Philmont Country Club (pictured above), the historic member-owned private club in the north Philadelphia suburbs, has completed a recapitalization deal that was unanimously approved by the club’s Board of Directors and approved by a 95 per cent vote of its members.
“This recapitalization achieves everything we have been trying to do on our own for the last five years. 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,” said Glenn Meyer, the long-time club president.
All club debt paid off
The Philadelphia members did indeed see all club debt paid off at closing. Their annual member dues will be frozen for the next two years and more than USD 4 million of immediate capital projects have been launched at the club, according to Concert Golf Partners CEO Peter Nanula.
Originally founded as an all-Jewish club in 1906, Philmont Country Club is a 36-hole country club on 295 acres in Philadelphia. Today it also features two championship golf courses, ten 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 five years, seeking to sell 60 acres on its South Course to enable development of 150 new homes. The idea was to generate nearly USD 10 million of capital for needed investments in the club facilities.
Two times 5 million in Philadelphia
In what he called a clear “win-win solution for the membership”, President Meyer struck a recapitalization deal with Concert Golf Partnersto provide the same 10 million for his club in two stage. The first 5 million immediately to pay off the club’s debt and fund urgent capital projects this year; the second 5 million when the entitlements and sale process for the 60 acres arec ompleted.
Philmont CC knew it did not need all 36 holes, but the process of unlocking the real estate value proved a challenge.
“Member-owned clubs often struggle to manage the long-term process of extracting value from their excess real estate. 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,” Nanula of Concert Golf Partners said.
Added Jordan Kendall, a Philmont Board member who, along with Meyer, led the club’s recapitalization says the partnership with Concert Golf preserves Philmont for the long term, and ends the era of funding capital projects with member assessments.
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.From there, the process was very straightforward,” Fields said.
Concert Golf will immediately undertake more than USD 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. 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.”
Concert Golf has acquired 15 clubs in the US, including longtime member-owned clubs such as White Manor CC in nearby Malvern, PA, Blue Hill CC in Boston, and Crestview CC in Wichita. 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.