Escalante Golf finally closes on The International, its 18th facility

Escalante Golf added its 18th facility in February when the long-awaited acquisition of The International was approved by a bankruptcy court for $10 million. The boutique golf course owner and operator has quietly amassed one of the largest owned portfolios of golf courses in the U.S. The Fort Worth, Texas firm now has 28.5 18-hole equivalent courses in its portfolio, up from less than five in 2008. 

David McDonald and brothers Elcio Silva and Robert Silva founded Escalante in 1991. David Matheson joined the company in 2010, after 12 years in marketing at Starwood Hotel and Resorts. All four attended college together at University of Oklahoma and were in the same fraternity.

While most acquisitions have been one course at a time, Escalante acquired two Florida courses in 2011 — Spanish Wells Country Club in Bonita Springs from Wachovia Bank and Black Diamond Ranch. It acquired four Texas courses from Redstone Companies in 2013. 

The acquisition of The International in Bolton, Mass. was first announced in November, but took almost four months to close. The International is the only 36-hole private golf club in the Greater Boston area and  home to the nation’s longest course.  

“From its history and championship layouts to its picturesque New England landscape and ideal proximity to Boston, we saw a unique opportunity in The International to build something truly special and different,” said David McDonald, President of Escalante Golf.

Escalante Golf has begun conversations with prospective members as it plans for the Spring 2021 reopening of the club.

“The International is building a membership of successful leaders from diverse backgrounds that will continue for generations to come,” McDonald said. 

At 8,325 yards, the Pines Course at The International is the longest course in the United States and one of the most difficult due to its large green complexes and penal bunkers. It was designed in 1953 by Geoffrey Cornish who was assisted by Francis Ouimet. It was later renovated and lengthened by Robert Trent Jones Sr.

The Oaks Course is one of two golf course designs by Tom Fazio in Massachusetts. Fazio also designed the club’s expansive practice facility that serves both courses, including a double-sided driving range with multiple short-game areas. 

The International was previously owned by Dan and Florence Weadock, who acquired it in 1999 from Starwood Capital. Jeff Woolson, an executive vice president with CBRE who serves as the Golf & Resort Group’s managing director, represented the sellers. 

“We represented Starwood Capital in the 1999 sale of the  club to the Weadock family, who took great pride in carrying on the traditions of great golf in New England," Woolson said. "Opportunities like The International are rare and the buyer, Escalante Golf plans to make significant improvements that will help return this unique club to its former glory.”

 

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