Reporter: Ellie Mahan
June 23, 2022
In October 2018, the Property Owners’ Association (POA) of White Bluff Resort on Lake Whitney acquired the resort’s amenities from the developer. Since then, the resort has undergone complete restoration and has been taken to a level never experienced by White Bluff’s 6,500 property owners.
Leonard Critcher, White Bluff POA board director and immediate past president, has been volunteering his time with the POA board for more than seven years, serving as vice president the first year and then as president for the next six years.
Critcher said, “Directing and witnessing the transformation of the resort from devastation to its premier status has been very gratifying, as the process involved incredible property owner volunteer involvement.”
The developer closed the resort’s amenities in 2017, turned off all utilities and ceased maintaining the two golf courses. After reaching an agreement to acquire the amenities, the POA board immediately began addressing the rebuilding of the golf courses. At the time, there were four foot high thistles growing on the fairways, the greens and in the bunkers.
The POA entered into an Interim Operating Agreement and was allowed to begin the restoration process before acquisition. Over $1.5 million was spent on bringing the courses back to pristine condition. White Bluff had a mow day, and property owners brought lawnmowers, machetes and anything they had to clear the growth. Golf carts ran consistently in the 100-degree weather, taking bottled water to the volunteers.
The deferred maintenance on the other amenities was extensive, according to Critcher. The board developed a renovation plan that began with the Bluff View Condos and the Log Cabins. Critcher signed the acquisition agreements the morning of October 1, 2018, and renovation construction began that afternoon. Having available lodging units was the primary concern at that point.
“I organized a Volunteers Committee, and over 100 property owners gave freely of their time and talents, painting, staining, removing a massive number of dead plants and executing a landscape design for the restaurants, pro shops, entry and the pools. Every physical building we acquired had extensive deferred maintenance. We prioritized what had to be done and began the process,” Critcher said.
As the resort stands today, it has two award-winning golf courses and fully-stocked pro shops. GolfPass surveyed over 320,000 golfers nationwide asking them about the quality of the courses they played, the amenities and the staff. The new golf course was rated number one in the state by GolfPass, and the old golf course was rated number two in Texas.
The POA completely re-built Mulligan’s restaurant, opened a restaurant called the 19th Hole after it had been closed for more than 10 years and worked out an agreement to lease the Lighthouse Pub.
The POA also replaced all the golf carts at both courses, created dedicated pickle ball courts, resurfaced all tennis courts, renovated the Lone Star Room and addressed maintenance issues of all swimming pools, pool houses, mail centers, administration building and conference center.
Improvements were made to the marina, and construction of 16 new slips is underway. The POA has renovated and opened the fitness center as well as the salon and will soon be opening the spa.
The hotel at White Bluff had been closed for years. The POA undertook a complete renovation of the 28-room facility, creating a modern, state-of-the-art facility. The association then built an adjoining hospitality center with sitting areas, inside and outside, with a fire pit and covered patio overlooking the lake.
The Lighthouse Restaurant will be the next major amenity the POA addresses. It will require extensive internal attention, with a complete remodel of the kitchen.
“We have other maintenance projects involving our infrastructure, things like more efficient ways to pump water from the lake and IT needs. We will be applying to the Corps of Engineers to add a completely new dock at the marina. There is a need to open the Marina Store, and we have been looking at options on getting gasoline service and other lake amenities,” Critcher said.
The POA board is responsible for maintaining the common grounds, all of the amenities, financial budgeting, long-term planning and promotion of the resort. Critcher hopes to see the resort continue to grow in the future.
He said, “We have developed a plan to attract more guests to the resort, guests who will hopefully become a part of our community or re-visit often. We want White Bluff to be recognized as the premier resort in the state and surrounding areas.”