Spectacular Southern Utah Golf Course Featured In Forbes Magazine
It's been quite a whirlwind start for Southern Utah's newest golf course.
Black Desert Resort, the brand new public golf course (and luxury resort) is located in Ivins (1500 E. Black Desert Drive).
Already Black Desert has hosted a charity golf tournament and is being hailed by many as the best golf course in the state of Utah.
And now Forbes Magazine has spotlighted the new links course with an impressive article.
The new course at Black Desert is as dramatic as they come, its brilliant green fairways winding through jet black lava rock and surrounded by long-range vistas, including dramatic red rocks and mountains in the surrounding state and national parks. It’s the final of 73 designs from former British Open champion and four-time Masters runner-up Tom Weiskopf, the World Golf Hall of Famer who died of pancreatic cancer in August 2022.
Forbes writer Erik Matuszewski fairly gushes about the3 new course and for good reason: "It’s not often a public golf course lands a professional event as it first opens for play. It’s downright unprecedented to be tabbed as the host of both a PGA Tour event and an LPGA tournament immediately upon its debut, but that’s the case with one of the most intriguing new golf destinations in the game."
Several local experts have called the upcoming Professional Golf Association's stop in Utah as the third biggest professional sporting event ever in our state (after the 2002 Winter Olympics and Utah Jazz's two NBA Finals appearances in the 1990s).
Matuszewski wrote that the two pro events to take place in Utah next year will have an approximate $60 million impact on the local economy.
"Black Desert ... is set to take the region to an entire other level. And the professional golf tournaments will serve as a national showcase."
Besides the championship quality golf course, Black Desert will also feature a 700-room hotel, a convention center, five restaurants, a beach, a pool and a spa. In the future, developers are aiming for more than 20 restaurants, a waterpark and several thousand homes, among other topnotch amenities.
According to Forbes, construction on the main resort center is expected to be completed by the time the property hosts the PGA Tour event in fall of 2024, with additional development scheduled out for the next several years.
Would You Buy A House That Is Haunted? A Murder House?
First things first: It is perfectly legal to sell a house in the state of Utah that is either haunted or has had something brutal happen inside its walls without telling the prospective home buyers..
Home sellers are not legally obligated to disclose reports of apparitions, of past murders, suicides or other nefarious events ("stigmatized properties").
In Utah, "stigmatized properties" are the site of a homicide, felony, suicide, infectious disease or drug contamination.
That's why it's always good to talk to potential neighbors before you make that big financial commitment.
Armed with this knowledge, Zillow asked more than 1,000 prospective home buyers if they would consider buying a house that was generally known to be haunted.
Amazingly, almost 70 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative.
OK, so let's take ghosts out of this, because truthfully some people believe in them and some don't. So let's stick with straight facts.
How many of you would buy a house that was stigmatized -- or more specifically a house in which a high-profile murder had taken place?
That number drops significantly in comparison with the question about haunted houses. Only about 30 percent of those polled said they would buy a house where they knew a murder had taken place.
Of the 30 percent who said they would buy the house anyway, they cited other "check mark" positives as outweighing the thought of the house's past -- things like great location, great yard, looks and convenience.
They also said the house's notorious past may help with negotiations and price.
"I love to negotiate, and you can bet that if the property had ... that issue .. , I would be cutting deep on the price," one persons said.
Another added: "Let the realtor work the past ghost for a discount. Focus on what kind of house you're getting and the condition of the bones, pipes, and appliances."
But even the ones who said they would buy a "murder house," draw the line after a certain point.
"If it would have been a cult murder or someone that hid dead bodies in the house (i.e. a serial killer), then I'd be concerned."
Still, money talks, right? According to theHill.com, "Data shows 'murder houses' sell for a median 21% less than their previous sale price and 9% less than the list price. These properties also sell for 15% less than comparable houses in the same zip code."
So where's the line for you? If you could get $100,000 off a $500,000 house because a murder had been committed there, would you do it?
Poof! The Southern Utah Town That Disappeared
Utah's history is rich, especially in our corner of the state.
Ghost towns like Grafton and Old Irontown evoke emotions from Utah historians. These places were once vibrant communities that for one reason or another, were abandoned and eventually turned into the ghost towns that they are today.
But nobody seems to remember Hookerton. Or perhaps more accurately, nobody wants to remember Hookerton, the town with the sullied reputation and mysterious disappearance.
Located southwest of St. George (historians disagree as to exactly where), Hookerton was a stereotypical Old West watering hole with one big not-so-secret industry.
Hookerton was home to, well, hookers.
Presumably this town was founded by and named after its first resident, Erastus Weinheimer Hooker. The trapper and fur trader passed through these parts in the 1830s, long before the pioneers found their way here.
Hooker moved on, but returned in the latter part of that decade and built a cabin somewhere near (again, we don't know where exactly) the Beaver Dam Wash.
Before long, as we humans like to do, others built near Hooker's ranch and before long a town was established. Hooker, notoriously introverted, objected to the name "Hookerton," but lacked the gumption or savvy to fight it and the town was named after him.
Like any good western town at the time, a saloon was built, featuring several rooms for traveling guests as well as a general store and even a small bank (reportedly one of the first to be robbed by Butch Cassidy!).
As time went by, Hookerton began to attract the "cowboy" and "drifter" type, men looking to avoid the more religious and pious area of St. George and Santa Clara.
With the influx of men and the mix of alcohol and loneliness came the "world's oldest profession."
"Hookers" began to arrive in Hookerton in the 1850s and the town's population grew to the bulging number of 159 citizens.
As far as historians can tell, Hookerton's population stayed in the 160 range for approximately 25 years. In the mid 1880s the town's literal thirst began to take its toll. Without a reliable water source, the population began to dwindle and by 1885 there were less than 65 people left in the town.
And then the strange part. Some time between 1887 and 1891, Hookerton just disappeared.
Poof. It was gone.
Reportedly cowboys would ride out to where they thought the town was located and only find sand, dust and a lonesome hum where the town used to be.
In fact, there were no signs it had ever existed. No abandoned buildings, no worn trails, no wagon ruts, no human waste, not even the signs of a campfire.
For all intents and purposes, Hookerton was wiped from the face of the earth.
The baffling story of Hookerton has historians and scientists grasping for explanations, with one local history buff saying the town must have been purged by God.
"Maybe what was happening in that town created the need for it to be removed ... permanently," said the local historian, who asked that his name not be used in this article. "This area was very religious and ordained by the Creator in a lot of people's eyes. I believe it's possible the locals just 'prayed it away.'"
Other less religious types theorize that a huge flood came through the Beaver Wash area and the mostly abandoned down was wiped away by the rushing water.
What really happened to Hookerton will likely never be known.
And I have a feeling old Erastus W. Hooker would be OK with that.
Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures: The 'Nepo-homebuyer'
Have you heard of the term "nepo-homebuyer"?
It's quickly becoming a thing in our modern world.
See, the issue many young people are running into is the fact that getting into a $380,000 starter home at eight percent interest has become pretty much impossible for someone making 15-20 bucks an hour
Even if that young couple has both partners working and they both make $20 an hour, the monthly household income is less than $7,000 a month. With no money down that means a starter home (maybe a manufactured home or a condo for that price) would have a payment of $3,000 a month.
That's where a "nepo-homebuyer" becomes necessary.
A 'Nepo-homebuyer' is someone who uses a significant loan or gift from family members (usually parents) to make a large down payment, thus making the house payment affordable.
According to Forbes.com, "An eye-popping 38% of recent homebuyers under age 30 used either a cash gift from a family member or an inheritance in order to afford their down payment.
"First-time homeownership has become increasingly expensive, which has shut the door to homeownership for young people without family money. As a result, a large share of young homeowners can be labeled “nepo-homebuyers,” meaning they received family money to purchase a home."
For instance, taking that same $380,000 home, but applying a $100,000 down payment would bring the house payment down from $3,000 a month to $2,164 a month for a 30 year fixed mortgage at the current 8.55 percent.
While that doesn't make the payment cheap, it often makes the difference between being able to get a home or having to stay in an overpriced rental.
If the couple makes $6,800 a month, the net difference between the two payments is monstrous -- $836 to buy diapers, groceries, clothes or other necessities.
There are a couple of issues with the "nepo-homebuyer" model.
First, the family member or parent has to have a lot of excess money -- and usually kids have no idea how much money their parents have.
Second, there are a bunch of complicated feelings that come with this kind of relationship. Was the money a gift? Do I have to repay it? Do the parents then have a say as to how I raise my kids? Do I have to give them a cut if I sell my house? Can they really afford it? ... and the list goes on.
But even with these potential issues, we've gotten to the point that the only way many young families will ever get a home of their own is with a little bit of help, a little bit of "nepo-homebuyer" help.
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Gallery Credit: Michael Leonard