Through the transaction with Concert Golf Partners, the Canton, Mass., property retired all club debt, lowered annual dues by 30%, injected more than $2 million into immediate capital projects, and bars any future assessments on the membership.
Blue Hill Country Club in Canton, Mass., has completed a recapitalization with Concert Golf Partners. The transaction, completed this winter, retired all club debt, lowered annual dues by 30%, injected more than $2 million into immediate capital projects at the club, and bars any future assessments on the membership.
“This partnership with Concert Golf ends our debt challenges, and ends our long-standing internal debates about funding capital projects with member assessments,” said Blue Hill club president Jim Marano, who led the 2015 effort to recapitalize. “Just since announcing this deal, we have seen a significant uptick in membership applications at Blue Hill.”
Concert Golf Partners reports that 98% of members opted to renew their memberships in light of this transition. More than 115 have chosen to upgrade their membership commitment, according to new General Manager Francisco Ventura, CCM.
The club also announced two new programs this week that will further reduce dues:
- Current members who successfully refer friends will realize a bonus reduction in their annual dues and new members will join at the same rate.
- For members of other local clubs, Blue Hill will offer a one-time, 6-month membership from April to October 2016 at a reduced rate with no upfront costs or joining fees.
Blue Hill CC in particular tied its own hands by borrowing $6 million to finance a 2012 clubhouse renovation. This burden made further, member-funded improvements a non-starter. “The membership had been discussing various capital improvement projects since 2013, and how to fund them,” said Blue Hill Board member Tim Nelson. “It got so contentious that we never even voted.”
Instead, the Board decided to seek a partner that would fund and complete the necessary capital projects. “Several local developers wanted to bulldoze our 9-hole Challenger course to build homes,” Nelson said, “but the membership strongly favored retaining all 27 holes—and so we unanimously chose Concert Golf, which put that preservation in writing.”
Ventura and the new management team at Blue Hill have undertaken several of these long-deferred capital projects at Blue Hill CC, including an expanded driving range and short-game practice area; a new 19th hole members lounge; and renovation of the clubhouse, including the 3rd floor 250-seat banquet room with its northerly views of the Boston skyline.
“Blue Hill CC is a classic example of a great club with a terrific golf course and loyal membership but capital challenges typical of those we see at member-owned clubs across the country,” said Concert Golf CEO Peter Nanula. “For member-owned clubs, these capital issues are daunting and often seem intransigent—but they’re easy for us to solve. We paid off all the debt at Blue Hill in one fell swoop, which means no more member assessments. We will pay for and complete these much-needed improvements much faster than the club ever could, at no cost to the members.”