Gobbling up golf courses

celebration golf course

Business First reports that country clubs and golf courses are at a pivot point.

Blake Walker is banking that subscription models are the future of the industry.

The veteran hospitality executive and CEO of the privately held Arcis Golf LLC is bucking the idea that country clubs and daily-fee golf courses are inherently different.

That’s why he formed Arcis in 2014. Over the past decade, the company — with the backing of Fortress Investment Group LLC and Atairos — purchased nearly 70 clubs and has grown to about 6,000 employees.

The company now holds a roughly equal mix of daily-fee courses and private country clubs that includes several high-profile courses, including Champions Retreat Golf Club near Augusta, Georgia, a 27-hole private course designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

But it also includes public courses that many golfers frequent, including Angel Park Golf Club in Las Vegas and Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton, Colorado.

It looks like subscriptions rather than dues are the wave of the future. Why? Because “What we are seeing now is that people want a club that encompasses more,” Walker said.

Maybe, but think: Public golf courses have been in part maintained by taxpayers. So, is anyone suggesting that the subscriber fee needs to reflect an individual’s or couple’s likely tax contribution to the venture, based on their actual taxes paid and the portion that went toward municipal or state recreation expenditures?

Or, will it be said that tax contributions have been balanced, philosophically speaking, by the many families and golfers who paid for the private facilities and courses over the decades? Once again, the middle-class and reasonably wealthy pay MORE, because they paid both taxes and country club fees. The rainmakers are left out in the rain.

Socialism erases boundaries and levels hills. The American landscape may soon be very monotonous. It never hurts to put in a good word for capitalism!

Business First has also reported on companies like Invited that, to my knowledge, are operating the old-fashioned way, in response to market pressures, and paying back loans.

Read more.

Photo credit: ReunionVacationHomes.com via Wikimedia Commons