AFTER 10 YEARS, Southwestern Bell Inc., is getting out of the golf
course business. Its subsidy, SBC Asset Management Inc., accepted a
tentative offer of $8 million for the Golf Club of Oklahoma from
Golf Club II, a group of Oklahoma City businessmen.
The net assets of the recently remodeled course located at 141st
Street South and 204th East Avenue were valued at $12 million,
according to AMI president Mike Edelman.
"It's not our core business,'' Edelman said. "This group came to
me with a fair enough offer for us to consider and eventually
accept. They're Oklahomans who have been involved with golf. I
think that's probably a good match.''
The group includes Elby J. Beal, David Hardin, Rick Davis, J.
Phillip Patterson, Robert Reece and Harold Campbell. All are
golfers by nature with Beal and Hardin involved in the SilverHorn
projects in Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
They do not plan to make any major changes. The club will
continue to operate under its current structure as a private,
limited membership championship facility. Memberships will be
capped at 350 local and 100 national just as in the club's bylaws.
Golf Club II intends to retain general manager Scott Erwin and
his staff. It also promises to continue with the same basic service
experienced previously at the club.
"There will be no noticeable changes in procedures and
services,'' said Hardin, Golf Club II vice president. "The emphasis
will remain the same. We will retain the same staff. There may be
some economy of scale and crossover tasks asked of them in order to
provide faster and better service."
Golf Club II plans to hire American Golf Country Clubs to manage
the property. It is the same company that manages Meadowbrook.
There is some concern among members that some of the luxury
might be lost or play would be increased dramatically, but American
Golf's executive vice president, Joe Guerra, promised that
standards at the Golf Club would not fall.
"First of all American Golf Country Clubs should not be confused
with American Golf Public Facilities,'' Guerra said. "We have
roughly 65 private clubs, ranging from entry level to premium with
initiation fees from $1,500 to $20,000. Our operating philosophy is
to be transparent. The Golf Club is a very, very unique property,
but we have properties similar to it. The Oregon Golf Club, which
hosts the Fred Meyer Challenge, is one of our properties. The pros
told us that the greens there were the best they played on all year.''
Still, when there is change, there is concern, which is normal.
"With change, people get concerned,'' Edelmann said. "They
should check out all the facts and then make a judgment.''
One reason for concern is that Hardin's and Beal's SilverHorn
projects struggled in the beginning before American Golf took over
the management of the two courses. However, one of the creditors
from the SilverHorn project is involved with Beal and Hardin this
time. Although payments from SilverHorn were often late, they have
been paid in full.
"We'd just as soon have this project stand on its own,'' Hardin said.
Before the sale is finalized, the membership will have the right
of first refusal. At least a majority of the members must give
written notice of its intent and ability to purchase all of the
assets of GCO for the same price and on the same terms and
conditions as set forth in the agreement with Golf Club II.
There is talk of a group being formed, but nothing formal so far.
Plans for the club were announced in 1981. Charter memberships
were sold for $40,000 with annual dues of $5,000. Each charter
member also was required to purchase a non-interest bearing
debenture of $60,000.
The club opened in July 1983 on 525 acres. The oil bust during
the mid-1980s damaged Tulsa's economy and led to AMI's acquisition
of the club in November of 1986.
The club was renovated last year by its original designer, Tom
Fazio, who is one of the most highly decorated course architects in the