Liberty National now more affordable for millionaire golfers

Posted in What's News by on June 2nd, 2011

Hey, rich guys hoping to strut your stuff at Liberty National Golf Club — does Paul Fireman have a deal for you? Club owner Fireman has slashed the buy-in to Tiger Woods’ favorite course from a $500,000 bond to a measly non-refundable $250,000, according to Bloomberg.net.

And, says Bloomberg, you may spread your payments over two years — kinda like a lay-away plan for the flush and famous. After all, conceded Fireman, even the affluent have had to adapt their lifestyles to today’s uncomfortable economy.

“People who can afford Liberty are less affected now,” Fireman, who made his fortune as chief executive of Reebok International, told the publication. “They’ve reassessed their lives. They know they want to move on, so they’re able to join. They’re a little more cautious, they don’t want to look precocious to their friends, but I think that’s over.”

Thank goodness the wealthy are free to spend their billions again on trifles like membership in one of the world’s most expensive country clubs. With that little blip on the financial radar screen behind us, Fireman met the press Wednesday to show off his refurbished patch of Jersey City, N.J., sod.

The owner of the private Willowbend Country Club on Cape Cod revamped Liberty National’s layout in hopes of luring the PGA Tour back to a venue that did not exactly wow Woods and his peers. Woods called the Tom Kite/Bob Cupp-designed Liberty National “interesting,” among other things, during the 2009 Barclays tournament. Others were not so charitable about the former toxic waste dump that is a home course for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Boston’s own Mark Wahlberg, Ray Romano, Samuel L. Jackson, and Phil Mickelson, according to Bloomberg.

Fireman apparently took the poor reviews seriously and went to work on the course he opened in 2006 to the tune of $250 million. With the remodeling done, Fireman was confident that the world’s 13th-ranked golfer (Woods was still No.1 when he finished tied for second at the ’09 Barclays) and his brethren would return to play on his lavish domain.

“Tiger will be back here,” Fireman told reporters Wednesday. “That’s not an issue.”

Really? It might be to Woods, whose leg injuries may keep him from competing in the U.S. Open in two weeks. Hard to imagine a gimpy Tiger rushing back to a course that’s not exactly among his top 10. Perhaps Fireman’s tasteless  description of Liberty National’s facelift was meant to entice the guy who’s still paying for his sexual escapades, or maybe it was just a come-on to prospective members.

“Liberty is not a lady that’s just going to say, ‘Just take me when you want,’” Bloomberg quoted Fireman as saying. “You’ve got to work for it.”

(Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Check her out on the Waggle Room, Boston Golf Examiner, National Golf Examiner, and GottaGoGolf websites. You may also follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer.)

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