Duncan Golf focuses on Reno-area properties

For more than a decade, Duncan Golf Management has been carving out a niche for itself in Nevada’s capital city area.

The family-owned, locally focused company aims to provide “the best golf experience in Northern Nevada,” and these days it puts its promise into practice at five properties that cater to players who seek enjoyable, mid-priced golf. The company’s portfolio consists of four 18-hole public courses and one 36-hole municipal complex.

“We strive to offer a good product for a fair price with great service,” Tom Duncan, the company’s founder and CEO, explained in a press release. “We want to distinguish ourselves by making sure everyone has a good time when they come out to visit and play our courses.”

Duncan, who runs the company with his son T. J., was the coach of the University of Nevada’s men’s golf team for a decade beginning in the mid-1990s. He also served as the pro at several courses and even co-designed one (Silver Oak Golf Course in Carson City) before he bought Wolf Run Golf Club, a venue that serves as the home of the university’s golf teams.

The Great Recession took its toll on the golf business in the Carson City area, as revenues were slashed and a few properties were forced out of business, but Duncan wasn’t dissuaded from adding to his company’s portfolio. In fact, he purchased two of the area’s higher-profile properties, Dayton Valley Golf & Country Club and LakeRidge Golf Course, in 2010 and 2013, respectively. The former features an Arnold Palmer-designed course, and the latter features a Robert Trent Jones course.

The acquisition of LakeRidge, which had been operating under bankruptcy protection, was facilitated by the Nevada State Development Corp., the state’s leading provider of loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

On New Year’s Day in 2018, Duncan took its initial step into pure operations, as it initiated a five-year management contract on Carson City’s under-performing municipal complex. A month later, Duncan took on a similar role at the nearby Sunridge Golf Club, whose owner hopes to create “a community outdoor activity center, with entertainment for all.”

Duncan declined a request for an interview, so it’s impossible to outline his goals for the future. That being said, shortly after acquiring LakeRidge he acknowledged that he expected to remain on a path of responsible growth. “We continue to look for new opportunities,” he explained, “and the opportunities seem to be growing in number.”

By agreeing to its first management contracts, Duncan may be signaling that attractive ownership opportunities have gotten harder to find.

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