AROUND THE WORLD
No. 1 PGA Tour partners
The PGA Tour entered the world of online
tee-time booking via a new deal with
EZLinks Golf, a move that is expected to
challenge GolfNow, the market leader.
The PGA Tour is now a substantial
owner in EZLinks LLC, a new company
formed by the tour and the Chicago-based golf software company.
“It can be a game changer because it
gives golfers and courses a real choice,”
said EZLinks CEO Gary Cohen.
EZLinks has rebranded its consumer
website as TeeOff.com by PGA Tour. The
site already serves more than 1 million
golfers, 1,400 courses and 22 countries,
making it the second largest online golf
But those numbers still pale in
comparison to GolfNow, which is owned
by NBC Sports Group and run through its
Golf Channel network. GolfNow serves
more than 2 million golfers and works
with more than 6,000 courses.
EZLinks is hopeful that the PGA Tour’s
marketing muscle will ramp up bookings.
However, some observers have been
skeptical about the PGA Tour’s motives.
“Do they believe that golf operators
are that naive and can’t see through to
the real motivation of a money-grab
trying to split the $150 million Golf
Channel has garnered?” J.J. Keegan, a golf
business strategist, wrote on his blog at
The PGA Tour and EZLinks have been
advertising partners since early 2014,
“The logic of the coming together of
these parties is strong, so this just started
to evolve over time,” he said.
No. 2 Brown Golf
Management moves onto list
of largest operators
Brown Golf Management moved onto
the list of the 25 largest management
companies with the acquisition of two
Jacksonville, Fla.-area courses — Windsor
Parke Golf Club and Champions Club
at Julington Creek — from Pacific Life
Insurance Co. for $2.7 million, The
Florida Times-Union reported.
Brown Golf Management will operate
both clubs, bringing its portfolio of owned
and managed facilities up to 23 courses in
The Bluffton, S.C.-based management
company purchased Windsor Parke for
$1.5 million and Champions Club for
$1.2 million, according to The Times-Union. The insurance company originally
purchased the two courses in the 1990s
for $13 million.
President John A. Brown Jr. said he is
aiming for the company to own half its
portfolio and manage the other half.
No. 3 Triumph Golf
Triumph Golf has quietly become one of
the more active buyers of private clubs.
The owner and management company
acquired Heritage Golf Links in
Tucker, Ga., from Magnolia Hospitality
Management for an undisclosed price in
May. It was the fourth acquisition for the
“We are in acquisition mode,” said Billy
Sitton, principal for the company. “We
are looking for clubs that fit our model,
specifically courses in the Sun Belt that
operate 12 months a year.”
Sitton said he hopes to acquire between
six to eight courses during the next few
Sitton, Mike Feild, Jim Hearn and
Mark Tiefel founded Triumph after
Heritage Golf Links is a 27-hole facility
that opened in 1999. Triumph Golf
executives were particularly intrigued by
the course’s traditional golf experience,
Will TeeOff threaten GolfNow?
Gary Cohen leads the new
venture between EZLinks
and the PGA Tour.