The Golf Club at Southwind and its sole owner, Craig Boomhower, have announced that the 18-hole private golf course and club south of Garden City soon will be under the management of Troon, the largest golf hospitality management company in the world.
The agreement, which was announced in a letter from Boomhower to the membership on Monday, will go into effect on Dec. 11.
According to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Telegram, all employees of the club will be retained under the five-year management agreement and will report to management of Troon.
“We think it’s a great deal, and we’re excited about it,” said Southwind General Manager/Head Golf Professional Cole Wasinger, who has been at the club since April 1. “We’re excited for our members and for our owner because we know Troon has a history of success unparalleled in golf.”
Boomhower, who also owns Garnard Funeral Home, purchased Southwind at the beginning of 2009 from the E.C. Brookover Sr. family, who had been the original founders and developers of the 18-hole golf course, clubhouse and swimming pool. Boomhower retains sole ownership of the property under the agreement. At its founding, the name was Southwind Country Club, and when Boomhower purchased the club, the named was changed to The Golf Club at Southwind.
In early January, Boomhower had notified members through email that the club had laid off several of its staff and was closing its clubhouse operations for an indefinite amount of time. According to some county officials, the club had been going through financial struggles for some time. The club re-opened April 1, with Wasinger, a native of Garden City, moving from Buffalo Dunes, where he had been the head professional since 2009.
The benefits of the new management group are far reaching for the membership, said Don Shirey, vice president of business development for Troon Management Company.
“The entire club will have amenities of all our other properties,” Shirey said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “The team members are already in place there.”
Shirey said members at Southwind will have added amenities at the 80 private club properties currently managed by Troon Privé. Also, members will be able to utilize the Troon Advantage Program, providing reduced-fee access at the company’s resort and daily fee courses.
“We’ll bring a lot of efficiency of operations to the table,” Shirey said. “We go back to 1990, and we’ve always had one mindset with operations and that is to provide the best playing surfaces for the golfers, that they would have an expectancy of conditions for the golf courses they play. We have that already in place at Southwind.”
One of Troon's mottos used in the early years, and still carries through today at resort/daily fee facilities is “Everybody’s a Member for a Day.”
“We want them to feel as though they’re getting private club treatment at any of our facilities,” Shirey said.
Worldwide, Troon manages 270 properties, with facilities in 36 states and 31 countries.
“The appeal of Southwind for us is that we have an owner who is passionate about the facility,” Shirey said of Boomhower. “The playing surfaces already meet our variables, and the owner has pledged to make it that way, and to keep it that way.”
Shirey said Troon also would be able to showcase The Golf Club at Southwind through its networking with other private clubs, resorts and daily fee courses. Troon currently manages Salina Country Club, the only other private club in Kansas under its operation.
“We want to provide them a facility and services where they can’t say ‘no’ and want to belong there,” Shirey said.
Shirey said that there had been some exploratory discussions between Troon and Boomhower during the past two years, but serious negotiations began about two months ago.
Shirey and a few other senior management personnel for Troon will be in town next week, and he said they plan to have a general town-hall like meeting with members on Tuesday at the club to answer questions.
Originally founded as Southwind Country Club, the private facility was the dream of E.C. Brookover Sr., who owned the property in the sandhills area south of town. It opened its doors in the fall of 1979, and in 1980, along with Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, began hosting the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am. For 38 years now, the two courses have hosted the Pro-Am, the longest, continuously-operated professional golf tournament in Kansas that has raised more than $1 million for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at St. Catherine Hospital.
The club has played host to four Kansas Amateur Men’s Championships (1990, 1997, 2006 and 2016) and has been the host site for the Kansas Golf Association’s High Plains Amateur Championship since its beginning, dating back to 1995.
Throughout its history, The Golf Club at Southwind has been ranked at various times among the top 10 courses in Kansas by Golf Digest, currently ranked No. 10.
Contact Brett Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.