What’s Next? Golf Course, Mitigation Land Banking, High-density Development, Garbage Dump?

Fallbrook Golf Course’s back nine before the water was turned back on in July. Photo: Ken Seals, June 30, 2016.


The San Diego Union Tribune‘s Tod Leonard, Bob Pickard and J. Harry Jones, the Reader‘s Ken Leighton, along with Tom Ferrall at our local Village News, must be as tired as the neighbors are, what with all the mixed messages coming out of Fallbrook Golf Course!

These reporters have done a stellar job covering the saga of our local golf course and we thank them!

On June 3, we learned that owner Jack Lamberson had “acceptable offers” for the course. This was followed by conflicting reports, both on Thursday June 30, that the course was closed “due to change in management” but would reopen under new ownership on Friday.

Then there were articles about a sale to be finalized the week of July 7th. Shortly after we were introduced to the “new owner” who told the world he was hiring and kept local contractors busy writing up quotes for pump work, enlarging and lining ponds and more. Just a few details at the lawyer’s office and the sale would be finalized; all would be joy and light, we were told.

But this week it all crumbled as we learned that the current owners had not verified the buyer’s source of funds, did not have a signed purchase agreement or even a deposit. Mr. Lamberson accused the potential buyer of trespassing, called the sheriff’s office and padlocked the doors.

Jack Lamberson took out his drill and bolted this padlock to the front doors of the golf course on July 26, 2016. Good luck to the woodworker who has to restore this beautiful old wood door one day!

Mr. Lamberson is behind on the mortgage and swears he’s not going to spend another dime on the property. He’s open to selling to anyone willing to pay his price (far above market) and will consider any offer, even a deal with buyers wanting to locate a garbage dump in Gird Valley!

Of course Mr. Lamberson can sell to anyone he wants for whatever they HOPE they can do on the property for whatever price he can fetch. Good luck to him with that.

But we do have zoning laws and use regulations so people can’t just do whatever they want in our lovely neighborhood. This is especially important for large tracts of land that anchor whole communities.

So far this year, suggested uses have included a golf course (9 holes or 18), a restaurant/bakery and bar, nighttime golfing (think light pollution), a wedding venue, a vineyard with wine tasting, mitigation land banking (think San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course), residential development, senior housing, 5-story condos, casitas along the fairways, a runway for private planes, a mini-mall, commercial development, a used car lot, a cell phone tower site, marijuana farming (it is zoned Ag) and now a garbage dump. What’s next? Fracking?

We all have a front row seat for this foreclosure. Mr. Lamberson bought the course with 100% borrowed money and neglected to secure an independent appraisal. He overpaid and the bankers let him. These big money mistakes were followed by little ones, ill-conceived ideas, fumbles that quickly turned into folly. Sooner or later the piper has to be paid and now losses are being taken on the property.

In June, First National Denver sold $2.7 million in liens, due 2021, to DDay Capital, LLC, managed by attorney Ronald Richards. Richards negotiated the Notes down, possibly at a steep discount. Mr. Lamberson can attempt to negotiate his way out or make good on his mortgage payments. Otherwise he will have to pay off $2.7 million or forfeit the property.

In the next few weeks, it appears we will exit the Jack Lamberson era and enter the Ronald Richards era. Or maybe a garbage dump operator will swoop in and buy the place. Or Donald Trump will come in and try to raise the height limit to 5 stories and build a runway. I kid you not, Trump’s people think big and actually asked if this was an option!

Seriously folks, we enter into community covenants for just this reason, to avoid these sorts of battles and conflicts, so we can make long-term decisions without worrying about neighborhoods being ruined by whatever whim catches someone’s fancy.

This property is zoned Agricultural with special use permits for golf, open space and recreation. Its traditional uses include socializing at the bar and restaurant, the joys of live music, weddings and other celebrations. We do not take lightly anyone coming in and attempting to make changes that conflict with these uses.

Yes, it really is a place where everyone knows your name! Photo: Teresa Platt, July 9, 2016.

So buyer BEWARE! You are warned, purchase at your own risk. GOLF, OPEN SPACE, RECREATION are the commitments you have from the community of Fallbrook and in the San Diego County General Plan. Stay within the traditional parameters for this property’s use and you will be welcomed with open arms! Deviate at your peril.

Be assured that if a new owners treats this property with respect, the community will rally to support them since only by making a profit will this property succeed!


The Steering Committee


Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.


Just a few years ago, Fallbrook Golf Course was a Southern California gem. With your help, it can be again! SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com Photo: Teresa Platt, View from the second green, July 30, 2013.

The Deal Is Dead! Golf Course Needing TLC, Buyer with Vision!

Fallbrook Golf Course’s back nine before the water was turned back on in July. Photo: Ken Seals, June 30, 2016.


Fallbrook Golf Course’s owner Jack Lamberson stated in a Tuesday, July 26 interview with Tom Farrell of the Village News that negotiations have collapsed on the sale of the course to Harold and Linda Vaubel of HGM Enterprises of Arizona. Mr. Lamberson said:

“We have terminated all negotiations with Harold Vaubel. He’s been under orders to quit operating illegally here and has failed to do it. He had no authority to run it at all. The only thing we allowed was for him to resume watering. I broke off the negotiations because he’s not solvent. He can’t verify funds.”

As you recall, the Village News, San Diego Reader and The San Diego Union Tribune reported in early July that Fallbrook Golf Course was under new management, with a sale pending, to close within days. With the management agreement in place, Mr. Vaubel explained that he was bringing in Mr. Cary Lee and his Candyl Golf Group crew to begin the laborious task of restoring the course. But as Mr. Lee told the Village News:

“My relationship with Harold started to go south when I asked him when I was going to get paid. Harold owes me money. He said he was going to send me a check and I still haven’t received it.”

The neighbors knew none of this when they saw activity at the course, learned that workers were being hired, saw the water turned back on, which saved the greens and tees from being destroyed this summer. With its deep roots dating back to the 1960s, the course greened-up immediately.

The tattered third tee greening up after only three light applications of H20! June 30 and July 9, 2016.

As for the ongoing process of selling Fallbrook Golf Course, Mr. Lamberson assured the Village News that he has other interested buyers so the community remains hopeful that a sale to an experienced golf course operator will be finalized soon!

Yes, it is a place where everyone knows your name! Photo: Teresa Platt, July 9, 2016.

We know the community will rally to support the new owner since only by making a profit will this golf course succeed! Play a round, buy a round!

We will keep you posted and, hopefully, our next email will announce that a sale is completed! Finally!

Thank you!


The Steering Committee


Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.


Just a few years ago, Fallbrook Golf Course was a Southern California gem. With your help, it can be again! SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com Photo: Teresa Platt, View from the second green, July 30, 2013.

A New Deal at Fallbrook Golf Course?

It was announced last week that there would soon be a welcome change in management at Fallbrook Golf Course.


By June 28th, there was a verbal deal on the table between Jack Lamberson and Harold Vaubel of HGM Golf Enterprises of Arizona. There are still legal documents to be drafted and signed but Mr. Vaubel feels confident enough about the deal that he and his crew have began working on the golf course, with special attention being paid to the greens.

Mr. Vaubel, who is an agronomist and retired golf course superintendent, believes he can successfully restore the golf course to its former glory. And not a moment too soon. The fairways haven’t been watered since April of 2015 and the greens are sadly neglected. Fallbrook Golf Course will test Mr. Vaubel’s team and, once restored, be a wonderful advertisement of their knowledge, expertise and skills.

Fallbrook’s front nine, fairway #2. Photo: Joan McConnell, June 26, 2016.

We can only hope that a deal will be finalized soon and the course will be saved. The community wholeheartedly supports a new owner!

Additionally, SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com would like to establish a non-profit to organize and underwrite juvenile golf efforts and other tax-exempt work. If you are interested in being part of this worthy endeavor, please contact us.

Stay tuned! Thank you!


The Steering Committee


Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.


Save the Greens!

Fallbrook’s back-nine fairways have not been watered since April 2015 and it shows. Are the greens next? Photo: Ken Seals, May 30, 2016.

It’s official. This sign was posted in several locations at the golf course on Friday.


The golf course is closed. Again.

Abandoned. Again.

What can you do? We need you to urge the bank to put a management company in place to save the golf course, its rapidly-declining asset, our neighborhood golf course, the gem of Gird Valley!

Yes, the fairways are trashed and will need to be re-seeded but now the greens are at risk. At an estimated value of $20,000 per hole, the greens represent a substantial portion of the remaining value of the course. With the arrival of hot summer weather, we would hate to see $360,000 dry up by mid-July!

Here is a sample letter urging the bank to manage its asset. Send your letter to Andrea Hageman at First National Denver at ahageman@firstnationaldenver.com and send a copy to us at SaveFallbrookGolfCourse@gmail.com.

We also need you to revisit all the articles that have been generated on the course’s situation and add more comments. Keep the conversation going! We expect more articles this week so stay tuned!

To help refresh your memory, we’ve worked up a brief summary on the golf course situation.

Additionally, we note that July 1 marks the 4-year anniversary of the management of the Lamberson Family Trust. Four years but it seems like forever. In that short time, we’ve seen a well run, busy, much-loved establishment replaced by the non-entity that was Jack’s Place, followed by the pipe dream that was AJ’s Taphouse (Grand Opening: June 27, 2015), all the promises that never materialized.


The breakfast service was cancelled and the water was turned off fairways in April 2015 and the neighborhood prayed for a new and experienced owner to step in and save the course as the gem of Gird Valley became what Tod Leonard, The San Diego Union Tribune‘s golf writer, described as a “cow pasture of a course.”

By January 2016, owner Jack Lamberson’s misguided intent to pursue residential development and mitigation banking (along the lines of what we see at San Luis Rey Downs) triggered the founding of SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com. Within a short time, we’d discovered that residential development of any density was impossible and mitigation banking was another unviable option. We quickly generated interest among qualified buyers but the owner was unable to make a deal. This inaction resulted in more neglect of the course.

Fallbrook’s front nine, fairway #2. Photo: Joan McConnell, June 26, 2016.

At this point, since the current owner has abandoned the property, we urge the lien holder, First National Denver, to meet its responsibility to maintain its asset until a new golf course owner … a most welcome owner … takes possession and saves the gem of Gird Valley and Fallbrook!

Save Fallbrook Golf Course! Save The Greens!


The Steering Committee


Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.


FAQ: Can course become residential or mitigation bank land under CWA?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: We are regularly asked, can this course become residential or commercial development land or mitigation bank land under the Clean Water Act? What can it be?

The short answer is NO because there are several key factors at play.

THE BASICS: The historical zoning is Agricultural with special use permits for operation. The Fallbrook Golf Course consists of 116 acres made up of 9 tax assessors’ parcels but it is only 2 legal parcels. Six of the 9 tax assessors’ parcels hold Special Use Permits allowing use as “Recreational-Vacant Land” and three parcels as “Golf Course.” Any change in use can trigger the necessity of acquiring a new permit, a zoning change and/or subdividing the property in compliance with the Subdivision Map Act.

RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT: It is very difficult to change Agricultural Zoning to high density residential or commercial zoning. Even if rezoning to Residential could be accomplished, the San Diego General Plan restricts development to 4, 8 or 16 acres per house, depending on slope. Add in setbacks for riparian and flood plan areas, roads, utilities and the various easements that exist on the property and this project is quickly rendered financially unviable. Because the golf course is located in a flood plan in low density, semi-rural Fallbrook, increasing building density or height limits requires changing the San Diego County General Plan, an onerous process with no guarantee of success.

There are far better properties available for development for far less money in North San Diego County.

MITIGATION BANKING: For mitigation bankers seeking limited acreage on the back nine near the semi-dry creek for developing into fenced-off mitigation bank land (under the Clean Water Act) purposes, the property must be subdivided first and its zoning and use changed from Open Space/Recreational to a fenced, closed property. Without community support, this change is highly unlikely to receive County approval since both the County Plan and the Fallbrook Community Plan both contain language protecting Open Space/Recreational land. Additionally, in its current form, the Subdivision Map Act requires any buyer to acquire the entire back nine parcel which also includes the parking lot and restaurant/bar. Add in that the location is not prime for mitigation banking purposes because there is little above-ground water in the area. Therefore, this purchase does not pencil out for a mitigation banker who is interested in wetlands to offset loss of wetlands in other parts of the County.

Again, there are far better properties available for mitigation banking for far less money in North San Diego County. However, this is an area that a new owner might explore since mitigation land banking has been done in conjunction with working golf/recreational/agricultural properties. Budget 5 years for paperwork, another 5 for enhancement before seeing non-repeating income from the sale of mitigation land banking credits.

In summary, due to restrictions in San Diego County General Plan, the Subdivision Map Act, and simple economics, golf or agricultural use is a great future for the property. Add in wedding venue, combined with a restaurant, bar and a new owner would have a viable business model. Adding conservation easements to the property will generate tax benefits to the owners while delivering a wonderful gift to the community.

For the right buyer, this is an amazing opportunity to buy!

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS/CONVENANTS DELIVER ADDITIONAL BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY AND A NEW OWNER:  Conservation easements/covenants are commitments to forego certain potentially valuable development rights in return for tax benefits to the owner. This additional layer of assurance to the community means that the property will never be developed. See this link on conservation easements/covenants. We are also happy to connect you to experts in this area. Just ask! Thank you!


Meanwhile, when evaluating the potential earning capacity of Fallbrook Golf Course as a golf course, it’s worth noting the AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME in the area. These, of course, are an indicator of disposable incomes:

FALLBROOK: Average household income: $86,220. (For more info.)

GIRD VALLEY: Average household income: $151,575. (For more info.)

BONSALL: Average household income: $113,910. (For more info.)


Lamberson Still Seeking Buyer for Fallbrook Golf Course

Fallbrook’s fairways haven’t been watered since April 2015 and it shows. Photo back nine: Ken Seals, April 29, 2016 .

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE: Follow this link to recent press coverage in the Village News and submit your comments online ASAP!

The May 6 article, “Lamberson still seeking buyer for Fallbrook Golf Course”, reveals that there is much interest among buyers in purchasing and restoring the course.

The Village News‘ Tom Ferrall reports that Harold Vaubel (HGM Golf Enterprises) of Tucson, Arizona is attempting to negotiate a purchase.

Additionally, Anil Yadav, owner of the nearby Pala Mesa Resort, held an exploratory meeting about adding Fallbrook Golf Course to his golf portfolio which includes The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon and Eagle Ridge in Gilroy.

According to the Village News, Mr. Yadav said, “If it financially made sense we would do it, but we’re not sure where we’re going to go yet. …The community is very active and that’s what [piqued] our interest.”

Mr. Yadav plans course restoration for Fallbrook Golf Course but he also offers years of restaurant experience, a valuable asset in this challenging time for golf operations. The Village News described Mr. Yadav as “a very successful entrepreneur who went from being a fry cook at Jack in the Box to owning more than 300 restaurants and employing more than 8,000 people”. Impressive indeed – an American success story!

June marks Mr. Lamberson’s fourth anniversary as the course’s owner and he’s been trying to sell it for most of that time, as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner).

Due to San Diego County land use restrictions, attempts to sell portions of the property to wetlands mitigation bankers or residential developers failed. More recent plans to erect a cell tower on the golf course appear to be equally ill-conceived.

While we wait for Fallbrook Golf Course to change ownership and be restored to the fabulous venue it once was, we would like to thank the North County Fire Protection District for its prompt response to complaints about debris, weeds and fire hazards. We look forward to seeing the neglected course cleaned up and greened up before the height of fire season.

With few golfers and limited hours of operation, we also ask that neighbors watch vigilantly for any illegal activities on the course such as loitering after hours, vagrancy, vandalism or any Public Nuisance (Sheriff’s Fallbrook substation: 760-451-3100, 911 for emergencies).

Let’s hope we don’t have any problems this summer. Let’s hope a new owner will soon be sprucing up the course! Let’s hope we’ll all be back at the bar and restaurant celebrating life’s events, birdies, bogeys and holes in one, tournaments and Junior Golf! What fun!! We can hardly wait!


The Steering Committee


Visit our website, sign up for our emails.

Send us an email and tell us what you would like to do to help save the course.

Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.



Attention: Future Fallbrook Golf Course Owner!

El Nino greened up Fallbrook Golf Course’s back nine in March. Photo: Ken Seals.

Dear Future Fallbrook Golf Course Owner:

We know you’re out there, taking a serious look at Fallbrook Golf Course, shaking the bushes and kicking the tires! With gorgeous trees, fabulous weather, and a community that will enthusiastically welcome and support you, this course is poised for a new beginning and we wish you the best of luck.

When neighbors in Gird Valley learned in January that Fallbrook Golf Course was in serious jeopardy of being lost forever, we quickly mobilized our time, energy and resources to form SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com. Hundreds of people joined us and numerous press reports carried our message far and wide.

Nestled in beautiful Gird Valley, this golf course has been much loved by Fallbrook residents, golfers and non-golfers alike, for over 50 years. Unfortunately, over the last two years, the course lost much of its vitality, direction and appeal and customers drifted away.

SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com’s original purpose was to defend rural Gird Valley from proposals to convert the golf course to a housing development or to a fenced/closed area (mitigation land). Either of these options would result in the tragic loss of community recreational open space.

After much research we learned that such options are virtually impossible. We are very relieved because we believe that, under new ownership, this golf course will be revitalized.

As we are turning a corner, with several experienced golf course operators interested in a purchase and restoration of the course, we offer our group’s wholehearted support.

SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com is now working to create a new future where the golf course, the restaurant and our neighborhood bar, are brought back to their former glory.

Additionally, we are exploring the establishment of a community non-profit. This tax-exempt/public benefit organization would support junior and senior golf activities and preservation of the historic live oaks and other magnificent trees in Gird Valley.

Working together, Fallbrook Golf Course will be, once again, a Southern California gem.

Welcome to the neighborhood!


The Steering Committee


Visit our website, sign up for our emails.

Send us an email and tell us what you would like to do to help save the course.

Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.


Fallbrook Golf Course to Stay Open … for Now

Aerial view of the back nine, Fallbrook Golf Course. Photo: Ken Seals, Feb. 8, 2016.

This past week, SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com helped reporters generate four articles. The San Diego Union Tribune‘s Bob Pickard and the Village News‘ Tom Ferrall covered the announced March 14 closure of the course. When the owner back-tracked and cancelled the closure, San Diego Reader‘s Ken Leighton reported Jack Lamberson saying, “his longterm plans are to eventually divide the property and sell the back nine for mitigation and sell the front nine to a residential developer.”

March 14th, San Diego Union Tribune readers opened the Sports Section to golf writer Tod Leonard’s headline, “Negligent Fallbrook course owner is betraying the public’s trust.”

Says Leonard:

“I visited the 56-year-old course on Thursday after several years of not seeing it and was shocked by the dire conditions. Fallbrook was a layout I enjoyed immensely because of its bucolic setting and distinctive routing. The front nine has always been open and fun; the tight, tree-lined back nine was a bear. The pictures on the course’s own website stoke my memories of how good and green it was. They are a heartbreaking reminder now.”

Leonard’s lengthy article states, “If there is not yet a manual for how to run a good and beloved golf course into the ground, the owner of Fallbrook Golf Club is writing it – one strange, sad chapter at a time…. [T]his is less about a tough economy or difficult water conditions. It’s about an owner who was never qualified nor ever seemed interested in running a successful golf course.”

Overextended golf course owners such as Jack Lamberson, upside down on mortgages, are trying to get that monkey off their backs. Many homeowners know what it’s like to be underwater, so one can sympathize. However, neighbors are right to be concerned since mitigation land banking (such as seen at the fallowed San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course) and residential or commercial development are all on the table and worried banks are watching.

Mitigation land bankers eyeing the golf course for revenue via the Clean Water Act need it subdivided so they can buy just the Live Oak Creek section running along the back nine. Add that process to a land use change and a new owner is looking at a decade or more, possibly an impossible venture.

Housing developers visiting Gird Valley look around, view the small lots lining the course and start counting dollars. What they need to understand is that the current San Diego County General Plan, finalized after the Gird Valley houses were built, “reduces housing capacity by 15% and shifts 20% of future growth from eastern back country areas to western communities.” It does this by requiring large lots in eastern Fallbrook, 4, 8 or 16 acres depending on the slope in areas designated as semi-rural. “Potential development and residential densities will typically be reduced where land is not already subdivided,” states the County’s General Plan.

The difficulties and costs associated with pursuing a variance to the General Plan, in addition to a zoning and land use changes, make development on the course financially prohibitive.

Former Fallbrook Golf Course owner Stacey Hart learned this lesson the hard way when he purchased 40 acres in Gird Valley intending to build 23 houses, only to discover he was legally entitled to build only 11 — if he could complete the long and expensive permitting process

Mr. Hart abandoned the project.

Buyers doing their due diligence are uncovering these facts. First National Bank Denver, which carries the loan on this course, visited the Fallbrook Golf Course last week and is discovering what we now believe to be the case: it is unlikely that any housing development or mitigation land bank deal on Fallbrook Golf Course will ever close escrow.

Jack Lamberson states, “I could sell the front nine right now to a very solid developer for $3.5 million. (But) before I give it away for someone else to make money on, I would develop it myself.”

Golf reporter Tod Leonard admonished him: “Lamberson needs to come to his senses and realize this isn’t a parking lot or warehouse he owns. It’s a public entity that has provided pleasure to thousands for more than half a century. There is a legacy to be had here, and right now his is as crusty and forlorn as his fairways.”

Fallbrook Golf Course is a golf course, a much-loved golf course. There is great value in that.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE: Visit the four articles and add your online comments. Keep the discussion going.


Presentations to FCPG, Feb 15, 2016

A BIG THANK YOU to Fallbrook for showing up in force at Fallbrook Library on Jan. 30 where we all began learning about the threats to life in Gird Valley! And thank you for attending or speaking during the Open Forum of Fallbrook Community Planning Group’s meeting on Feb. 15.

Oral presentations re: Fallbrook Golf Course were made, in order of appearance, by Teresa Platt, Dolly Harty, Sue Thorne, Bob Lindner, Larry Mitzner, Ed Erse, Judy Hughes, Brad Jordan and Bill Geffeney. Following are the prepared texts of oral presentations by Teresa Platt, Dolly Harty, Sue Thorne, Larry Mitzner, Judy Hughes and Bill Geffeney. If you would like your presentation to be included, please email it to savefallbrookgolfcourse@gmail.com.

Teresa Platt (2915 Lakemont Drive)

Good evening. My name is Teresa Platt and my home overlooks Fallbrook Golf Course’s third tee.

I share the concerns of my Gird Valley neighbors about the possible sale of any portion of the course to a developer seeking to fill the fairways with houses or to a mitigation land banker closing the area to public access.

In the 1960s, San Diego County granted Special Use Permits for this Agriculturally-zoned farmland—two parcels in all—converting it to a public Golf Course with Recreational/Open Space. By 1998, visitors and locals alike enjoyed 65,000 rounds of golf a year and we continue to love the course.

The Community holds the ultimate power over any land use so any attempt to modify the Special Use Permits on this 54-year-old course must earn our approval via Coordination with our elected representatives on the Fallbrook Community Planning Group.

North San Diego County’s growth is spiking mitigation land prices to almost $400,000 per acre. Speculators are eying and buying undeveloped and developed recreational land, golf courses, wineries and productive farmland in pursuit of this mitigation lands gold rush.

But Gird Valley residents are not willing to live for even six months with the disgraceful conditions seen at San Luis Rey Downs—never mind the decade required to navigate, at a glacial pace, a paperwork maze at multiple federal agencies, the local land permit process and the final transformation of the course into mitigation land—an often-dry marshland surrounded by a fence keeping the public out.

San Luis Rey Downs is now a weed patch and garbage dump, defaced by graffiti, bedeviled by vandalism. Lack of water has taken a toll on its wildlife. Only a program designed in DC to create wetlands could kill a golf course, along with its frogs!

The San Luis Rey Downs project managers should be held accountable for this debacle, not rewarded with another property to destroy. So we are working with our representatives in DC to shine the spotlight on the Clean Water Act and to restrict mitigation land banking to undeveloped land only.

The solution to Fallbrook Golf Course’s current woes is simple: a new and engaged owner operating under the Special Use Permits granted in the 1960s. Change is good but so is tradition.

Let us work together to avoid a future where we stand up and sadly say:

“Welcome to Fallbrook, the Friendly Village. Sorry, we have no public golf course. We had one, a good one. But we destroyed it. We once enjoyed blissful days chasing a little white ball around the cool green grass. We relaxed under magnificent oaks and towering sycamores. No more. We paved paradise and put in another housing development. Millions of dollars and a decade were squandered converting a small slice of the course to a sometimes-marshy spot along the back creek. You can see where the Fallbrook Golf Course once was—take a peek through the chain link fence behind the parking lot on the hill.”

I hope we never have to say this. Thank you and Save Fallbrook Golf Course and beautiful Gird Valley!

Dolly Harty (3502 Oak Cliff Drive)

My name is Dolly Harty, my husband Larry and I moved to Fallbrook 15 years ago. We live on the 6th fairway, a fairway that is sadly degrading.

We were lured to Fallbrook by the beauty and peacefulness of Gird Valley and the Fallbrook golf course and are shocked at the current state of the course.

Due to these concerns, we helped establish SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com with neighbors gathered around our kitchen table on Thursday, January 21st.

I joined the Fallbrook Women Golfers 18-hole golf club the year we moved to Fallbrook and have treasured my time on the course. The members of the Fallbrook Women Golfers have supported Fallbrook Golf Course for 54 years! But recently, the current course owners announced the closure of the back nine. Now we are forced to leave this golf course we love so much because we must belong to a regulation 18-hole course in order to continue our participation in county wide tournaments.

Recently I went over to hole #14 as it is the most beautiful part of the back nine to take some pictures so I would always remember this special course. I recalled a story about the previous owner who invited pro golfer Jack Nicklaus to visit. After they toured the course, the owner asked what he would do to improve it.

Jack’s comment was, “Nothing, they don’t make golf courses like this any more.”

Jack Nicklaus was right. Fallbrook Golf Course is a Southern California gem. Gird Valley is blessed with wonderful weather and treasures like Live Oak Park, the Small dog park and Myrtle Creek Botanical Garden. Even today, after 15 years living here, the serene drive down tree-lined Gird Road always makes my heart skip a beat.

Please! I urge you to oppose any land use change for this property that comes before you. I also ask any potential buyer to recognize that Fallbrook will wholeheartedly support new management committed to improving Fallbrook Golf Course for the benefit of the community, enhancing and preserving beautiful Gird Valley forever. But we are all united in our opposition to land use changes that do not benefit Fallbrook and Gird Valley!

Thank you for listening!

Sue Thorne

Good evening. My name is Sue Thorne and I have lived in Fallbrook since 1985. My home overlooks the Fallbrook Golf Course and I have watched, in frustration, as its current owner abuses this course.

It is vitally important for Fallbrook golfers, Gird Valley homeowners and Fallbrook’s reputation, that Fallbrook Golf Course be saved in its entirety as an 18-hole public course. Do not allow the current owner (who has done far too much damage to the Golf course and Club facilities already) to sell off this course piecemeal!

The current owner’s suggestion that golfers and the general public do not appreciate the hard work of the course’s staff is wrong, wrong, wrong. Unfortunately, any improvements claimed to have been made are now far outweighed by his deliberate downgrading of services in the clubhouse and lack of golf course management know-how.

The golfers do support the course and even with the threat of closure hanging over their heads, the men’s and ladies’ groups have voted to remain loyal to Fallbrook Golf Course as long as they possibly can. However, if it was reduced to 9-holes, they would be forced to move elsewhere. The question again is Where?

Where else in North County can they find an 18-hole course that welcomes the public, and is walkable and affordable?

Fallbrook Golf Club is a well-established 18-hole public golf course in a natural valley setting–not an architecturally designed country club that mandates the use of a cart to drive through gated communities from greens to tees. My husband and I fell in love with the course (and the friendly village of Fallbrook) in the 60’s when we were living in Los Angeles. It reminded us of the layout of many a British golf links. That’s why we chose to build our house on the last remaining lot overlooking the 2nd green.

Fallbrook Golf Course is one of the very special green attractions on the Fallbrook map, neighborhood friendly and a perfect match for the Fallbrook community as it appeals to families and retirees alike. Juniors enjoy clinics on the driving range, Fallbrook high school students use the course as their practice and match venue, and retirees enjoy midweek play at affordable rates.

It may not look at its best right now (thanks to drought conditions and mismanagement by the current owner) but this course is a survivor–54 years strong! With a firm community commitment to its future and a new and engaged owner, Fallbrook Golf course will see its 55th birthday and many, many more after that!

Let’s do everything in our power to free the Fallbrook Golf Course from its current owner and save it from anyone else who wants to destroy it via a land use change.

Let’s find that new, engaged owner — an experienced, Fallbrook-friendly golf operator. We will all support that owner fully! 

Larry Mitzner (Northcliff Drive)

Good Evening.

My name is Larry Mitzner and I live on Northcliff Drive in Fallbrook.

I am a member of the Fallbrook Senior Golf group and the Men’s Club at Fallbrook Golf Course. Up until recently, we played at Fallbrook Golf Course 2 to 3 days a week. My wife is a member of the Fallbrook Niners who play the course weekly.

I have been coming to the Fallbrook area and playing golf since 1972. We would regularly join groups of our friends and stay at local hotels and play the Fallbrook, San Luis Rey Downs and Pala Mesa golf courses.

In 1992 we moved here to enjoy the beautiful area and the golf courses we love. After 33 years as a Los Angeles County fireman, I retired and, we moved to a house in a neighborhood next to the Fallbrook Golf Course where I could enjoy my #1 passion: Golf.

Fallbrook Golf Course provides great defensible space for the home owners who live on the golf course but, with the potential sale of the golf course to a mitigation land bank, my greatest fear is that Fallbrook Golf Course will turn into a weed field which will leave all the houses in the area in grave fire danger.

If Fallbrook Golf Course becomes another San Luis Rey Downs, our homes will be in great jeopardy when the next firestorm comes to Fallbrook. That is not IF but WHEN the next fires come to the area!

Keeping an irrigated and manicured space, the golf course, will help reduce potential loss of homes when the next fires come.

I strongly urge the planning group consider what beautiful Gird Valley will look like if it is allowed to become another San Luis Rey Downs disaster.

Fallbrook needs the golf course and parks for the community to enjoy forever.

After all, recreation land, golf courses included, are considered a vital part of your very own Fallbrook Community Planning Group’s Fallbrook Community Plan, as incorporated into San Diego County’s General Plan!

Thank You!

Judy Hughes


  • Worked in Fallbrook/Bonsall since – 2008
  • Lived in Temecula from 2001 until we recently moved to Fallbrook


We chose Fallbrook for our Home and particularly Gird Valley because of its…

  • Local Charm
  • Sense of Community
  • Beautiful Scenery
  • Country in the City

We moved into our beautiful home only 3 months ago. Overlooking golf course, beautiful views, tranquility.

Hoping to enjoy amenities…golf, local restaurant, afterwork drinks

Then only two weeks ago became aware of golf course is in jeopardy, with overall reports of neglect over the last couple of years including…

  • Reduction of overall staff
  • Restaurant shrinking
  • Disrepair of golf greens, surrounding buildings & overall infrastructure

I believe that the Fallbrook Golf Course can once again be a thriving business in Gird Valley.

A Perfect Example – Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens, which we’ve enjoyed their…

  • Restored Plantation House
  • Wonderful Valentines Day Dinner
  • Friendly Staff – Always asking for feedback – “Tell us how it went?”
  • Beautiful Grounds

A joy to be there

I have experienced this at MANY local business like Joes Hardware, Scrappy’s Tires, European Auto, Grand Tradition.

The People of Fallbrook – they TRULY care about their neighbors and have a great love of community, and tradition


Their Current Advertisement:

“Since 1962, Fallbrook Golf Course has been a family-friendly green destination for North San Diego County golfers and beyond, with strategically placed native live oak, sycamore and eucalyptus trees providing arresting foliage, against a backdrop of lush rolling green on the regulation-length course. Pristinely manicured with sand and water features on many holes, it’s an impeccable place to spend an afternoon or early evening.”

The current owner, Jack Lamberson, is anxious to sell off the business as his recent letters to the neighborhood have clearly stated. Unfortunately, he first intends to divide the course in half. Selling the back 9 holes to a mitigation bank, which would make it impossible for the 18 hole Fallbrook Golf Course to ever regain its former glory.

I ask that the current designation of this property, allowing it to be operated as an 18 hole, regulation-length golf course, be kept firmly in place. This would require that the back half of the course, which is currently in the process of an attempted mitigation bank sale, be allowed to remain intact.

Bill Geffeney (3598 Oak Cliff Drive)

My name is Bill Geffeney. I live at 3598 Oak Cliff Drive. A new resident to Fallbrook, I bought my house in December of 2013. It is located on the remains of the sixth hole of the Fallbrook Golf Course. Professionally, I am an Enrolled Agent and a licensed real estate broker.

Personally, I cannot fault the owner for trying to maximize his investment in the golf course. He alleges that he has made a substantial investment in the property. Unfortunately, He just has not been very successful financially and he wants out. I do not blame him for that.

My beef is not with the seller. I heartily support property rights. I think we all do. We should not dictate what someone can or cannot do with their property. As long as their actions or lack thereof do not threaten the property rights or lives of others let them use the property as they choose as long as it conforms to accepted local land use regulations and zoning restrictions.

My beef is with a system of federal property incentives so perverse that an owner can run his property straight into the ground, through mismanagement, incompetence or indifference and can still look forward to being approached by a “mitigation land” broker offering him a financial incentive that exceeds the fair market value of the property per its highest and best use.

The reality of “mitigation” is that the federal government inspires with its lavish payments for mitigation credits a scheme that encourages owners of recreational land to abuse and degrade their properties by doing nothing to care for them and then when the time is right allows through mitigation a de facto conversion the property to another use.

In a sense this policy encourages the recipient not to compete in the marketplace. Quite the opposite, it encourages the landowner to “game” the system. Is this the intent of this unlegislated land use scheme? If so, isn’t it time that we demand changes in its administration from federal authorities? Likewise, local authorities must be aware of the potential abuses inherent in this system.

You, the Fallbrook Community Planning Group are elected to represent us in making decisions regarding the preservation and development of local lands. You are charged with coordinating with federal agencies, making sure that local land use plans are not ignored.

One of the obvious shortcomings of the “mitigation” process is that it does not discriminate between lands that are being utilized, (developed recreational land, for instance), and those that are not developed. Appropriate vacant lands could easily be substituted for land that has a current and accepted community use. In this case the Fallbrook Golf Course has long been zoned for recreational usage. It also extends an historical and emotional tie to the beautiful Gird Valley and its inhabitants.

Should a permit for a land use change on this property be brought before you, I urge you to preserve this treasured gem for all us.


Press Coverage: Submit comments ASAP!

FEB 3, 2016

What can you do TODAY to help save Fallbrook Golf Course? Follow the links below to recent press coverage. Submit your comments ASAP! (See this alert also in PDF.)

As reported in The San Diego Union Tribune:

[Teresa] Platt said the citizens group is planning to attend the Feb. 15 meeting of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group to let them know “we’re mobilized, we’re awake, and we’re worried.”

“New management for the golf course is absolutely welcome,” she said. “They’d see enormous support from us. But if they’re coming to get a land-use change and go through the permitting process, they’re going to get pushback.”

So have your say! Submit your comments online at the end of the articles in The Village News and at the end of this insightful DC commentary on the nonsensical federal policy pushing all this.

Comment at the end of Ken Leighton’s excellent San Diego Reader article.

Share your thoughts on The San Diego Union Tribune article by Bob Pickard. Note that this article confirms that the neighbors’ suspicions were correct — that the owner has planned all along on selling all or part of the Fallbrook Golf Course to a mitigation land bank.

If you want to know what this process entails, just look south to Bonsall where thousands of angry and disgusted neighbors bear witness to the tragic demise of San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course, now the San Luis Rey Downs Weed Patch and Garbage Dump. There is no timeline for successful conversion to wetlands so this sorry state of affairs could continue for many, many years, even a decade or more.

Even worse, Fallbrook Golf Course’s current owner admitted to The San Diego Union Tribune that he has a birds eye view from his house over the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course disaster but he planned to repeat it in Fallbrook anyway! Seriously, you need to comment!

In the deal on the table, Fallbrook Golf Course will go to seed and weeds, just like what is happening now at San Luis Rey Downs. Then “mitigation land credits” will be sold to Big Government agencies (YOUR tax dollars) and Big Developers to release them from culpability for damage to wetlands in North San Diego County.

Since most of these mitigation land credits are sold to Big Government agencies — which use your unlimited tax dollars to buy them — we now have a gold rush in San Diego County, with such land selling for an average of $380,000 per acre.

Fallbrook Golf Course, Wetland Prices, San Diego County, mitigation bank

It is estimated that land that was once farmed for tomatoes in the San Luis Rey River Valley will yield as much as $500,000 an acre! With these sort of numbers being thrown about, one has to wonder if we’ll have any farms, vineyards, golf courses or nurseries left in San Diego in a few years!

If Fallbrook Golf Course follows the same fate as the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course, Fallbrook residents will suffer negatively impacted views, decimated property values, a vastly diminished tax base and fewer recreational and job opportunities. Historic Gird Valley will host an eyesore along once-scenic Gird Road, a weedy fire hazard in the middle of residential development.

PLEASE! Submit your comments online at the end of the articles listed above TODAY!

Thank you!