Heritage Golf Group continues to grow management business

Heritage Golf Group continues to expand the management side of its portfolio with the addition of two courses in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The San Diego-based company recently announced the addition of The Country Club of Whispering Pines and Foxfire Golf and Country Club, both with 36 holes.

Hillcrest Bank, based in Kansas City, Mo., hired Heritage to act as the Chief Restructuring Officer for the foreclosed properties. Heritage is also managing two courses for Textron Financial — Firethorne Country Club in Marvin, North Carolina and Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton, Fla.

Heritage is primarily a golf course owner, with 14 owned-courses. But Bob Husband, CEO of Heritage, said his company started seeking short-term management contracts with lenders when financing dried up. It now has five managed-facilities with a total of seven 18-hole equivalent courses. It has 25.5 18-hole equivalent courses overall.

Husband said that both Textron and Hillcrest are investing into the courses that Heritage manages.

“The banks are putting money into them to stay competitive in the marketplace,” Husband said. “You have to put money into courses to keep them fresh, and the banks have stepped up and done the right thing.”

Heritage has a seven-year relationship with Hillcrest, which was taken over by the FDIC in 2010.

“We might actually buy [Whispering Pines and Foxfire] if we can find some financing,” Husband said. “But I don’t expect that for the next year or so.”

Husband started Heritage in 1999 with funding provided by the private equity firm, GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC. Husband amassed an impressive collection of courses, but now has to wait until financing is again available.

“Everyday there is something coming on the market because of a default or a loan coming due,” Husband said. “Hopefully a lender will get into the business and that will draw a few others in. But the economy just has to get better. For now, everyone is just holding their breath.”

He said Heritage is also consulting for a bank on two properties in Texas.

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