Banner year for management companies: Clublink, Sequoia, Heritage set pace

The world’s largest golf course management companies grew by six percent over the past year, according to an exclusive survey by Golf Inc. magazine. That represents one of the fastest growth periods on record, and the growth was even stronger for American companies with eight percent growth.

Overall, the world’s 25 largest management companies now operate 1,653 18-hole equivalent golf courses, up by 21 percent from 2006.

ClubLink plans to buy up to 5 more Florida courses, after Woodlands acquisition

ClubLink plans to purchase four to five additional courses in Florida, following its April acquisition of the 36-hole Woodlands Country Club in Tamarac, Florida.

The Canadian-based operator acquired the club from its equity membership for $5 million in late April. Steven M. Ekovich of Marcus & Millichap who represented ClubLink on the deal, said it took two years to come to final terms. He said it takes time to get equity members on the same page, similar to herding cats. 

How many more private clubs will die?

The private club industry is facing its most acute membership crisis in a generation. Studies show that 40 percent of the nation’s 4,415 private clubs have seen a membership decline, with initiation deposits down by 43 percent. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of clubs are in serious financial trouble, with many turning to third-party management or opening up to public play.

Warrior Golf buys Cimarron Golf Resort in Palm Springs

Warrior Golf acquired Cimarron Golf Resort in Palm Springs, Calif., last week from Textron Financial, which had foreclosed on the property in 2010.

This is the seventh golf course acquisition for Warrior, which is managed by Brendan Flaherty who is the founder and CEO of Warrior Custom Golf, Inc.

The Cimarron Golf Resort features two separate 18 hole layouts; The Boulder, A full length par 71 course and the Pebble, an executive par 55 course. There is a grass driving range, putting green and the carts are highly equipped with state of the art GPS.

Doral for sale, Great White course could be plowed under

The “Great White” course at Doral Resort in Miami could be plowed under and turned into residential space, according to court filings.

MSR Golf Resort, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, hopes to sell the resort and the other four courses.

The “Doral is at a strategic crossroads,’’ lawyers for MSR Golf Resort wrote in New York bankruptcy court filings this week. To “remain competitive in the long-term, the Doral should reposition itself as an elite resort. This repositioning will require a capital infusion in exchange for improved profitability in the future...’’

Western Golf Properties refocused on management, adds three

Western Golf Properties has added three new contracts in the past 45 days, bringing its total to 14.

The Lake Forest, Calif.-based company recently added three California courses — Palm Lake Golf Course in Pomona, El Cariso Golf Course in Sylmar and Paso Robles Golf Club in Paso Robles.

“We took a look at the company and restructured,” said Bobby Heath, president of the company. “It is a different philosophy than ever before. Instead of planning developments, we are looking at helping people with problems.”

Hawaiian Golf Properties buys fourth course this year

Hawaiian Golf Properties LLC has acquired its fourth course in the past year with the acquisition of Makaha Resort & Golf Club in Oahu, Hawaii.

The Canadian investment group, backed with Chinese money, bought Kapolei Golf Course in Oahu in September and the Golf Club at SouthShore in Henderson, Nev., in February. It started leasing Luana Hills Country Club in Kailua, Hawaii in March and changed the name to Royal Hawaiian Golf Club.

Are golf courses renovating themselves out of business?

Golf course foreclosures and distressed sales are continuing at a brisk pace. One thing many of these courses have in common is that they had recently renovated the course or clubhouse. They took on debt with the hope that it would lead to increased rounds or membership. But it only led to financial struggle.

Despite this history, other golf courses continue to announce planned renovations, spending anywhere from $500,000 to more than $3 million. Many are moving forward with the hope that increased revenue will justify the expense.

Troon adds two courses, Calif. and Mo.

Troon Golf recently announced the addition of two courses — Marin Country Club in Novato, Calif., and Payne Stewart Golf Club in Branson, Mo. The world’s largest management company oversees operations at properties located in 31 states and 24 countries.

Marin Country Club is a private club that was recently remodeled with reconfigured bunkers and new greens. It includes an 18-hole golf course, indoor/outdoor golf training facility, fitness center, four tennis courts, and three pools. It will join Troon’s Privé division of private clubs, which is run by Jim McLaughlin.


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