20 Golf Inc. Fall 2014
In a year of big deals, Eric A;eldt pulled
o; one of the biggest with the $265 million
acquisition of Sequoia Golf and its 54 golf
courses. ;at make’s A;eldt CEO of the largest ownership company in the world, and the
second-largest management company.
Everything has been about growth since
ClubCorp went public a year ago, raising
$252 million in its initial public o;ering. ;e
Dallas-based giant acquired nine courses
prior to the Sequoia announcement in
August, including two Tournament Players
Clubs — TPC Michigan in Dearborn and
TPC Piper Glen in North Carolina.
A;eldt has also guided the company to better pro;ts. ;rough the end of June, revenue
was up 8.1 percent to $211.4 million for the
quarter. Same store-sales were up 4.1 percent.
A;eldt has caught the interest of Wall
Street, with Barron’s and others lauding the
company’s ;nancial performance. ;e com-
pany’s stock price has jumped 30 percent
since last September. ;ose numbers helped
open the door for private equity ;rms to
invest into other golf companies, like Troon
Golf and Heritage Golf Group.
“We sold more memberships last year than
in the last ;ve years and we are ahead of that
pace this year,” A;eldt said. “;e concept of
people joining clubs has never been as popu-
lar as it is now.”
;at seems to defy conventional wisdom,
and the company’s own numbers — same-
store memberships are up only 1.1 percent.
But A;eldt points out that when ClubCorp
acquires a new club it sees a boost in mem-
berships. ;at has driven its overall member-
ship up by 3. 3 percent — impressive when
compared to most member-owned clubs.
;e Sequoia acquisition gives the private-
club leader 35 clubs in Atlanta, an unprec-
edented level of market penetration. It also
gives it the sta;ng and support it needs to
compete with Troon and KemperSports for
third-party management contracts, A;eldt
said. ClubCorp has historically shied away
from that business.
But that does not mean the company will
move away from ownership or acquisitions.
A;eldt said the company still has $135 million for further deals and will continue to be
aggressive. Others expect ClubCorp to lead
the way as a handful of operators continue to
aggressively grab market share.
But the deals are not just about market
share. A;eldt said he expects the Sequoia
deal to pay for itself in the ;rst year.
“As the company [in the industry] with the
largest balance sheet, we are not limited in
our ability to grow,” A;eldt said.
“We sold more
President and CEO, ClubCorp
last year than
in the last ;ve
we are ahead
of that pace
this year. ;e
never been as
popular as it is
No. 1 Eric Affeldt
2013 Ranking: 5