Southworth acquires Willowbend C.C.

Southworth Development has acquired Willowbend Country Club in Cape Cod, Mass. from Paul Fireman.

David Southworth, who co-owns Southworth Development with Joe Deitch, worked with Paul Fireman to develop Willowbend in the early 1990s.

“I love Willowbend and have always felt attached to it,” Southworth said. “It is a great property and there could not be a better fit for our company.”

Fireman, who made his fortune by building the Reebok brand in America, had bought a home in Willowbend’s emerging community, when the course and community fell into foreclosure. Fireman bought it at auction in 1991, and brought Southworth in to finish the partially developed golf course and community.

Together, they put a new master plan into effect, rebuilding six of the courses holes, adding a clubhouse and building community roads. The project was a big success and led to other developments. In 2005, Southworth started his own company.

Southworth bought the club for an undisclosed amount. He says Fireman kept the course in excellent shape, and the community avoided foreclosures and kept its 300-plus member families. But, he sees room for growth, possibly with some different membership options. Initiation fees are currently $75,000, down from a peak of $150,000. Dues are $14,200.

Southworth plans to test out different pricing models. But for the most part, he leaves management to Greg Sherwood, president of Southworth’s management arm.

“We like to operate our own properties,” he said. “It makes us better owners. When you are on the front line with the customers and within your market, how could you not be a better owner.”

A profile of David Southworth will appear in the Spring issue of Golf Inc. 


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