EDWARDS — To succeed in golf, you have to put mistakes behind you and move forward, like Cordillera is doing.
The Cordillera Valley Course opened this week, marking the third opening day for Troon, the management company brought in to straighten out the soap opera that was the Cordillera chronicles.
Owners sued members, members sued the owners, and into that fray stepped Troon.
Troon now says Cordillera could be one of its flagship properties. The company manages golf courses in 33 states and 28 countries, including one in Norway above the Arctic Circle.
“It’s fun, but it’s a serious business as well,” said Dana Garmany, Troon founder and CEO.
Golf is also a personal business, and Troon’s Cordillera crew has talked to more than 500 families, said Mike Henritze, general manager of The Club at Cordillera.
Membership On The Rise
Two years ago, membership had crashed from 600 to zero. It’s back over 400 and they just signed up another dozen families, Henritze said.
Ed Shriner, for example. He’s been a full-timer at the Ranch at Cordillera since 2004. Originally from Indiana, he, his wife, his son and son’s fiance are all golfers.
“When the club went through bankruptcy and the litigation … we thought we would never re-join. The negativity in the community was over the top,” Shriner said. “We finally realized that any animosity could not defeat the fact that we wanted to be happy. We liked ourselves more than we hated what happened, and we wanted the Club to be a part of our Cordillera life.”
Troon picked up nine new courses to manage this year.
“We’ve had a good run of three or four years,” Garmany said.
Industry publications are noticing. Colorado AvidGolfer magazine’s readers selected The Club at Cordillera as the Best Private Mountain Club in the state for its “The Best in Colorado Golf” edition.
A changing world
The world is changing, including the golf world, Garmany said.
Private clubs are still going through a transitional phase as members age. There are fewer private clubs in the U.S. than in 1932.
Golf rounds have been about static during the past few years. They’re up in places with better weather, Garmany said.
The difference stems from who’s spending the money.
Baby Boomers are still the predominant audience. Millennials are not in the game to the extent Boomers are — yet.
“There are ways to approach that,” Garmany said.
Millennials and Gen Xers will get involved as they get older, Garmany said, but as more of a social endeavor.
People 55 and older are more interested in where they play — their club. For people 45 and younger, it’s who they play with, Garmany said.
“They’re less competitive. It’s almost a spa day exercise,” Garmany said. “The availability of time and the way it’s spent is evolving differently. They’re looking for a different experience.”
If younger people walk up to the grill and don’t see anyone like them, then they tend to wander away. If they see some friends or potential friends, then they stick around because people like them are playing golf there and enjoying the sport, Garmany said.
There are also time constraints with families, kids and jobs. The normal golf round takes four to five hours. Tennis takes an hour or so.
“Golf doesn’t have a one-hour product. We’re trying to develop one,” Garmany said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.