Bluffs owners have ambitious strategy _lowres

Advocate staff photo by Howard Arceneaux -- The view from the green toward the 18th hole fairway showcases the natural beauty of The Bluffs on Thompson Creek.

The Bluffs Golf Resort in West Feliciana Parish is about to undergo a renaissance, thanks to a pair of new investors.

Lawyers Ken Carter and Richard “Jerry” Dodson have purchased the golf course, clubhouse and some real estate for an undisclosed amount from previous owner Claude Penn.

“It’s an exciting time for the entire community,” Carter said. “The challenges require support from all of us in the St. Francisville and West Feliciana area.”

Carter and Dodson outlined their plans for the development in a meeting with residents Aug. 26. Their company, Bluffs Renaissance LLC, has hired Troon/Honours, an upscale management, development and marketing company for golf course properties.

“We want to give ourselves the best chance for success, so we decided to go with the best,” said Carter, who has been a resident of The Bluffs for 10 years. “We’re excited about it and we feel we have a world-class golf community.”

As part of the management agreement, Carter said, one request he made was that current employees be retained and incorporated into the Troon/Honours operation.

Immediate changes may include some minor changes in the restaurant and Bluffs Renaissance is committed to installing state-of-the-art WiFi.

The new owners also plan to return to the original concept for The Bluffs when it was designed by Arnold Palmer and Harold Leone and opened in 1988.

Bluffs Renaissance intends to create a golf and conference resort that would include sufficient lodging and amenities like a spa to make the facilities an attractive destination, just not on as grand of a scale as was originally intended.

Carter said the aim is to keep it consistent with the low-key natural scenery of the Felicianas and the indigenous area.

“It won’t be flashy, there won’t be a big Marriott sign on it,” Carter said. “But it cannot be successful without more rooms on-site, and we have to determine that number of rooms through research. But I also want something keeping with the ambiance and keeping within the beautiful geography of the region.”

Part of the long-term strategy is to develop more residential real estate in the area and that construction will be determined by demand. That includes homes that are affordable for families as well as retirees.

Down the road, Carter said, he’d like to see a retirement component added for seniors in the community.

He said Bluffs Renaissance will continue to encourage comments from various stakeholders as The Bluffs is developed into a premier community for the region, one that will increase value for property owners and one that will be a source of pride for the Felicianas.

“We’re excited about it, and I ask for prayers and support for the renaissance of The Bluffs,” Carter said.