In a letter to members, new owner Bob Parsons details a myriad of changes for the club, including adding $35 million in improvements, and implementing service fees and golf course limitations for “those who play the course the most and spend the least.” Parsons is giving members who disagree with the policies the opportunity to back out by January 31, and is offering them a full membership refund.
In a direct letter to members of Scottsdale (Ariz.) National Golf Club, new owner Bob Parsons has laid out plans for the club’s future and is giving members the opportunity to back out and receive a full membership refund if they choose, the Phoenix Business Journal reported.
The GoDaddy executive chairman purchased the club, previously known as Golf Club Scottsdale, in October 2013 for $600,000 (“GoDaddy Founder Buys Golf Club Scottsdale (Ariz.)”).
The letter has prompted about 60 of the roughly 175 members to take the buyout offer, and has drawn attention to the community. Parsons said he’s “pleased” the story has gone viral in the golf world because it’s free PR for the club, the Journal reported.
“I know I get a lot of criticism for my letter. I get a lot of criticism all the time so I’m used to it,” Parsons said.
The letter outlines his plans to transform the private club into an exclusive, invitation-only venue. Parsons is planning a $35 million investment that will create a new clubhouse and redesign the 18-hole course, among other things, the Journal reported.
“I want it to be known as one of the finest clubs in the country,” Parsons said.
Parsons also implemented strict member rules to curb playing frequencies and boost spending at the 292-acre course, the Journal reported.
“Currently our members who use the club the most support the club the least,” Parsons wrote in the letter. “In fact, many members who are at the club each and every day spend nothing and do not support the club at all. This will not continue.”
Read the letter in its entirety here.
Parsons wrote that members may no longer play the course more than 30 times a year, unless they bring a guest. The club did away with golf cart use fees, but implemented a $100 service fee every time a member plays. The fee goes up to $190 for each extended family member and $200 per guest, the Journal reported.
“I understand that many of our members will not like the above policy (particularly those who play the course the most and spend the least),” he wrote. “To be as fair as possible I will be providing a window for those members who find the new policy unacceptable.”
Members have until January 31 to accept a full refund of membership buy-ins (anywhere from $25,000 to $110,000), the Journal reported.
Geoff Shackelford, a contributing writer to Golf World magazine and contributing editor to Golf Digest, said the full buyout is an extremely generous and unusual offer, the Journal reported.
“I fully expect many members will take advantage of this resignation opportunity and leave the club,” Parsons wrote. “After this happens and we start inviting new members to the club, the new members will reside out-of-state and when they come to the club they will bring guests. I will be very selective with regard to who I invite to be members.”
Though Parsons has not decided how many new members will be invited to join, he notes that new members will pay more to buy in and have higher dues than existing members, the Journal reported.
“I’m interested in national members,” Parsons said to the Journal.
Shackelford, who posted Parsons’ letter to his blog, said Parsons is telling members to “get lost” in the nicest possible way. While the approach may have come across as “insensitive” and some of the new rules are unconventional, Shackelford said, it’s within his rights to do so, the Journal reported.
“But in the current climate of golf, it’s unusual for people to read about somebody wanting to discourage people from playing too much,” Shackelford said. “To do it the way he did it is what’s entertaining.”
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