In this episode of C+RB’s video series, new owner Kyle Quillen discusses how and why he stepped in to save the 50-year-old Wilkshire Golf Course in Bolivar, Ohio from being turned into a nature preserve. “I grew up playing on the course—it’s a favorite for a lot of people—and, you know, [converting it for other purposes was] just not the right thing to do,” he says.
“The Road Ahead” video series from Club + Resort Business highlights how clubs are moving forward to create successful new programs, events and amenities and enhance the member experience.
This episode highlights how Kyle Quillen, the founder of Agile Networks, a telecommunications company in Canton, Ohio, stepped in to save Wilkshire Golf Course in nearby Bolivar from being turned into a nature preserve.
The 182-acre, 18-hole course has been around for 50 years, but the West Creek Conservancy out of Cleveland, Ohio had plans to convert it into green space.
“Myself, along with a lot of people in the community, said ‘Hey we’ve got a lot of green space and walking trails here already, we really don’t need to lose the economic benefit [of the golf course],” Quillen says. “On top of that, I grew up playing on the course—it’s a favorite for a lot of people—and, you know, [converting it for other purposes was] just not the right thing to do.”
With no prior experience in the golf industry, Quillen plans to lean heavily on the staff in place and the expertise of those around him. Shelby Thompson will continue her role as Manager and resident Golf Professional, while Nate Heller will continue his role as Superintendent in charge of course maintenance.
Eric Crone of the Zoar Golf Club in Dover, Ohio will act as a maintenance consultant, and Vince Little will become Wilkshire’s General Manager, effective July 2. Crone’s involvement is through a new LLC, Zoar View Wilkshire, that has been formed to own and operate both courses.
“We think there’s a lot of collaboration that can happen between the two courses, Quillen says. “You’ve got two great courses—great layouts, great designs—within five minutes of each other.
“With the number of golf courses declining while demand is increasing, inventory is becoming a problem; there just aren’t enough tee times for the golfers that are out there,” Quillen adds. “We think that having that consolidation, where you can play one in the morning or one in the afternoon, can be a real benefit.”
(Viewing time: 12 minutes)
Previous episodes of “The Road Ahead” can be viewed at https://clubandresortbusiness.com/category/the-road-back/
Upcoming episodes will feature how clubs are achieving growth through a variety of strategies tailored to the specific needs of their properties, markets and target demographics.
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