KSL acquires Heritage Golf, appoints Mark Burnett to run it

Burnett hopes to acquire additional private clubs

KSL Capital Partners, the Denver-based investment firm, is buying Heritage Golf Group with its six clubs for an undisclosed price. It has hired former ClubCorp Chief Operating Officer Mark Burnett to run the portfolio. 

The clubs in the portfolio are Port Royal Golf Club, Oyster Reef Golf Club and Shipyard Golf Club, all on Hilton Head Island, S.C.; The Dominion Club, a private club in Richmond, Va.; and TPC Prestancia in Sarasota, Fla., and TPC Tampa Bay in Tampa, Fla. 

Tower Three Partners, a private equity firm, has been marketing the portfolio for much of the past year. Bob Husband, who founded Heritage Golf, brought in Tower Three as a financial backer in 2014 to replace the company's initial investor. Husband said at the time that he hoped the new private equity firm would allow Heritage to buy courses again. However, within a year Tower Three replaced Husband as CEO with David Senza. 

The new CEO is Burnett, who worked for almost 12 years at ClubCorp. He left that company in 2018 after ClubCorp's new owner hired David Pillsbury to replace the retired Eric Affeldt as CEO. Affeldt had recommended Burnett as the permanent CEO. Burnett previously president and CEO of KSL Fairways Golf Corp. until it was sold in 1999. He was then COO at American Golf Corp. He joined Clubcorp in 2006 when KSL Capital Partners acquired the private club leader. Heritage Golf represents his third stint with KSL.  

“We are excited to welcome Heritage Golf and its outstanding management team and employees to the KSL portfolio,” Burnett said. “These lifestyle clubs are uniquely positioned and provide a wide range of benefits and outstanding experiences to the members and guests."

He said the existing Heritage portfolio provides a solid platform for future acquisition growth, primarily in the private club sector. 

“The opportunity to acquire Heritage Golf aligns with our strategy of purchasing high-quality assets in the travel and leisure industry,” said KSL partner Marty Newburger. “With Mark’s strong leadership, we look forward to improving the member and customer experience at each of the clubs and growing the portfolio through strategic acquisitions, with a strong focus on private country clubs.”

Jeff Woolson, an executive vice president with CBRE who serves as the managing director of its Golf & Resort Group, handled the transaction.

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