4 Golf Inc. Fall 2014
deals show that golf is now seen as a good
“This is like the good old days when
Bob Dedman was building up the busi-
ness. There are great buys now,” he said.
“You can’t overpay for these things.”
Steven Ekovich, managing director of
National Golf & Resort Properties Group
at Marcus & Millichap, agreed.
“This is a momentous sea change in
the industry,” he said. “Buyers are buying
into golf, and there would be no such in-
vestment if the industry had not turned
Ekovich pointed out that Bob Hus-
band’s company, Heritage Golf Group,
also recently secured funding — from
Tower Three Partners, a private equity
Heritage acquired its first course in
three years with the acquisition of The
Dominion Club, in Glen Allen, Va., in
GTCR Golder Rauner had been the
primary financial backer for Heritage
since 1999, and had been looking to get
American Golf and Troon also had financial backers who had stayed longer
than planned. Most private equity firms
have a finite period before they need to
recylce their investment dollars —usually
five to seven years. But the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007
to June 2009, precluded many from moving on.
While private equity firms returned to
other industires two or three years ago,
The golf industry got a financial reboot
this summer, as four major deals were
announced in a two-month span, bringing significant capital into the U.S.
market. Industry observers expect
the influx of funds to have a positive
impact on the entire industry.
Newcastle Investments, which is
managed by Fortress Investment
Group, completed its $219 million
acquisition of American Golf from
Goldman Sachs and hired Jim Hinckley and Century Golf Partners to run
the company in mid-June.
Fortress, a $65 billion private equity
firm, is also the financial backer behind
Arcis Equity Partners.
CNL Lifestyle Properties announced in
early July that Arcis was in the process of
acquiring its 48 golf courses for $320 million. That deal was expected to close by
the end of September.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs also departed from Troon Golf, where it had
been the primary financial backer since
1999. Kohlberg & Company, a private
equity firm, acquired a majority of the
company’s stock, also in early July for an
Finally, ClubCorp announced in early
August that it is acquiring Sequoia Golf
for $265 million, making it the largest
owner of golf courses in the world, and
the second-largest management company.
“It is absolutely a reset of the industry,” said Jeff Woolson, managing director of CBRE’s Golf & Resort Group. “We
haven’t seen that much activity in years.”
Woolson, one of the most active brokers in the golf industry, said investors
are looking for higher yields and these
The U.S. golf industry got a major shot in the arm this summer thanks to four
deals that brought more than $1 billion into the industry.
BY JACK CRITTENDEN
firm buys majority
CNL Lifestyle portfolio
Buyer: Arcis Equity
Price $320 million
Acquiring 48 golf courses
4 big deals
Price: $265 million
Acquiring 30 courses, 17
contracts, 3 leases
Price: $219 million
hired Jim Hinckley