Posted on 06 November 2014.
By DAVID BORAKS
The search for a new general manager at River Run Country Club has ended with the board’s announcement that it has picked a professional management company to take over operations including the golf course, tennis complex and food services. Sequoia Golf Management, a division of Texas-based ClubCorp., will take over Nov. 13.
Members learned about the deal in an email last week and had a chance to meet with board members and Sequoia officials Wednesday night.
Board Chair Steve Reynolds told DavidsonNews.net the decision to outsource management came as the board considered how to replace former General Manager Marc Struelens, who left the club in April.
“We were on a quest to replace a GM and found a strategic partner in Sequoia,” Reynolds said.
The deal won’t affect River Run’s ownership by members. “The most significant thing here is that we’re announcing that we’ve entered into a partnership to help us mange the club. Nothing’s changing from a membership perspective – we remain a member-owned club,” Reynolds said.
River Run currently has 560 members, and Reynolds said one of the goals in working with Sequoia will be to grow that number. He said he’d like to add 70 to 100.
River Run remains financially healthy, he said. The board did not set out to pick management company, but came to realize the advantages of working with a third party like Sequoia, he said. Those include management experience, sales and marketing expertise, and better purchasing power on everything from food (where the club has a $1 million budget) to golf course supplies, such as fertilizer and chemicals.
“When a solo GM comes in, sometimes they’re good at food and beverage, sometimes golf or other sports, sometimes finance. Rarely have we seen one GM that has the full breadth of capabilities,” Reynolds said.
“What this is all about to us is improving the membership experience … and access to a group that has all these central capabilities,” he said.
River Run Country Club includes an 18-hole championship golf course, designed by pro Ray Floyd, which for the past two years has hosted the Web.com Tour’s Chiquita Classic and other tournaments. There’s also tennis complex with nine clay and three hard courts as well as four indoor courts; a swimming pool with 27-foot water slides and children’s wading pool; a state-of-the-art fitness center; formal and informal dining areas; and space for private events.
The golf course opened in 1990 a couple of years after the first homes in the River Run neighborhood were completed.
“We are very excited to add River Run Country Club to our portfolio of managed clubs,” Eric Affeldt, ClubCorp President and CEO said in a statement. “Not only is River Run a beautiful facility that offers a great golf experience and amenities for the entire family but it is ideally located near the thriving city of Charlotte.”
The publicly-traded ClubCorp now owns or manages more than 200 clubs, including TPC Piper Glen in Charlotte, Firestone Country Club in Akron, OH, Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA; The Woodlands in Texas and the Capital Club Beijing.
The River Run deal was one of the first for Sequoia since it became part of ClubCorp in September.
History of River Run Country Club fact sheet – PDF
See past coverage of River Run Country Club on DavidsonNews.net.