With club back on solid footing, residential development revived
This is the reason why golf club management is important and why lenders bring in companies like Touchstone: When someone is looking to purchase real estate in a residential golf community, they want to know, even if they will never be a club member, that the club is a successful enterprise. The presence of a successful club adds value to the homeowner's investment in that particular community.
"It's critical to stabilize the club/golf course," Pinardi emphasizes.
Nationwide, only about 30 percent of people who live in a private, residential community are members of the club, says Pinardi.
"Yet, they still want to have it. Not only for the aesthetics, but it's a value-add to their residence."
The Ranch Club is no different. Of its current 200-plus membership, only about 60 are residents of the development.
"When we come in, the first thing we have to do is get the house in order," Pinardi explains. "Sometimes clubs are well-managed, other times not. If it isn't well-managed, you need to get your arms around the facility and get the right staff in place. You have to let the members know you are there to create a better atmosphere. Hopefully, you get to a point where they are advocates of the club and bring referrals."
The Ranch Club was in good shape physically when Pinardi arrived. The most important thing at first was to separate the real estate operations from the club operations.
"The real estate was dragging the club down," says Pinardi. "With the real estate separated we could focus on the club."
There was another benefit, Pinardi adds: Members "felt much better that their dues weren't being spun off to go toward real estate subsidies, that their dues were only being used to support the club."
With the club stabilized and the Missoula economy improving, the residential part of the development has started to make progress again. In 2012, there were a number of home sites sold and five homes began to rise from the former grasslands.
"We are starting to see signs of life," says Pinardi.
It was in January when I met Pinardi. The temperature outside The Ranch House dining room was 8 degrees and the only signs of life were groundskeepers clearing snow from the pond so people could ice skate.
Montana. Winter sports. Party on.
Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "The Death of Johnny Ace," is now available for sale on Amazon.
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