older members. Younger
people are stressed for time,
so clubs need to be more
Troon continues to see
an uptick in the number
of private clubs seeking
Garmany said. During the
past four years, they’ve
made up a growing number
of the new clubs coming into the fold.
;ese clubs are not necessarily troubled, but they’re clearly aware of the hazards ahead, he said.
“;ey see the writing on the wall,” he
So instead of continuing to be run
by members via a committee, the clubs
are looking for a more e;cient business
model, he said.
“We’re the insurance policy for private
clubs,” he said. “We have a good history
of helping projects turn around.”
And what of that 300 number?
Garmany believes Troon could reach it
be the end of 2017, even though it’s not a
goal etched in stone. It’s just the way the
growth curve is headed, he said.
“We never said we wanted to be the
biggest, just the best,” he said.
However, it takes e;ort to grow. ;is
is a fragmented business, he noted. Many
golf courses are individually owned,
either by members or by an operator.
“It’s one course, then one more, then
one more,” he said.
Billy Casper Golf said changing
dynamics in the golf industry were not
behind the ;rm’s more modest growth. It
wasn’t that long ago — just 2014 — when
it rocketed from 134.5 clubs to 157.5
“In thriving and challenging economies, management opportunities are
aplenty as owners look for better mousetraps in this new era of changing demographics, communication channels
and overall best practices,” said Andy
DeKeuster, senior public relations specialist for Billy Casper.
Troon’s leaders from left to right:
John Easterbrook, Exec. VP, Chief Operations
Officer; Tim Schantz, Exec. VP, Global
Development Officer; Ruth Engle, Exec. VP,
Chief Financial Officer; Jay McGrath, Exec.
VP, Chief Administrative Officer & General
Counsel; Dana Garmany, Chairman & Chief
So why didn’t the company see a surge?
“Billy Casper Golf is not keen on
growth for growth’s sake,” he said.
;e company continues to innovate, he
“Among our projects was a large com-
mitment to build a robust, data-driven
marketing engine, dynamic pricing
algorithms and industry-leading digital
capabilities,” he said. “We also estab-
lished Billy Casper Signature for private
clubs and resorts, and recruited top tal-
ent to service this market.”
ClubCorp’s showing this year was also
tempered compared to the prior year. It
added nearly 60 courses in 2015, many of
which came with the purchase of Sequoia
Golf. ;is year is added six, a more con-
ClubCorp is unusual in two ways. It’s
owns its golf courses. And ClubCorp is
publically traded, so it has to face the rigors of Wall Street.
Recently, it got hammered by a private
equity report that claimed its value was
80 percent less than its share price.
CEO Eric A;eldt took exception to
that, saying the report looked at the profitability of equity clubs, which, of course,
do not operate to make pro;t.
“;ere’s no relevance whatsoever,” he
said. “It’s like comparing Ruth’s Chris
Steak House to McDonald’s,” he said.
His ;rm has seen more equity clubs
looking to sell because, as Garmany of
Troon also noted, they are facing pressures.
“Post recession, some lowered their
joining fees,” A;eldt said. “And they can’t
Growth is impossible to predict, he
said. ;at’s because most sales are indi-
vidual. If it’s an equity club, it takes time,
because the members need to reach a
consensus on how to move forward.
His ;rm has a pipeline of about 40
clubs it is negotiating with for possible
sales, but it may only ;nalize a deal with
10 or as few as one, he said.
“It’s impossible to predict,” he said.
KemperSports grew from 120 to 131
Quilchena, British Columbia