By Dave Allen
A few years ago, David Reasoner and his wife, Kerry, were driving around the Hudson Valley region in New York, looking for the perfect wedding venue that would one day serve as their full-time summer home. The long-time PGA Head Professional at The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., Reasoner has dabbled in real estate for many years, and even owns several properties in his hometown of Rochester that he rents out to college students.
While poking around the Hudson Valley, a friend of Reasoner’s alerted him to this enormous 585-acre property in Middletown Springs, Vermont, which had just come on the market. What made this place so unique was that it had a USGA-rated par-71 golf course on it, as well as a 7,300-square-foot, nine-bedroom farmhouse and several old rustic barns, which Kerry loved. It also had tennis courts, a 10-mile private hiking trail and multiple ponds for fishing, among other amenities. You could say it had something for everybody, including the Reasoners.
“It seemed too good to be true,” Reasoner says. “We wound up driving up there and looking at it, and sure enough, we’re like, ‘This is it! We’ve got to figure out a way to buy this thing.’ “
The Reasoners purchased Honey Pond Farm Estate in December 2022. With Kerry being an event planner, it made perfect sense to turn Honey Farm into a dream wedding destination. But upon further reflection, and all the chaos that comes with hosting weddings, David suggested they put it on Airbnb, see if they could rent it out by the week or three or four days at a time.
“Sure enough it did great the first year and word spread about the place, and it just took off,” Reasoner says.
Golf Digest, USA Today and Travel & Leisure were just some of the online publications to spotlight Honey Pond Farm, and in 2022 the Airbnb turned a fair profit. This year the property is virtually sold out from May 1st through October 31st, sans a few weekdays, at $5,000 per night.
“We’ve had guests from overseas, Alaska, Texas, California, Canada, you name it,” Reasoner says.
In addition to the aforementioned trails and tennis courts—which have now been converted into pickleball courts—the amenities also include a bocce ball court, horseshoe court, trails for ATV-ing and horseback riding, paddle boating and skeet shooting. But make no mistake, the centerpiece and main attraction to Honey Pond Farm is the private golf course, which features three oversized greens with three separate hole locations on each, multiple fairways and 27 tees (18 back tees and nine forward tees). Reasoner has made several tweaks to the routing and sightlines of the course since purchasing it, elevating some of the tees so golfers can better see the majesty of the mountains and surrounding countryside.
Reasoner even added some stadium-style bleachers, which he refers to as “The Heckle Box,” around the “Diabolical West Green” so that other groups or guests can have some fun at the golfers’ expense as they putt out on the very treacherous green.
The newest attraction in 2023 to the golf course will be a 20-by-30-foot, kidney-shaped floating island green behind the main house. Inspired by the iconic 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, perhaps the world’s most famous island green, the Aqua Greens’ built island green will also feature a bunker that wraps around the front and a 6’ x 18’ wooden dock on the back end (see photo, above).
“It’s something that’s not part of the golf course that’s going to be really fun for the guests,” Reasoner says. “It’s just one extra amenity where you can go out any time of day, hit some shots to a real green. You can also take a raft or swim out there, use the dock to fish, have lunch, hang out. There are a lot of uses for it.”
Last year Reasoner added a firepit and pizza oven out back, so the plan is to place the back tee approximately 130 to 140 yards from the center of the island green, and light up both the tee and the green so that guests can enjoy cooking and playing golf well into the evening. Reasoner is also exploring adding a virtual, online hole-in-one contest to the back tee location where guests can compete against other golfers nationwide for a big jackpot.
Guests can also use the island green to settle bets after their round of golf. The more accessible forward tee will be located 90 to 100 yards from the center of the green.
Aqua Greens owner Matt Gault says the biggest challenge in building this particular green is “transitioning the main body of the island green” to the dock. The plans are to install the green in late April, before Honey Pond’s May 1st opening, and at that time the dock will be bolted onto the main frame before being towed out onto the pond. Additional floatation will be applied to the bottom of the dock to provide more stability for those who want to sit out on the dock. The main body of the dock will be 21 inches high and there will be a 14-inch-high swim step and ladder on one end for those who are swimming. The other end will have a tie so people can secure their boats to the dock.
“I’m very excited to build this green, mostly because it’s a good example of how golf and other activities can co-exist,” Gault says. “A lot of people don’t want a golf green in their face all of the time, but this one has multiple purposes. People can swim or boat out to it, put umbrellas and chairs out there and relax. You can build one heck of an atmosphere on a dock like that.”
For Reasoner, the island green is just the latest in a series of ongoing additions to Honey Pond Farm, each of which is driven by his desire to create a fun-filled environment he can one day retire to and enjoy with his family and friends.
“Everything we’ve done for this project is like, ‘Okay, what would you want if you were going to live here?’ ” Reasoner says. “It’s exactly what I would want if I were a golfer or I was taking my family up there. It’s got everything you’d want to do. You can spread out and do whatever you want.”
For more information about Aqua Greens and its custom-designed and built island greens, and how to add one to your waterfront property, visit www.aquagreens.com. Aqua Greens also has greens available for rent. For more details, please call 800-884-4882 or email email@example.com.