Elite Golf Management: turnaround specialist

Hollywood has produced some memorable golf movies — Caddyshack, Tin Cup and Happy Gilmore among them — but only one that was inspired by the true-life experiences of a management-company CEO.

It’s called The Squeeze, and it tells the story of a young, cash-poor golf prodigy who dreams of playing on the PGA Tour but is instead persuaded to join a pair of con artists who are out to fleece unsuspecting small-town golfers. The hero of the story is Keith Flatt, who – spoiler alert! — eventually escaped from the life-or-death “squeeze” that high-stakes gamblers put him in. From there, he went on to turn pro, serve as a caddy on the tour and become a well-known figure in the Las Vegas area’s golf industry.

Today, Flatt is the owner and chief executive of Elite Golf Management, a two-year-old firm that manages seven properties in Nevada and California, five of them in Las Vegas and its close-in suburbs. Elite advertises its courses — a total of eight 18-hole tracks and one nine-hole layout — as “an affordable four-star golf experience,” a pitch that it believes will resonate especially well with vacationers.

Golf operations in Las Vegas have been feeling their own squeeze in recent years, and Flatt has felt the pinch. He and Paul Jaramillio founded Par 4 Golf Management in 2008, and they reportedly owned and operated Badlands Golf Club, Silverstone Golf Club and Spanish Trail Country Club. When the economy refused to improve and the flow of red ink became too much to bear, Par 4 sold all three, and Spanish Trail is the only one that’s still in business. Sometime in 2015 or 2016, Par 4 bit the dust as well.

What’s more, several venues that Elite currently manages — the group consists of four public courses, two municipal courses and one private club — have also experienced financial misfortunes. This year, for example, Elite added Legacy Golf Course, which had been closed and slated to become a subdivision until it was rescued by new ownership. The company also added Aliante Golf Club, a muni that’s reportedly been losing roughly $200,000 annually in recent years. In addition, one of its longtime properties, Black Mountain Golf & Country Club, filed for bankruptcy protection, and its owners say they’ll go belly up if they don’t get permission to replace nine of their 18 holes with houses.

Given the state of golf in Las Vegas, it’s no surprise that Flatt welcomes opportunities to effect turnarounds. He tells prospective clients that his firm has “a proven track record of turning struggling facilities into profitable business ventures in a short period of time,” thanks in part to his background as both an owner and as an elite golfer. His perspective, he contends, enables him “to create a first-class golf experience while still keeping a sharp eye on the bottom line.”

It’s a message that’s helped Elite survive in a market that hasn’t yet shaken the grip of the Great Recession. Until Las Vegas finds a balance between supply and demand, management companies will be hard-pressed to find any sure things.

 Elite Golf Management3251 East Warm Springs, Suite 200Las Vegas, NV 89120702.462.9060 / fax 702.462.9640

http://elitegolf.co/

 

COURSES

Aliante Golf Club / North Las Vegas, NV / 18 holes, Municipal

Black Mountain Golf & Country Club / Henderson, NV / 18 holes, Daily fee

Legacy Golf Course / Henderson, NV / 18 holes, Daily fee

Mountain Falls Golf Club / Pahrump, NV / 18 holes, Daily fee

Primm Valley Golf Club / Nipton, CA / 36 holes, Daily fee

Spanish Trail Country Club / Las Vegas, NV / 27 holes, PrivateWildhorse Golf Club / Henderson, NV / 18 holes, Municipal

 

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