The GC at Southwind Transitions Operations to Troon

A week after announcing it would assume management of the Garden City, Kan., property on December 11 under a five-year agreement, the firm held meetings with staff and members. The club closed earlier this year from January through April, citing financial struggles.

One week after announcing that Troon would assume the day-to-day management of The Golf Club at Southwind in Garden City, Kan., company representatives met with club owner Craig Boomhower, as well as club staff and members, the Garden City Telegram reported.

After a day of meeting with club employees, the Troon representatives had a town hall-like meeting with members on December 5 at Southwind. The following day, Boomhower spoke about some of the overall goals and objectives he hopes to see materialize when the five-year management agreement takes effect on December 11, the Telegram reported.

“Obviously, I like the group,” he said. “They bring a lot of credibility to the region and locally.”

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Boomhower indicated that Troon will be handling day-to-day operations and working with staff to implement changes as they are suggested and then decided upon, the Telegram reported.

“They will make suggestions, and they’re in charge,” Boomhower said. “They know what goals they will want to set, and it’s up to them to see those happen.”

“We’re excited to be involved, and even though Garden City is somewhat remote, we look to create an enhanced experience for what they already have,” Troon Executive Vice President Scott Van Newkirk said. “I think we bring a value proposition for the club, and by that it includes leveraging our purchasing power — from golf carts, to maintenance to big ticket items. Every department of the club, we have things built in that will make it a better experience for the members.”

There will be a period with a learning curve for all parties, said Brandon Fowler, Troon’s director of property transitions. “It’s a learning process for us, and we will lean on our experts to help define goals and how to achieve those,” Fowler said. “Initially, we are probably looking at a 90-day evaluation period, with reports being made at 30 and 60 days to see where the improvements need to be made, and then to see how they are working. It will be clearly defined for everyone as to what we’re going to be doing.”

“We’ll conduct a comprehensive survey of the membership and see what they are looking for,” Van Newkirk said. “There’s a million different avenues to do that, but we want to drive the membership experience and help build an improvement plan for them.”

Included in that will be marketing and strategic planning for increasing membership. “For people to be interested in joining, they have to feel as though it has a value to it and to improving their quality of life,” Van Newkirk said. “Providing a wide-range of benefits to the members is what we want to do, and to have it at high level of quality.”

Boomhower has been the sole owner of the club since January 2009, when he purchased it from the E.C. Brookover Sr. family, who was the founder of the club in 1980 when it opened as Southwind Country Club. Boomhower incorporated the name change to The Golf Club at Southwind after his purchase, the Telegram reported.

In early January, Boomhower notified members through email that the club had laid off several of its staff and was closing the clubhouse operations for an indefinite period of time, the Telegram reported.

According to some county officials, the club had been going through financial struggles for some time. The club re-opened April 1, with Wasinger being named the General Manager and Golf Professional. Wasinger, a Garden City native, had been the head golf prof at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course since January 2009, the Telegram reported.

Originally founded as Southwind Country Club, the private facility was the dream of E.C. Brookover Sr., who owned the property in the sandhills area south of town. It opened its doors in the fall of 1979, and in 1980, the Telegram reported.