Brown Golf takes over Rose Hill Golf Club in Bluffton (Dec 17)

December 17, 2014 – Brown Golf Management has added a fifth Bluffton golf club to its portfolio.

The management firm signed a five-year lease Tuesday with Rose Hill Golf Club, according to John Brown, CEO of Brown Golf. He declined to give financial details.

The Rose Hill Plantation Property Owners Association will still own the course, but Brown Golf will manage it and collect revenue “like it’s one of our own,” Brown said.

Attempts Tuesday to reach members of the owners association were unsuccessful.

The deal continues the company’s rapid expansion in Bluffton.

Since 2007, Brown Golf has purchased Island West, Pinecrest, Eagle’s Pointe and Crescent Pointe golf clubs. Overall, it owns or manages 22 courses in six states.

The company has grown during a period of decline in the golf industry.

Brown credits this growth to a “value-oriented” approach, which includes low-priced memberships, affordable public fees and free lessons for members.

Brown said that since his firm took over the Bluffton courses, the golf clubs’ memberships have jumped from 75 people to more than 700. Rose Hill will bring another 200 members, he estimates.

“It’s a natural fit for us. We sit all around Rose Hill,” he said. “Now, our members will have 90 holes to choose from instead of 72.”

Rose Hill Golf Club has been managed by a private company since it was purchased by the owners association in 2007. Before that purchase, the course was closed for more than two years after the company that owned it filed for bankruptcy.

Brown said the owners made clear during negotiations they do not intend to sell the club to his company. However, he has talked with several clubs on Hilton Head Island that might sell to him, he said. He declined to say which ones.

“I would love to own a course or two on the island, so hopefully something can materialize,” he said.


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