HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. — Philmont Country Club, the historic member-owned private club here in the north Philadelphia suburbs, has completed its recapitalization with Concert Golf Partners, the boutique owner-operator of high-end private clubs. The deal was finalized Feb. 28; the transaction was unanimously approved by the club’s Board of Directors and approved by a 95% vote of its members.
“This recapitalization achieves everything we have been trying to do on our own for the last 5 years,” said Glenn Meyer, the long-time club president. “We needed capital from our excess land for improvements, and we needed professional management. We have accomplished both, thanks to our partnership with Concert Golf.”
The members did indeed see all club debt paid off at closing. Their annual member dues will be frozen for the next 2 years and more than $4 million of immediate capital projects have been launched at the club, according to Concert Golf Partners CEO Peter Nanula. “And, best of all,” Nanula added, “We have provided Philmont members a permanent guarantee of no more member assessments.”
Originally founded as an all-Jewish club in 1906, Philmont Country Club (www.philmontcc.org) is a 36-hole country club on 295 acres. Today it also features two championship golf courses, 10 Har-Tru™ tennis courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a 58,000-square-foot clubhouse with a sizable ballroom. The Board had been in talks with the township, developers and homebuilders for the last 5 years, seeking to sell 60 acres on its South Course to enable development of 150 new homes — to generate nearly $10 million of capital for needed investments in the club facilities.
In what he called a clear “win-win solution for the membership”, President Meyer struck a recapitalization deal with Concert Golf Partners (www.concertgolfpartners.com) to provide the same $10 million for his club in two stages: the first $5 million immediately to pay off the club’s debt and fund urgent capital projects this year; the second $5 million when Concert Golf completes the entitlements and sale process for the 60 acres.
Philmont CC knew it did not need all 36 holes, but the process of unlocking the real estate value proved a challenge — until the Board met Concert Golf Partners.
“Member-owned clubs often struggle to manage the long-term process of extracting value from their excess real estate,” said Nanula. “It takes capital, it takes development expertise, and it is difficult to make these decisions among 300-plus voting members. We can do it all more quickly for the members with our own capital and a streamlined decision-making process.”
Added Jordan Kendall, a Philmont Board member who, along with Meyer, led the club’s recapitalization with Concert Golf: “This partnership with Concert Golf preserves Philmont for the long term, and ends the era of funding capital projects with member assessments. We have a rich history and top-notch North Course here at Philmont, and now our club is debt-free and our future is brighter than ever.”
Interestingly, the discussions started when 90-year old Philmont member David Fields, a former investment banker, called Concert Golf after reading an article about other successful club recapitalizations. “I read an article about other high-end private clubs getting a capital infusion from Concert Golf, and so I reached out to them,” Fields said. “From there, the process was very straightforward.”
Concert Golf Chairman Peter Nanula announced that his team would immediately undertake more than $4 million in new capital projects at Philmont CC, including extensive bunker renovations and tree removal; new swimming pool upgrades; outdoor dining; new HVAC and utilities infrastructure; and dramatically renovated mens and women’s locker room facilities.
“Philmont CC is a great club with a top-rated golf course and a dedicated membership, but it had too much real estate and not enough capital,” Nanula said. “All of these capital and real estate issues are now solved. No more debt – we paid off all the debt last week. No more member assessments – we will pay for and complete the Board’s list of improvements much faster, at no cost to the members. And we will spend over $1 million getting the real estate entitled and sold to free up extra capital for reinvestment back into the club facilities.”
Concert Golf Partners is a boutique owner-operator of private clubs based in Newport Beach, Calif. Formed by Nanula, the founder and CEO of Arnold Palmer Golf Management (1993 to 2000), Concert Golf has amassed $150 million of patient, long-term equity capital to invest in and upgrade large-scale private clubs located in major metro areas. Concert Golf is unique in operating as an all-cash buyer with a dedicated fund, which, Nanula said, allows it to acquire or recapitalize clubs (without incurring debt) and subsequently invest in these properties for the long term.
Concert Golf has acquired 15 such clubs nationally, including longtime member-owned clubs such as White Manor CC in nearby Malvern, PA (www.whitemanorcc.com), Blue Hill CC in Boston (www.bluehillcc.com), and Crestview CC in Wichita (www.crestviewcc.com). Philmont CC members now enjoy free reciprocal privileges at these and Concert Golf’s other upscale clubs, as well as access to more than 150 TPC™ clubs and Pacific Links International clubs worldwide.
For more information about Concert Golf Partners, visit www.concertgolfpartners.com.