(Photo by Erica Miller/The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.)
The Clifton Park, N.Y. club, founded in 1968 by developer Robert Van Patten and sustained through a second generation, has been acquired by Lance Orcutt, co-founder and President of the Executive Group, which serves the hospitality industry with a variety of products and services. “We’re buying an organization where all of the mistakes have been made, identified and fixed,” Orcutt said. “You can’t place a value on that.”
The scenic and popular Van Patten Golf Club in Clifton Park, N.Y. has a new owner, The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y. reported.
Lance Orcutt, a manufacturing executive from Amsterdam, N.Y., began the process of acquiring the public facility, which includes a 27-hole golf course, in July 2021, ending its half-century of ownership by the Van Patten family, The Daily Gazette reported.
The late Robert Van Patten, a prolific mid-20th-century developer sometimes called the father of Clifton Park in its current suburban form, opened the club in 1968, The Daily Gazette reported. His son and daughter-in-law have been running it in recent decades.
Robert Van Patten Jr. told The Daily Gazette that the sale was prompted because it has become time for a new chapter for him and his wife, Kathy. Their children are grown, and none opted to take over the business, Van Patten Jr. explained.
“It is kind of sad,” he added. “We’ve owned it in the family 53 years.”
Orcutt is a Saratoga Springs, N.Y. resident and Gloversville, N.Y. native who is co-founder and President of the Executive Group, an Amsterdam, N.Y.-based company serving the hospitality industry with custom millwork and casegoods production; warehousing, delivery and installation; and electrical contracting. The two-man operation was founded in 2007 and now has 1 million sq. ft. of floor space and 150 employees, The Daily Gazette reported.
Orcutt also controls an LLC that purchased and demolished the clubhouse at the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Municipal Golf Course and will build a 6,000- to 7,000-sq. ft. replacement, at a cost of up to $2 million.
The new clubhouse at Amsterdam Muni will serve as a showroom for the work that the Executive Group does in the old mill buildings nearby that it cleaned up and occupies, The Daily Gazette reported. Representatives of potential hospitality-industry clients will get to see firsthand what the Executive Group can do, then have a good lunch in the clubhouse showroom before heading back out of town.
Beyond that, Orcutt expects that the municipal course will turn a profit serving the general public, The Daily Gazette reported.
While Orcutt is a golf enthusiast—he plays 15 to 20 rounds a year and wishes he had time for more—the two golf-property acquisitions in a single year were a coincidence and business decisions, not hobbies, The Daily Gazette reported.
Van Patten Golf Club is a turnkey business with financials that Orcutt views as a solid investment, The Daily Gazette reported.
The golf course was never listed publicly, The Daily Gazette reported. An appraiser who’d worked with Orcutt in the past saw a newspaper article on his purchase of the Amsterdam clubhouse and told the broker managing the Van Patten sale that he thought Orcutt could be a good fit.
“They reached out to me and said, ‘Are you interested in this?’ I said yes,” Orcutt recalled.
Just a week later, he was under contract to buy Van Patten GC, which has shown a consistent annual profit, Orcutt told The Daily Gazette.
Addition parts of the club’s appeal, Orcutt said, were how its reputation, customer base, point-of-sale system, trained employees, insurance and vendor relationships were already in place and wouldn’t need to be established and perfected. The club even uses the same bank and payroll service as Executive Group.
But as much as anything, it was the quality of workmanship and the extent to which the workmanship had been applied that sold Orcutt, The Daily Gazette reported.
Van Patten Jr. had replaced a utilitarian clubhouse with a 14,000-sq. ft clubhouse/pro shop/banquet hall on a plateau at the highest point on the property and run all the utilities underground to it; paved a 3,000-foot driveway up that hill; and added a 240-car lot on it that is surrounded by granite curbs, The Daily Gazette reported.
Those details showed a passion for the business, Orcutt said. “He could have just come in 300 feet and built the same facility,” he said of Van Patten Jr.
“That was insight, that was forward-thinking, that was just really impressive,” Orcutt continued. About 15 minutes into the conversation, I knew we were going in with the full asking price on the property.”
Orcutt’s offer beat others and while he wouldn’t disclose the purchase price, he said it was less than the value of 330 undeveloped acres in Clifton Park, The Daily Gazettereported.
In 2021 dollars, the money spent turning those 330 acres into a 27-hole golf course and building a comparable clubhouse also would exceed the purchase price, he added.
Orcutt valued the functional aspects of Van Patten GC business—its people, processes and systems—at $1 million alone, The Daily Gazette reported.
“We’re buying an organization where all of the mistakes have been made, identified and fixed,” he said. “You can’t place a value on that.”
And golfers who come to Van Patten to play a round or guests who come to the banquet hall for a wedding reception might not even notice the change of ownership, The Daily Gazette reported.
“We’re keeping everything the way it is,” Orcutt said.