E.A. Sports Today

Golfers shouldn’t notice change at Honours

Cider Ridge parent joins Troon Golf

“As far as the day-to-day there is no change whatsoever.”

— Honours Golf CEO Bob Barrett

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Golfers who regularly frequent the fairways at Cider Ridge Golf Club should notice no fundamental changes in the golf course’s operation now that its management firm has come under the umbrella of Troon Golf.

And those players who are members or pass-holders at Honours courses will even see a benefit to the acquisition by having access to some of the top courses in the world.

Bob Barrett, CEO of Honours Golf, told East Alabama Sports Today on Thursday “there’s no change in the way we operate” the 16 courses his company manages in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and North Carolina.

“As far as the day-to-day there is no change whatsoever,” he said.

If anything, he said, the affiliation fulfills Troon’s desire to expand its portfolio in the Southeastern U.S. and allows Honours to grow its brand through the resources of one of the world’s leaders in upscale golf course management, development and marketing.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for both Troon and Honours and … for our clients and properties,” Barrett said. “Basically the advantage it brings is we will fall under the Troon umbrella as a wholly owned subsidiary company and we will be able to pick up and share the best practices of what they do.

“We will try to help grow the Troon brand within the Southeast but we’ll continue to promote and try to sell the Honours brand within the Southeast.”

Troon announced its purchase of the equity in Honours Golf in a news release Tuesday.

Probably the most tangible benefit Honours members will see is a reciprocal playing arrangement with other Troon courses similar to what they enjoy within the Honours footprint.

Troon now has more than 250 courses in 34 states and 29 countries, with nearly 50 of its facilities holding Top 100 rankings in various national and international publications. Among the courses currently managed by Honours are Cherokee Ridge in Union Grove, North River in Tuscaloosa, Lagoon Park in Montgomery; Kiva Dunes, Craft Farms and Peninsula in Gulf Shores; and the two courses at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.

Those agreements are likely to be finalized within the next 30-60 days, Barrett said.

“We will continue to operate your club as usual and provide you with the exceptional club experience and high level of service that you’ve growth accustomed to,” Cider Ridge director of golf Doug Wert wrote in a letter to club members.

Barrett said he had been discussing an affiliation with Troon founder Dana Garmany, a Fort Payne native now living in Scottsdale, Ariz., since August. Tim Schantz, Troon’s Executive Vice President and Global Development Officer, called Honours Golf “an ideal addition to the Troon family.”

The City of Oxford’s contract with Honours comes up for annual automatic renewal in the first quarter of 2015 and Barrett has no reason to believe the relationship won’t continue.

“I’m real excited for Cider Ridge from the simple fact, No. 1, it’s a very, very good golf course, and, No. 2, we’ve made all the improvements necessary to make the golf course in very, very good condition, and we have a good team there,” he said. “I think the branding of Cider Ridge is continuing to increase from the perception of golfers throughout Central to North Alabama; we’re even getting a fair number from West Georgia coming out.

“I’m optimistic in 2015, given a normal weather pattern for our region, we’re going to continue to see some good growth.”

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