Brown’s team closed the deal just eight
days before Hurricane Matthew devastated
the island. Palmetto Hall reopened in late
December, bringing Brown Golf’s Hilton
Head presence to eight courses in all.
Brown’s expansion throughout South
Carolina’s Low Country allows the company to create a comprehensive membership that includes access to a number of
“Our aggressive growth plan and unique
business model have allowed us to bring
incredible value to our members,” Brown
Bennison, senior vice president of business development for ClubCorp, makes
our list for the third year in a row, and the
native Texan and his public company are
not slowing down. It acquired Norbeck
Country Club in Rockville, Md., in March,
marking the Dallas-based operator’s third
acquisition of 2017.
In February, ClubCorp announced the
acquisition of two
other clubs: Eagle’s
Nest Country Club
in Phoenix, Md., and
North Hills Country
Club in Glenside, Pa.
In addition to the 153
owns, it manages nine
other golf courses,
Club of Columbus in
Columbus, Ga., which
it added last year.
ClubCorp continues to move forward
with its growth plan despite the dissatisfaction of some investors. The most recent
acquisitions come just a few months after
the public company announced it had
formed a committee to review and evaluate
alternatives to maximize value for shareholders. More recently, however, officials
announced that the possible sale of the
company had been taken off the table.
ClubCorp added 50 courses in 2014
when it acquired Sequoia Golf for $260
million. It added 26 other golf and coun-
try clubs to the ClubCorp balance sheet
between 2010 and 2016 at an average price
of $5.31 million, or $138 million overall,
according to the company’s public records.
CONCERT GOLF PARTNERS
After closing a deal to acquire White
Manor Country Club at the end of 2016,
Concert Golf Partners Chairman Peter
Nanula in March added another Philadelphia-area private club: Philmont Country
Club. And much like White Manor and the
rest of Concert Golf’s portfolio, Philmont
was a debt-heavy, member-owned club in
dire need of capital.
Nanula has mastered the strategy of
reaching out to cash-strapped, member-owned clubs. He pays off their debt, stops
member assessments and makes much-needed capital improvements. Members
can then rest easy, knowing an experienced
operator will oversee their club.
That’s what happened at Philmont, which
was founded in 1906 as an all-Jewish club.
The deal was nearly unanimously approved
after Nanula agreed to commit the same
$10 million the club had been seeking for
“This recapitalization achieves everything we have been trying to do on our own
for the last five years,” said Glenn Meyer,
longtime club president. “We needed capital from our excess land for improvements,
and we needed professional management.”
Nanula has acquired 15 clubs in recent
In golf-rich North Carolina, Raleigh-based
McConnell Golf is a well-capitalized group,
making money by turning around struggling private golf and country clubs.
What started with McConnell’s acquisition of bankrupt Raleigh Country Club in
2003 has grown into one of the larger portfolios in the Southeast.
With the 2016 additions of Providence
Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., and
Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville,
Tenn., McConnell Golf now owns a dozen
18-hole, private courses throughout the
South, plus one nine-hole course. McConnell Golf has bolstered its burgeoning reputation in the golf industry by investing significantly in improvements and upgrades
at its clubs and consequently increasing
McConnell Golf is currently overseeing
renovation and restoration work totaling approximately $7.3 million at four of
its clubs in the Carolinas and Tennessee.
Though McConnell Golf is principally
focused around its North Carolina roots,
McConnell, a former software mogul, is
starting to look beyond the immediate
area. Although he said he would like to
stay within a five-hour drive of his North
Carolina headquarters, he remains bullish
on the business of golf.
“We had our best year ever this past
year,” McConnell said. “One of the things
I measure is member retention, and we’re
certainly above the industry average on