge recognized that situation and ruled against Hensley receiving positive damages. My first encounter with Hensley was when I met him at his house quite some time ago after I had kicked him out of the club because of an incident on golf course property. His story and that of the golfers involved (Pat Ivey, Phil Mak, Bob Bissell and my son, Chet) differed greatly. I have known these gentlemen for a long time and would believe their stories any day over Hensley’s. because of misleading facts he has posted on social media. He wrote threatening emails to our club manager at the time. I decided to contact him and try and calm all the parties down a bit.  I met him at his house at 11:00am on a Sunday morning per his request. I introduced myself and his first words were, and I quote, “Before we start this meeting, I want you to understand that I do not like country clubs, I do not like golfers and I do not like neighbors.” I asked why he bought in MLCC and his answer was that he got a good deal on his house. I immediately knew that this would not be a productive meeting. Nevertheless, we talked for a few minutes and I listened to his version of the golf course incident. At the end of our discussion he stated that he needed a favor from me. He said that his wife loved to play tennis and was unhappy with the fact that he had caused them to lose their membership. He then asked if I would reinstate their membership. I stated that I would do so only on the condition that I never hear from him again. He assured me that I would not. A few weeks later I received a notice of his lawsuit and subsequently cancelled his membership. I have been told by numerous of people that he has purchased a home in The Plantation.  l certainly hope this is true because our community will be more enjoyable without him.
I have been asked frequently if lake levels can be raised again. I can absolutely assure you that will happen in the near future. Hensley once posted incorrect facts that six acres of additional lakes would be needed and that I would not provide land for these lakes. NOT TRUE! SJRWMD is requiring 2 and 3 acres. I have identified several areas of the golf course where we can solve this problem. The lakes absolutely will be raised despite Hensley’s lawsuit.
                This now brings me to an update on the club’s status. A few months ago, I approached the M.L. Master Board and brought them up to date on the status of the club. I made them aware of the fact that I was no longer willing to personally subsidize the club, as I have in the past years and that operations were not sustainable at current levels of support.
                There are numerous reasons but the three responsibilities are: 1.) Loss of 350 resident members during the downturn 2.) Loss of $500,000/year in revenue when the Marriot was sold and 3.) the development of Pablo Creek ($200,000-$300,000 loss revenue.)
                For a number of years, the club could operate by generating the necessary revenue to cover debt and expenses, but not be able to put money into a capital fund. Since the downturn, I have loaned the club over $3.2 million. I am no longer willing to continue in this mode.
                Is the club tired and in need of major overhaul? Absolutely! Why do we find us in this position? Because over 750+ families have chosen not to support the club and I am not willing to spend $10-$12 million on the club with no repayment plan. I have owned this club since opening. Fifty percent ownership until 2003 and 100% since that time, except for a small interest held by former employees. Since opening, I have never taken any money from the club. Not one cent! Many seem to believe this to be untrue. I will be happy to accept any wagers to the contrary and will open our books for an independent audit. Loser of the wager will pay for the audit and pay the winner $100,000. I will accept any and all naysayers.
                My proposal to the board is fairly simple. I will agree to make the following improvements to the club. 1.) We will create outdoor dining patio on the marsh side of the club. This seems to be something that most members want. 2.) We will create a water park and new health/fitness center at the current pool location. 3.) Once this is complete, we will relocate fitness and renovate the tennis/fitness center to become the golf and tennis pro shops along with administrative offices. The current pro shop will be used as an addition to the men’s locker room. The current sitting room will then be dedicated to ladies’ activities (card playing, socializing, etc.).
                I talked to Harrison Minchew and he provided cost estimates that indicate we would need to spend about $5 million on the golf course and I believed that I could do the rest of the work for $3-5 million, I now believe that we can easily spend $10-12 million on these improvements. My plan would be to finance all improvements plus refinance existing debt. I estimate that it would be a loan of around $16 million. I want to stress that these numbers are our best estimates. We will only be able to get hard numbers once design plans are complete. This will cost a substantial sum of money and will only happen when a plan is in place. If costs are such that I can cover all debt in the loan including the $3.2 owned to me, it would be great. This will probably not be the case and I would leave my loan in place. Hopefully, we could attract more outside members and amortize this $3.2 million at some point. This would require that all homeowners become members and pay $150/month or $1,800/year. Homeowners would become swim, fitness, and social/dining members. In addition, they would receive 12 guest golf passes/year and 24 guest tennis passes/year. Also, on the package would be $500 in dining room credit to be used for dinners purchased on Thursday or Saturday nights. If your bill for dinner is $100 you would only pay $50 until you receive the full $500 discount. Total value is $2,400 and your cost is $1,800. Guest passes could be used, sold, given as gifts, or donated to your favorite charity (this would generate a nice tax reduction).
                We will commit that as long as this agreement is in place, we will continue to operate the club for the members benefit. It could not be developed for homesites. Contrary to Hensley’s posting, the golf course is not part of the master drainage plan. Only the lakes and the pipes connecting the lakes are part of the plan, our original DRI (Development of Reginal Impact) allows for many more homesites than we currently have or could develop on the golf course.
                I want to stress, contrary to Hensley’s posting, that my only desire is to make the above-mentioned improvements and make Marsh Landing once again the premier community in North Florida. I have never suggested that I want to sell the club to the residents or anyone else. The board indicated that one solution would be for the residents to buy the club. There is an agreement in place from many years ago that gives the residents a first right of refusal if I decide to sell the club. The price was set at that time with an escalator. Depending on how the escalator is interpreted, that number is now between $18-25 million. In January, at the board’s request, I signed a letter that if my plan received no support I would sell the club to residents for $14 million. I recently told the board that I would give them the time needed to formulate a plan. I have made it very clear that my only desire is to continue ownership of the club and that I do not need any income from the club for me or my family. Chet and I believe that times have changed and now the club needs to be more of a social gathering place for all residents. I have challenged him to create this type of a club that offers something that all can enjoy, not just the golfers or tennis players. I would simply like for the debt to be repaid. Any excess cash flow generated would go into a capital improvement fund for future projects. It is a never-ending process. The Plantation, The Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, San Jose, numerous other clubs have renovated their facilities twice in recent years. The time is well past for us to do the same.
                I believe that this is an incredible and generous offer. I only want to see values rise rather than decrease because of the Club. I have been told that home values have increased by around 20% at Selva Marina since their renovation. I welcome any questions or comments. My cell number is (904) 813-4005 and Chet’s office phone number is (904) 273-2293. Before making my plan firm, we intend to create focus groups to get your input on just what you want your club to become. We want to accommodate your needs and desires. My income from the club will be the “psychic income” I receive by observing my vision from 1985 coming to fruition and Marsh Landing being a source of pride, not just for me, but for all residents. Hope to see you at the club.
 
C. Stokes

 



June 4th, 2020

            A group of friends, who know me well and understand and appreciate what I am trying to accomplish in my plan for the future of the club, approached me today and asked why even respond to the garbage posted on social media. Their take is there is only one relevant issue to discuss, that being is the future of the club. After thinking more about their comments, I totally agree with them.  Past history of the club financials, where I choose to live, Marsh Landing C.C. Realty, and other factors are not relevant to the issue at hand. 
The things that I care about are my family and the future of the club.  My wife was in tears this morning because of the vicious personal attacks on social media. She said that the birthday dinner tomorrow night at the club for our daughter-in-law would be the last time she would set foot in the club. This comes form the nicest human being I have ever encountered.  It is incredibly upsetting to me that it has come to this. She has always told me that one of her great joys in life is sharing many wonderful dinners with me and our friends at the club. Many folks have heard me say that I could not write a better prescription for a wife.
            For the well-being of my family, going forward my only discussion will be to answer questions, regarding our proposal for the club’s future. I will answer any and all questions that pertain to any plan for the club.  This will be my last posting regarding MLCC and its future. Many thanks to my friends and supporters for all your kind comments.
 
C. Stokes

               

 

Golf

Championship Golf surrounded by nature in beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach.
 

Wedding & Events

An elegant venue with a picturesque view of the 18th hole.
 

Tennis

10 Hard Tru Courts  and a Wellness Facility with daily classes, Personal Trainers and Massage. 
 

Member Social Events

With annual Holiday parties and monthly events for all the membership we have something for all ages. 

Request Information

Start your adventure today by requesting information about our club. Learn about our requirements, programs, amenities and more.

REQUEST MEMBERSHIP INFO