The members of White Manor Country Club (Malvern, PA, a member-owned private club; founded in 1948) held a voting in mid-December about the selling of their country club. The biggest concern of the members and the neighbours was that the sales could lead to housing development.
The new owner is an owner-operator of golf properties company the Concert Golf Partners. Concert Golf is a unique in operating as an all-cash buyer with a dedicated fund.
The December 31 transaction, overwhelmingly approved by the club’s Board of Directors and its members, paid off all club debt, lowered annual member dues by 10-15%, injected more than $1 million into immediate capital projects (including greens renovations; new swimming pool amenities; outdoor dining; and a new fitness center) at the club and barred any future assessments on the membership.
The original golf course was re-designed and renovated in 2003 by award-winning course designer, Bobby Weed, at a cost of more than $6 million.
A good news for the members is that they will enjoy free reciprocal privileges at Concert Golf‘s other upscale clubs, as well as access to more than 150 TPC™ clubs and Pacific Links International clubs worldwide.
Some challenges of Concert Golf…
- I think the new management of the country club should identify a comfortable balance between member expectations, financial results, and club culture. Can the country club afford to subsidize (if they have to; industry research show that F&B is subsidized by about 75%) the outdoor dining?
- After the capital projects. What will be the net available capital ratio (the industry median is 12%)?
- It would be also important to give onboarding orientation for the new colleagues and in general to the employees of the country club to know what are the new goals and expectations.
- How will they differentiate the country club from others in the region and provide an attractive customer experience? (E.g. Applebrook Golf Club, Waynesborough Country Club, Aronimink Golf Club)